Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said based on what he saw from his team in a 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, he believes it can compete for a championship this season.
"We've got to have some wins to make sure we're in the hunt, but I keep pointing out we're fresh off a world champion (Giants) that won nine of 16 ballgames last year," Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM Tuesday morning. "We know you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on into the end of the season. We know we've played one division game and won it. We got those guys (the Giants) coming back in here. We know that's going to be a big game for us.
"All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is, if you look at the pluses (Sunday), evolving into a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year. This year."
Jones was then asked again whether he meant to say the Cowboys would win a championship this season.
"Correct," Jones said. "Let me emphasize that. I'm not into everybody getting better or learning for years to come. It's this year."
The Cowboys have won just two playoff games since their last Super Bowl title, when they defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX in the 1995 season.
Since 1997, the Cowboys are 122-123.
Yet, Jones feels confident in his team's abilities to forge ahead. In the loss to the Ravens, the Cowboys rushed for 227 yards, the most allowed in the history of the Ravens franchise.
But there were all sorts of problems with the loss.
Coach Jason Garrett mismanaged the closing seconds of the game. Instead of running one more play, he allowed precious seconds to tick away before calling a timeout with six seconds remaining rather than with about 22 seconds. Kicker Dan Bailey missed a 51-yard field goal with two seconds left.
The Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 82 yards, the third time this season they've been flagged at least 13 times. Also, wide receiver Dez Bryant dropped a potential two-point conversion pass that would have tied the game.
Jones talked about how hard his team played, and it was perceived he was saying the Cowboys had a moral victory. Tuesday morning, Jones wasn't buying it.
"I'm not either and I would agree, and I don't want you to have to feel good about a moral victory," Jones said. "We went up there, and everyone, before that ballgame on our team, thought we would win and we could win that ballgame, and we recognize that Baltimore has a good team and we recognize we were playing them away. But everybody thought we could win that ballgame.
"It's terribly disappointing, but we played physically, we did things we can win with in the future. I think we are preparing ourselves, now let me say this, we're 2-3, and so that's five games into a 16-game season. We don't have time to have a bad time here."