In January 1994, three days before the NFC Championship Game, Jimmy Johnson called a radio talk show in Dallas and guaranteed his Cowboys would beat the 49ers.
“You can put it in 3-inch headlines,” the then-Cowboys coach boldly proclaimed.
The Cowboys did what Johnson predicted and went on to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Don’t expect Jason Garrett ever to make such a statement.
Shoot, the Cowboys current coach didn’t even offer a comeback to Doug Pederson’s prediction of an Eagles’ win over Garrett’s team on Sunday.
“My response is we’re excited about the challenge,” Garrett said Monday. “Obviously, they’re a great football team, and we’re going to focus on ourselves and what we need to do to prepare to play our best football on Sunday night.”
Pederson said on his radio show Monday that “we’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.” He backtracked somewhat in his press conference, saying he never used the word “guarantee.”
Whether Pederson intended it to be Joe Namath-esque or not, the Cowboys appear unfazed.
“Honestly, it doesn’t bother me,” cornerback Jourdan Lewis said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to come out here and try to beat us. I mean, he said it publicly. Doesn’t matter. I mean we already understood that there was going to be questions on it, but we’ve got to go out there and execute and win this game. We have to go out there and play our best game.”
Garrett did not play the audio for the Cowboys in their meeting today or even mention it, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports. Garrett long has stressed ignoring outside noise and controlling what they can control day by day.
“We probably don’t want to share what we share with our players too much,” Garrett said when asked if he would use Pederson’s comment as bulletin-board material. “We do our best when we just focus on ourselves and what we need to do to prepare to play our best football.”
Garrett is 4-2 against Pederson, including a sweep of the Eagles last year. One of Pederson’s victories was a meaningless game for the Cowboys in Week 17 of the 2016 season when most of their best players either didn’t play or didn’t play much.