Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is always looking for new ways to motivate his team, and this most recent idea included sledgehammers and watermelons. On Saturday night, he brought in the melons for the team to smash, giving a new way to focus on the goals of the upcoming game against the Vikings.
Each watermelon was meant to represent a team objective and players took turns smashing each one.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence rounded out the activity, smashing the last one, with the goal of stopping Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. The next day, the Cowboys smashed their four-game losing streak to pieces, just as they smashed the watermelons, and got a 31-28 win over Minnesota.
When discussing the exercise, McCarthy said he aims to keep things light, according to the Star-Telegram.
"I think like anything in this game, it's important to have fun. You're always trying to create emphasis in your messaging. That's really where it came from. We were just using the approach to honor the great comedian Gallagher and it's an idea that came up and we went for it. The players were into it."
He added that the players enjoyed it, saying, "It was just all part of the messaging so we had a number of points of emphasis that we were trying to hit so a number of guys got to participate and once again I'd say it was a lot of fun. It was well received."
McCarthy was not only was thinking of ways to keep his squad engaged with fresh ideas, but he also had to plan out how to travel with the materials needed for the event.
"The key is you got to have a good hammer and we're fortunate enough to where we were able to find one," McCarthy said.
He noted that the "beauty of flying charter" is that the sledgehammer was able to be packed in a "nice, safe bag." McCarthy also did his research on the melons beforehand.
"We had to actually take our own watermelons with us because it's a little harder to find big watermelons in Minneapolis this time of year than Dallas, from what I was told," he explained. "We were able to get it done right and the cleanup was efficient. The hotel was a little concerned there. We had a great time with it,."
Because it worked so well, the head coach hasn't ruled out repeating it all again next week.
"We obviously have been fighting and scratching. The players have been great. So hey, if it's not broke don't fix it," he said.
The Cowboys' win keeps them well within reach of the NFC East title, despite being 3-7 on the year. The Philadelphia Eagles currently lead the division with a 3-6-1 record, while the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants also sit at 3-7.