In Washington, the Redskins eat strawberry cheesecake after victories. In Dallas, the Cowboys eat spicy sausage and down-home barbecue.
In Washington, the Redskins work in isolation and seclusion 35 miles from town - near Dulles Airport - where a security man tromps through the surrounding woods looking for spies. In Dallas, the Cowboy office is located 10 floors above the Dallas Playboy Club, five minutes from downtown. The team practice field is a few miles away surrounded by a shopping center on one side and a motel with a fourth floor view on the other. The Cowboys are not worried about spies.
In Washington, George Allen assigns a man to clip out-of-town newspaper to stock two bulletin boards in the team lockeroom with lively, inflammatory quotes from opponents. In Dallas, the hottest item on the Cowboy board is a notice advertising a special bible study group for players.
And so it goes. The differences between the two football teams that will vie in Dallas on Sunday are many - save for the bottom line. Both organizations field consistently winning teams.
The Cowboys have had 11 consecutive seasons in the black, qualifying for the playoffs in 10 of those 11 years, with three Super Bowl appearances and one NFL championship in 1971.
The Redskins, of course, have had six straight seasons over .500, made the playoffs five of the last six years and advanced to one Super Bowl game.
The philosophies employed to achieve all that success are as different as Ron McDole and Too Tall Jones. "The future is now", says Allen. "The future is now and tomorrow," retorts Tex Schramm. Cowboy president and general manager.
"Out teams are just ideally suited to be antagonists," says Schramm, sitting in his thoroughly modern office high above the city. "Our Systems and our philosophies are so extremely different, at the opposite ends of the pole really, and it goes right down to the personalities of the individuals involved.
"George (Allen) uses us as the prime motivator for his football team. He uses me as a symbol of the league establishment in which he assumes the role of Don Quixote. It's just the method, his act. I doesn't make me mad, because I understand it.
"George's stock in trade is that he and his team are in effect fighting everybody , sometimes including his own organization. Everybody is against him. He builds on that. And he does it quite well.
"He also uses his draft choices as we do, but he trades them. And he's been able to replenish his squad in that way. He was also helped tremendously in that period last year when we had a completely open free agent system. So he got several fine players.
"In order to say who's doing the best thing, I think you have to go the full cycle of a player's career before you can make a judgement. They've been successful the last seven years, but we're shooting for our 11th playoff in 12 years with almost a brand new football team."
At the moment, the age difference between the Redskins and Cowboys is staggering. The Cowboys have only six players on the roster with 10 or more years of experience, and only three - halfback Preston Pearson, tackle Ralph Neely and defensive tackle Jethro Pugh - are starters.
There are nine rookies on the Cowboy roster, and 30 of the 45 players have five years or fewer experience in the league. All but Pearson have played only for the Cowboys.
The Redskins have 12 players with 10 or more years of experience, and eight, plus punter Mike Bragg, will start Sunday in Dallas. There are only two rookies on the team, and 20 Redskins have five years or fewer experience.
The Cowboys began their youth movement after the 1971 Super bowl triumph over Miami, and it has accelerated over the last three years. In 1975, 12 rookies made a team that won the NFC championship. In 1976, 10 more rookies were added. And now, there are nine.
None of those rookies began as regulars during their first season, not even Tony Dorsett, who came to Dallas this year as the most proficient runner in the history of college football. He will not start against the Redskins on Sunday, though he will get plenty of playing time.
This is one area in which Allen and Dallas coach Tom Landry agree.
"I like to see new players get accilamted and understand the job they have to do before I start them," Landry said. "I don't like to just throw a player in there and have him learn by his own mistakes."
Dorsett's 77-yard touchdown run against St. Louis last Sunday the longest from scrimmage in the NFL this year - and his 141-yard performance increased speculation that he would replace Preston Pearson in the starting lineup Sunday.
"We will play them about the same way," Landry said yesterday. "Preston will start. Tony is making alot of progress. He is making progress in every game. I just hope my backs - Tony. Preston and (fullback) Robert Newhouse - continue to play like they have been.
"Tony is still in the learning phase," Landry said. "He still doesn't make all the assignments. I just don't want to speculate when he might start or how I might play them in the future."
So far, Dorsett had accepted Landry's role for him with the same style and grace of his excursions through opposing defenses.
"I don't want to say I'm satisfied with the way it is right now," Dorsett said. "Because that might sound like i was complacent. I am a little behind because I am slowed down by injuries in training camp.
"I was kind of nonchalant about things back then when I should have been working harder. Right now, I know the system well enough to be comfortable with it. A few weeks ago, I was hesitant, but now I feel like I'm attacking holes like I did in college. I'm running with more abandon.
"The pressure is easing off now, too. When I came to training camp. I just couldn't believe what was going on - the interviews, all the press conferences. People expected me to be a messiah, but I'm not. One man can't take a team to the Super Bowl. Football doesn't have an 'I' in there. I'm just a link in the chain, that's really how I view it."
Dorsett speaks as smoothly as he runs, almost as if he pops a button in his hand to roll the tape of the same standard 15-minute schtick. His team-mates all insist he is one of the guys, even if he is being paid on a reported $1 million contract by a Cowboy organization with a penurious reputation in the past.
"When I was drafted, I said this was a class organization, and I still feel that way," Dorsett said. "I came in here with a big contract and a lot of publicity, but they didn't treat me any better or worse than any other rookies.
"They welcomed us with open arms, and I'm talking about the players already here, too. I don't think anybody resents me or any of the other rookies. If we contribute to winning ball games, why not accept us into the family? That's what they've done"
Roger Staubach agreed.
"There's no animosity toward Tony," he said. "Nobody knows how much money he got, although I'm sure it was great deal. I'm also sure some of ours players will try and get some of those dollars for themselves.
"I know when they put in the games, he can really get a team charged up. He's tremendous plus for the whole offense. Having him back there helps the passing game go, too. He's already made some big plays, and hopefully there'll be a lot more of them the rest of the year."
The Cowboys also expect is things from all their other rookies. One of the principle Cowboy philosophies is that after three or four years, a man should be able to move into a starting position.
"If he isn't a regular by then, he's probably going to lose his enthusiasm for the game, and we don't want that," says Gil Brandt, a Cowboy vice president and the man who coordinates the Cowboy search for new talent.
If you can find someone in the draft who's just as good, you're probably better off making a change. It's better for the player you're letting go, and better for our team, too."
That concept, along with all the talk about Brandt's computerized scouting system, the allegedly small budget for player salaries and Laundry's stoic manner have gone a long way toward establishing the Cowboy organization as a cold, calculating machine.
"Sure, there's some paranoia around here," says defensive end Harvey Martin. "You've got a complex learning system and a coach who demands perfection. So in three years, if you don't have it yet, you're probably wasting your time here. It doesn't bother me.
"If you can't play mistake-free football, there's no place for you on the team, and I think that's a healthy situation. It makes you concentrate on your job because getting removed is always staring you in the face. You better improve - and if you do, you're going to help this team win. That's what I care about and I hope all these other guys do too.
"I came in here when they first started making the big changes. Those were the days of Lilly, Jordan, Garrison people like that, and it was a whole different thing. They were all settled in their ways, very quiet, business like. But this group now is so different . We're all pretty young, we're a lot looser and a little wilder, you might say.
"There's another big difference. Those guys won a Super Bowl. We're all still hungry, because we haven't won ityet."