FRISCO - Celebration short-circuited, courtesy of the NFC Beast.
One minute Jerry Jones is all smiles, pumping his fist, watching a fan take a victory lap atop a horse inside a Walmart and soaking in his Dallas Cowboys' walk-off win over a team that played in the Super Bowl last year.
Joked Jones of the horseback hoopla, “I’ve literally been on a horse inside before. It’s a dicey thing because if that horse gets to slipping and sliding, it’s a mess.”
But before the owner could fully bathe in Cooper Rush's boffo bullpen performance and Micah Parsons' future as the defensive face of the NFL, he sat down for some Monday Night Football and a dose of reality.
The NFC East is no longer bad. And the Philadelphia Eagles are really good.
On his weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday morning, Jones said he watched every snap of the Eagles' 24-7 domination of the Minnesota Vikings and came away wholly impressed.
"They’re going to be all we can handle," Jones said. "Jalen Hurts has really evolved and has been better than when he came out than you might’ve thought. I was particularly impressed with his passing. They’re doing a good job up there."
The Cowboys don't play the Eagles until Week 6, Sunday night Oct. 16 in Philadelphia. By then, by all timetables, they should have quarterback Dak Prescott back in uniform.
A year ago the Cowboys dismantled the division, going 6-0 by a combined score of 240-107. In his career against the NFC East, Prescott is a spiffy 25-6.
But Prescott won't be under center when the Cowboys take on the New York Giants on Monday Night Football next week. And the Giants - along with the rest of the division - won't again be laughingstock pushovers.
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For the greatest division in the history of the NFL - the one boasting immortal coaches such as the Cowboys' Tom Landry, New York's Bill Parcells and Washington's Joe Gibbs and the league's most Super Bowl appearances (21) and wins (13) - the last couple of seasons have been embarrassing hiccups. In 2020, the once-proud NFC East finished below .500, with the Washington Football Team sheepishly winning the division at 7-9 and then promptly losing its first playoff game. Last season the Cowboys won the division at 12-5 and the Eagles were the only other team over .500 at 9-8.
The division hasn't won a playoff game since the Cowboys and Eagles won on Wild Card Weekend in 2018.
But through two weeks this season, the NFC East is tied with the AFC East for the best combined record in the league at 6-2.
The 2-0 Giants are off to their best start since 2016, the last time they made the playoffs. The Washington Commanders are 1-1, but resurrected quarterback Carson Wentz and his seven touchdown passes gives them hope. Then there are the undefeated Eagles, suddenly being mentioned not only the favorite to win the division but also a legitimate contender to press the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVII in February.
The competition - on and off the field - is heating up again.
Just this week the Commanders signed former Cowboys defensive tackle John Ridgeway and the Giants brought former Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith to their practice squad.
No team has repeated as NFC East champs since 2004.
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