Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ string of 8-8 seasons is motivation for a strong finish

IRVING Coach Jason Garrett refuses to look at the Dallas Cowboys' past December failures as a teaching tool for what lies before them over the final four games of the season, starting Thursday in Chicago.

Owner Jerry Jones says it's the obvious message.

The Cowboys (8-4) are one game behind the Philadelphia Eagles (9-3) in the NFC East with four games to play. Right now, they would lose out in a three-way tie for the two wild-card spots against the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions because of a deficient conference record.

The Cowboys need to finally finish strong to make the playoffs _ something they consistently failed do with a 27-43 record in the climactic month of December since the start of 1997 season. The Cowboys are 12-17 in December since Tony Romo took over as starting quarterback since 2006.

More pointedly, the Cowboys missed the playoffs in each of the past three years because of poor finishes, including losses in win-or-go-home games in the season final each year, causing them to finish with three consecutive 8-8 campaigns.

"All you got to do and say is 'Let's remind ourselves what we have done the last three years. We have been 8-8. We have won eight games right now. Hello? Lets go!'," Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM. "Every play, and I think Jason emphasizes this beautifully, every play is like the last one you make and the last time you will ever have the pads on. It's that kind of emphasis that you have from here on out."