Staubach throws Cowboys advice on winning it all

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Roger Staubach arrived for an appointment at Dallas Cowboys headquarters Monday while the team was on the practice field, so he went out to watch.

Standing on the sideline, he grabbed a football and threw a few passes. Then coach Wade Phillips asked the Hall of Fame quarterback to give the club some words of wisdom.

He offered up a history lesson.

Staubach talked about how the 1971 Cowboys were 4-3 at midseason, then put aside their individual agendas and didn't lose again, capped by the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. His point was that this year's club is good enough to win it all, too, so they can't let anything get in the way.

"I just talked about having the right people in the right places pulling together," Staubach said. "That's the big difference, it's pulling together. Then, miracles happen.

"In '71, I think that's what happened to us. We were 4-3 and complaining, yelling at each other, unnamed players saying it's this fault, that fault. We had a team meeting and decided we were going to put everything aside that's personal stuff and start fighting for the team. We won 10 in a row. So good things happen when you pull together."

A divided locker room was among the reasons the Cowboys underachieved in 2007 and '08. So team owner Jerry Jones got rid of Terrell Owens and others, and last season Dallas wound up winning a playoff game for the first time since 1996.

With most of last year's players and coaches back, the Cowboys will be among the favorites to win it all again. They have an extra incentive, too — the Super Bowl is at their stadium.

"I didn't remind them," said Staubach, who happens to be the head of the host committee. "I didn't want to totally jinx them."

No Super Bowl host has ever played in the game. Jones has talked often about wanting his club to be the first.

"That would be fun," Staubach said. "It would be extra special. And it could happen. ... There's probably five or six teams that can win it all, and they can do it. It's a matter of giving that little extra and fighting. I think they have the attitude, too."

Staubach's message might help.

"Anything that comes out of his mouth is good when he talks to you about those things — team, and what it's like to be champions," tight end Jason Witten said. "To hear him talk about that process and what it was like, it's definitely something we will take from and try to put in our own team, and the way we work and play together."

Phillips often asks former Cowboys greats to speak to the club when they're at practice. Recent honorees were Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, guys who even the youngest players know about and possibly even saw play. Phillips had to give a more detailed introduction for Staubach, who was one of the most popular players of his era, but whose eras was the 1970s.

"I'm sure they've all heard of him," he said.

If not, they certainly know all about the Cowboys having won five Super Bowls and being known as "America's Team." It's something players still talk about whenever they pull on the famed silver helmet with a blue star on the side.

"There's a lot of pressure on us all the time to live up to those kind of people," Phillips said. "But I think that's good."

He also believes this year's club is capable of following Staubach's team-first advice.

"I think we have a lot of first-class guys," Phillips said. "I don't know if we'll be the '71 team, but I do feel good going forward with this team."