FRISCO - One of the demands of being "America's Team'' is automatically and annually tucked into the schedule. The TV networks wants the Dallas Cowboys as often as the rules will allow, and in prime time, so much so that we are only half-joking when we say that it is only due to the anticipated ire of the other 31 NFL teams that the league doesn't simply put the Cowboys on every single Sunday or Monday night, just like any other weekly TV show.
So, yes, the times and the days zig-zag all over the calendar, except ...
"Hell, yeah!'' Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy responded this week when asked about the latest "zag,'' a rare noon start at home when Washington visits AT&T Stadium on Sunday. "Everybody loves a noon kickoff.''
Consider ... Dallas in Week 1 played a night-time national game on a Sunday against the Bucs. In Week 2, it was a late-afternoon Sunday national game against the Bengals. In Week 3 it was a night-time national game on a Monday at New York.
But this week? As McCarthy said, a noon start means the fellas don't have to spend the day trying to find something to do. It's wake up, eat, meet, play.
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Finally, the Cowboys tap the brakes and are willing to leak what we already reported, using this exact phrase: "How can OBJ be 'cleared to play' while also being 'not cleared to work out''?
And then? Consider this week following the Monday nighter, which saw the Cowboys team plane arrive back at DFW just in time to start work on Tuesday. Compare that to this (admittedly) short week, which will culminate in coaches, players and staffers ideally getting the job done against 3.5-point underdog Washington ... and then having the entire rest of their Sunday to spend time with family ... or, quite likely watch more football.
So, enjoy this, Cowboys Nation. Because once Sunday is done, it's back to the zig-zag, with at least nine of the remaining 13 games likely to be "America's Game,'' prime-time, night-time, any time the league and the networks can find a way to drag 25 million or so viewers to their TV screens.
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