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I Love the Dallas Cowboys and I Hate Myself for It
I know what you’re thinking: “Great, another self-hating Cowboys fan.” Well, that’s only half true. While it’s an undeniable fact that no fan has been wowed by the owner of his favorite team since Al Davis managed the Raiders, that’s beside the point. This article was not written from a place of bitterness, but from a place of concern. See, the downfall of most teams is usually perpetuated by their respective owners’ disregard for victory, usually in the form of frugality. To build a championship contender in any professional sport, you have to be willing to spend; you pay to play. That is clearly not the case here. If you’ve had a chance to visit, nay, witness the ghost that is Cowboys Stadium, then you know spending isn’t a problem for Jerry Jones. In fact, his checkbook has garnered quite a few elite squads over the years.
From a talent standpoint, we’re as good, if not better, than most teams in the league. Unfortunately, talent alone doesn’t win championships. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good place to start, but it’s not enough. If it were, we would have advanced to the second round of the playoffs more than once in the last 15 years. Also, the Lakers would win like 70 games this season.
So what is the real problem here? To answer that question, we’ll have to get to Jerry-of-the-matter, a reality he has both embraced and rejected. The truth is; the man wants to win. Why else would he run the Cowboys organization like a man facing his own mortality? That modern Roman Coliseum that he built in Arlington, TX is, in many ways, a shrine to himself. To make another comparison with the Lakers, Jerry Jones wants to win his fourth championship like Kobe wanted to win his; on their own terms. And therein lies the problem. That’s why he has insisted on taking on the role of not only owner, but also president and general manager. He has positioned himself to wield so much influence over soccer operations that his decisions are absolute in nature and almost one-sided. Win, lose or take out the credit will be all yours this time. It’s also why, in the time since its last Super Bowl, this franchise has undergone the transformation from prince to pauper into what we now have. Cowboys are, to paraphrase Wikipedia’s definition of a paradox, an argument that produces inconsistency, typically within logic or common sense. We have both the best sports owner and the worst general manager. Our team is among the most talented in the league, and yet it is one of the least productive.
As a fan, I’d really like to see us course correct before we become the Raiders. To do that, I think some serious changes are needed. First, Jerry simply needs to step away from his GM duties. He’s done everything he can to produce a yes-man culture from the front office to the sidelines and all they’ve done is allow him to repeat the same tried-and-failed cycle of: buy a bunch of talent, hire the most passive coach on the market. and depending on Tony Romo to be something he’s not. When that doesn’t work, he hits the media circuit to assure his fan base that change is coming and that next year will be different; he rinse and repeat. He is really doing himself a disservice by continuing down the same path over and over again and expecting different results. That is literally the definition of insanity.
Here’s the thing, all of the Cowboys’ championship runs under Jerry Jones can be tied to one very stubborn, headstrong, unquestioning leader of men: Jimmy Johnson. He was uncompromising in his coaching style and earned the respect of both coaches and players. Besides, he wasn’t a yes-man. Consequently, those same attributes also lead it to be canned. Clearly, the type of head coach Jerry has favored in recent years, that Wade Phillips-Norv Turner archetype, isn’t making it because they’re not leaders of men. Jason Garrett is no exception. Nearly two decades later, Jerry Jones is the face of his own franchise; something he has always strived for, but he has no more rings to call his own. However, he has the backing of Papa John’s which has allowed him to break-dance and rap in a public place. And then there’s Rome…
One of my favorite sports personalities, Stephen A. Smith, has often referred to Michael Jordan as a “killer” because he wasn’t the type to wait until his team was down before launching it. MJ dominated his opponents from the start of the game to the end. If you needed 10 more points to seal the deal, he’d give you 20. He didn’t just “put the last nail in the coffin.” He drove 50 nails into the coffin, buried the coffin, poured concrete over the burial site, and then built a multi-use office/commercial structure on top of it. The man never played a game seven in any of his NBA Finals appearances. He took every opportunity for victory. Now how does that translate to the NFL?
Simple, I want the guy who takes snapshots to be obsessed with winning. Tom Brady is. Aaron Rodgers is. Peyton Manning is. I’m not suggesting he wants to see us put up scores, but what I will say, in no uncertain terms, is that I want the leader of our offense to take every play as if he’s engineering the game-winning drive. I want my quarterback to inspire, encourage and dominate the offense. As of this writing, there are at least four rookie quarterbacks who do better than Romo.
I’m not a Romo hater so I apologize to any fans I may have offended. However, I would ask those same people to consider, just hypothetically, how differently our season might have been if we had one of those guys. Let’s do this: replace Tom Brady with Tony Romo, keep the rest of the offense the way he is, and keep the defense the way it is. Do you think our season would have turned out differently? Imagine what he would do with our offensive unit under him. The last time he had someone as physically gifted as Dez Bryant throw to him, he set a single-season record for touchdowns. Of course, Dez isn’t Randy Moss, but I’d still pick him and Miles Austin over any of the Patriots’ three receivers. And if we’re really honest, he’d pick DeMarco Murray over every running back on his list. It’s true they have superior tight ends, but ours aren’t exactly uniform. Just say; having a confident quarterback is important. Look at what RG3 did for the Redskins or the impact Peyton Manning had on the Colts the year he was gone. Except for those two guys, the Cowboys are at least as talented as those teams.
Many of my fellow Cowboys stalwarts like to think our record should have been better than it was because of the number of close games we let slip away. The fact is that it probably should have been worse. How many games did we win in the final minutes of regulation because we decided to wait until the fourth quarter to start playing? How many did we lose due to poor clock management or mental errors in the final stretch? All of our wins were by 10 points or less. All of our losses, with the exception of the beating we took from Seattle, were by 10 points or less. That should tell you right away that we have serious discipline problems. Remember that “leader of men” point? I’ll even take that a step further and put at least half of said problems on the offensive side of the ball. I won’t even go into all the reasons why Rob Ryan shouldn’t have been fired. Simply put, we didn’t play in the big game this year because we didn’t deserve it. We weren’t good enough and until we make some overdue changes I don’t see things getting better any time soon.
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