IRVING, Texas - A few minutes before kickoff against the Eagles today, the Dallas Cowboys will form a big circle around linebacker Keith Brooking, giving him their full attention.
In his 12th NFL season, Brooking could offer all sorts of insight, maybe a final few words of wisdom to keep everyone focused on what's at stake.
But that's not his thing.
Brooking will start ranting and raving like a revivalist preacher trying to save souls and convert nonbelievers. He'll holler things that demand words of affirmation to be hollered back. There will probably be some jumping up and down and maybe some body slamming, all in the name of motivation.
Could this pregame pep session be a secret reason the Cowboys have a chance to win the division?
"Who knows?" Brooking acknowledged. "When toe meets leather, are you remembering that? Probably not. But at the end of the day it is an emotional game, and if that little bit of spark may help us a little bit, I'm all for it."
Here's how it went last Sunday, before the Cowboys played the Redskins in Washington, courtesy of NBC cameras and YouTube:
"This is all we need!" Brooking screams twice, his helmet off, head bobbing and eyes bulging as he shuffles around the middle of the circle, teammates responding to each line with cries of "Yeah!"
"We're gonna keep hitting 'em!" he screams twice, followed by more cries of "Yeah!"
"They might get back up. Then we're gonna hit 'em again!" he continues, now moving in faster circles. "And when they're barely hanging on . . ."
"What're we gonna do?" screams running back Tashard Choice, setting up Brooking for his frenzied finish.
"We're gonna hit 'em in the mouth! We're gonna bloody their nose! We're gonna knock 'em to the ground!" Brooking says, drawing cheers and laughs as players close it by bashing into each other.