OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones was already sounding excited, smiling and exclaiming as he spoke. Only then did it become clear that he wasn't talking about what everybody else was thinking.
With an NFL-record 13 Pro Bowl players returning from a team that won a franchise-record 13 games before an unexpected ending last season, there are some super expectations for the Dallas Cowboys.
From the fans, from the media, and yes, even the team's owner -- even as he tried to be careful with how he expressed his feelings about the upcoming season and never uttered the term Super Bowl.
"You guys know I'm prone to hyperbole, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that the next 12 months will be the most exciting and intriguing time in the history, really, of this franchise," Jones started his comments Thursday after the Cowboys reported to training camp.
Then, instead of the expected championship declaration, Jones talked about the team's upcoming final season at Texas Stadium and the transition to their new $1 billion stadium.
OK, so when the new stadium opens in 2009, will it be the home of a defending Super Bowl champion?
"I'm not going to make any predictions," Jones said. "I think that's not for me to say; maybe I've lost my credibility in that area about saying we're going to go to the Super Bowl."
After their divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants in January, following two regular season victories against their NFC East rival, the Cowboys have now gone through 11 seasons since they've even won a postseason game.
And it has been 12 seasons since the Cowboys last won the Super Bowl, when it was their third championship in a four-year period under Jones.
Jones might avoid saying Super Bowl, but he's certainly acting like an owner who believes his team should be able to get there.
Terrell Owens and four other Pro Bowl selections got multiyear contracts this offseason, which translated into a commitment of $70 million on those players from Jones.
"The real world is that we wouldn't have committed the money had we not had the expectations that we have a chance to be the very best," Jones said. "We all know what best means."
The Cowboys will have their first practice Friday, the first of 15 consecutive days on the field before they go to San Diego for their preseason opener Aug. 9.