Tom Landry noted today that of the four teams left in the Super Bowl tournament--Dallas, Washington, Miami and the New York Jets--only the Cowboys have the double jeopardy of traveling and preparing a game plan in six days.
"Bud Grant can't say we're the league's team anymore," Landry said at his weekly press conference. The week before Dallas played Minnesota on the final Monday night of the regular season, Grant had said the Cowboys were "the league's team" because of what the Viking coach perceived to be decisions from the league office that favored Dallas.
The Cowboys beat the Packers last Sunday and must play the Redskins Saturday at RFK Stadium for the NFC championship. Washington has seven days between games, Dallas has six.
". . . We are the only team that is missing a day (to prepare) and have to travel, too, to play a championship game," Landry said. "That is not the best thing to have to do at this time of year. But you have to take what they give you."
Landry was also asked about a column in the Dallas Times Herald this morning. It took note of the fact that quarterback Danny White is under pressure to lead the Cowboys to victory over the Redskins. If he doesn't, that would be three straight losses in NFC Championship games. If that happens, the writer ventured, could White be replaced by his understudy, Gary Hogeboom?
"Danny deserves the pressure because he makes a helluva lot of money, outside and inside the game," said receiver Butch Johnson. "He made the Pro Bowl and an all-pro team. There's no excuse. He's a friend, but he's the quarterback and this is the game he has to prove himself."
Landry dismissed the speculations about White's residency in Dallas, and to Johnson's suggestions, he said, "Of course, Butch isn't a coach yet. He sounds like it sometimes, but he isn't."
One of the constant themes here is the uncanny similarities between the 1981 San Francisco 49ers and the 1982 Washington Redskins. "The 49ers last year are a little like the Redskins this year. Nobody gave them enough respect for winning so many games," said Landry.
Landry is a smart man, though, and there are sharp psychological arrows in his quiver. For all the compliments Landry pays to John Riggins, Joe Gibbs and the rest of the Redskins, he also said today, "(Washington) hasn't beaten us in six games, and that has to bother a team."
But unlike Rafael Septien, who had the brass to suggest that Mark Moseley's record-setting field goal streak owed much to luck, Landry was reluctant to say anything to incite the opposition.
"This game I'm not sure where we are," he said quietly. "We've been up and down. We didn't exactly control Green Bay. Those are the things that make you wonder where you are. We haven't had the kind of season where you can go through the high and low points and determine exactly where you are.
"If you are not playing consistent football, you are not going to be consistent overnight. You have to hope you have the big plays."