FRISCO, Texas – If the Dallas Cowboys can save their season and advance to the playoffs, they may thank Gallagher.
Looking for a way to inspire his team ahead of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, coach Mike McCarthy took a page from the longtime Prop comic book and smashed a row of watermelons with a sledgehammer when they met on Saturday night. A number of players also joined in as McCarthy tried to bring the Focuses home.
Ultimately, the Cowboys won 31-28, lost four games and improved to 3-7. With a win on Thursday against the Washington Football Team, they would at least temporarily take first place in the NFC East.
"It was just part of the messaging," McCarthy said. "We had a number of focuses that we wanted to meet, so some people had to attend and I would say again that it was great fun. It was well received."
Not only was the sledgehammer brought into the team plane – "That's the beauty of flying charter," McCarthy said jokingly – so did the watermelons.
"We actually had to bring our own watermelons because Minneapolis is a little harder to find large watermelons at this time of the year than it is in Dallas, as I was told," McCarthy said. "There was a lot of planning behind it and most of all we got it right and the cleanup was efficient. The hotel was a little concerned there."
As coach of the Green Bay Packers, McCarthy measured the ring fingers of his players the night before the victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
"I've always tried to be creative all my time, and I've been doing this for a long time. So you're looking for new ideas to keep them fresh," he said. "This is our first year together – we'll be later in the season. It's just once again, everything fits together."
McCarthy said he had never seen Gallagher (full name Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr.), but he could keep that bit out of superstition.
"That's a great question," he said. "We'll see if it expires because it's my team meetings. What happens in the team meeting stays there. Yeah, in any case we obviously fought and scratched. The players were great. So hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. "