It costs $1.2 billion to build and outfit the lavish Arlington home of the Dallas Cowboys.
But apparently this Cowboys team prefers hotel room service and the friendly concrete confines of the visitors locker room.
It is roundly presumed to be hard to win on the road in the NFL. With their 41-28 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, however, the Cowboys elevated their away-from-Arlington record to 6-0.
They’ve become road warriors. They’ve won in two countries and four time zones.
True, only one of those defeated teams (Seattle) has a plus-.500 record at this December stage of the season. But the contrasts have been noticeable.
Better focus. A persistent ground game. And for some reason, which may or may not be related to frequent flier miles, the Dallas Road-boys have brandished an occasionally effective defense when they haven’t played under the Owner Jones big top.
Consider these numbers — 41, 31, 31, 30, 34 and 26.
Those are the points compiled by quarterback Tony Romo, running back DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys offense in the six away games this season.
As it turned out, they needed such a balanced and persistent effort against the Bears, who apparently didn’t get the third quarter memo that the game was over.
It took Orlando Scandrick’s interception in the end zone of a Jay Cutler pass in the final 89 seconds to seal the visitors’ victory. Despite the flurry, the Bears’ record fell to 5-8.
They have issues. A story in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune probed the sudden, conspicuous decline of coach Marc Trestman’s offense.
Just 12 months ago, almost to the very day, the same Chicago offense yanked the pants down on the Cowboys defense en route to a 490-yard, 45-28 Bears win.
Cowboys-watchers, unnerved by the Thanksgiving loss to the Eagles, feared a repeat.
But a funny thing happened here at Soldier Field in Thursday’s rematch. For one thing, the chronically late-arriving Cowboys defense held the Bears scoreless in the first quarter.
Then, midway in the second quarter, receiver Brandon Marshall, Chicago’s best player, was lost for the game with what appeared to be a serious injury.
From there until the furious rush at garbage time, Cutler and the Bears moved only in sporadic lurches.
During that interval, the Cowboys defense was able to mount fleeting semblances of a pass rush. The Bears were unable to run the football. And Romo and Murray took care of the rest.
Exactly one week after he appeared slow, sore and unsteady in the face of the Philadelphia pass rush, Romo shuffled around enough to keep finding Murray, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley.
That was too many Cowboys and not enough Bears.
A late touchdown pass to the Pocket Pony, Beasley, just before halftime gave the Cowboys the lead, and then the Bears’ Matt Forte fumbled away the football after a 21-yard gain early in the second half.
The Cowboys scored on four consecutive possessions in the second half and it was all but over 35-7.
It’s not supposed to be this easy on the NFL road. Your star running back is not supposed to touch the football 41 times and account for 228 yards. Your sore-backed quarterback is not supposed to throw for three touchdowns.
But the Cowboys showed that the Thanksgiving carving by the Eagles didn’t deflate them. Left for half-dead, they played the kind of game they’ve played often on the road this NFL season.
Nobody really knows why they’ve shown such split personalities.
AT&T Stadium is the most dazzling football arena in America. The home team’s locker room is splashed with reminders of franchise glory.
There is Owner Jones’ wife’s fancy artwork. $20 pizzas. Sky Mirror.
Yet, all four of the Cowboys’ defeats this season have come at home.
Just a coincidence? Maybe.
But whatever the reason, the Cowboys took care of business Thursday night the way a legitimate playoff contender should.
They’re road warriors, and two of their important final three games are away from home.
Objects in the Eagles’ rearview mirror may be larger than they appear.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697