Now Jones looks at his team and sees how its 2011 season can go two ways, starting with its annual Thanksgiving Day home game. The Cowboys (6-4) can beat the Dolphins (3-7), extend their winning streak to four games and move into sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Or they can stumble, lose the momentum they've gained and end up facing the same old questions about if they have the right quarterback, the right coach, even the right owner in place to foster long-term success.
"And that's why we have to look at the opportunity we've got out here Thanksgiving Day," Jones said Wednesday on KRLD-FM, according to The Dallas Morning News. "And we've got to make sure that we look at it like we're playing in a Super Bowl because these windows of opportunity for these teams to get a chance to compete in the playoffs and get to a Super Bowl, in the league and the system we're in, are precious."
Jones knows that firsthand, considering his team's shortcomings in recent years. He sees the need to realize and react to the moment.
"We had our shots at it. I thought three years ago when we won 13 games, we were knocking on the door," Jones said, referring to the 2007 season in which the Giants knocked out the Cowboys in the divisional playoff round. "So just like when you get a lead, when you get your opportunity, you better hit that thing and hit it hard."