At the start of the NFL season, the networks hold conference calls to hype their TV packages. Fox analyst Troy Aikman, a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, recently answered questions about his former team the Cowboys, which open the season in Cleveland at 3:15 p.m. Sunday on Fox. Aikman will call the game with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck.
What are the chances of the Cowboys returning to the Super Bowl?
I think Dallas is the most talented team certainly in the NFC, maybe as talented as any team in the NFL. As the Giants showed midseason last year, going into the last few games of the season, I don’t know of anybody who thought they would do what they would did. … Dallas has got to be able to pull together this collection of talent and play well when it matters most. That’s a hard predicament to get into. I’ve been on those teams. It doesn’t matter what happens right now with the Cowboys, if they go 14-2 and 15-1. They’re judged on what happens in January. To a certain extent, that takes a lot of fun of the four months leading up to January.
Does answering questions about his personal life bother quarterback Tony Romo?
I don’t think so. I would guess that Tony does get tired of maybe answering those questions. People have kind of accepted some of the things he has done lately or the people he’s dating, whether it’s Jessica (Simpson) or whoever it might be. I’ve gotten to know Tony fairly well. He tends to handle most things pretty well. He’s pretty laid back. He’s very intense about the game. I think that’s why he has done some of the things he has done that has brought on all the attention. As he said last year going to Los Cabos (Mexico) before the playoff game, that he doesn’t worry about perception, he just lives his life. I think he was being very honest with that comment.
What effect will rookie running back Felix Jones have on the Cowboys, especially with injuries at wide receiver?
I don’t think Felix Jones’ contribution early on in the season will be dictated by what is going on at the wide receiver positions. He’ll be involved in some of the return game. He’ll be involved some as a guy who is comes in and spells Marion Barber, but I wouldn’t anticipate that he’ll be used a lot on third downs, It’s hard for a young running back, predominantly because of the blocking responsibilities. Most highly touted running backs coming out of college didn’t do a lot of that at the college level. The wide receiver postion for Dallas I don’t think that’s going to a big issue, at least early in the season, because they have a guy like (tight end) Jason Witten. They are able to use him in ways that a lot of teams use their third wide receiver. You’ve got Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton and Jason Witten and then Marion Barber as well. It’s a pretty formidable group for any defense to try to cover.