On Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s list of core values, fighting and playing with a relentless spirit are right up there with doing your best today, being your best regardless of circumstance, being on time and playing with passion, emotion and enthusiasm.
The first two were certainly on full display in Sunday’s 27-26 victory against the Giants and embodied their ability to overcome three turnovers and rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter for the comeback win.
It also went a long way toward reinforcing Garrett’s messages to his team. Follow his tenets and core values and good things will happen.
That certainly was the case against the Giants.
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"It’s emphasized and reinforced every minute of every day," Garrett said. "It’s the foundation of our entire program. Fight. Relentless. Mental toughness. Mentality. Demeanor. All those things are what we are all about. It what we try instill in our guys every minute of every day in every thing that we do. I thought is showed up in the ball game. You are behind by two scores with 8:01 to go. You go down there on offense and do what you need to do to score a touchdown. You come back on defense get a critical stop. You come back on offense. Everybody is scratching, clawing, competing, fighting…fighting for our goals, fighting to be their best, fighting for each other. All that stuff was very present and really obvious for all of us. That is a good thing for your team. That’s a good thing. Obviously, you have to prove it again. You have to prove it again when you come back into work. Just because you did it once doesn’t mean it’s always there. But it certainly was a good example of how we want to play. It was important for us in winning that game."
It’s been a trait of the Cowboys since Garrett took over as coach. Consider that 14 of quarterback Tony Romo’s franchise-record 24 comeback victories in the fourth quarter or overtime have come since Garrett was named head full-time head coach in 2011.
So the Cowboys are confident in their ability to rally in late-game situations with Romo at quarterback.
But Garrett doesn’t worry about them getting caught in waiting to the end to turn it on because that is not part of his core message. Fighting and being your best every minute of the day are.
"The idea is that you are relentless every minute of every day and you will never go away," Garrett said. "That is the idea. That is the spirit you trying to instill in your team. That is the culture you want to have every day in your building. So if there is a feeling like ‘we will come back later’ you are not really understanding what we are trying to convey. You have to earn it again. Just you did it once doesn’t mean its going to be for you again. You have to go earn it again. You have to scratch, claw and fight again. That’s the nature of those attributes. It’s constant. It’s what you are all about. I thought it was really good for us (Sunday night)."