First off let me make this perfectly clear – I am not a Dallas Cowboys fan. Nor am I one of the millions of haters. I am merely a neutral observer. I have friends that work for the organization and I hope they do well. I have worked with former and current players and wish them the best too. I watch the Cowboys each week because I’m a fan of the game, and don’t ride the highs and lows like a fan of the team does. But this is beginning to be painful for even me to watch. I’ve been trying to look at the Cowboys objectively, but being in Dallas that’s sometimes hard to do. Jerry Jones and his squad are truly larger than life here, and I’m not sure any team this side of the Atlantic operates more in a fish bowl than your heroes with the stars on their helmets. And that can be good, and that can be bad.
The good is 85,000 fans paying ridiculous amounts for tickets, parking, merchandise and concessions each and every home game. It’s AT&T naming rights money. It’s a storied history of Lombardi trophies and larger than life hall-of-famers. The bad only happens when the Cowboys lose, which, however, for the last 15 years or so is about 50% of the time. It’s then they are put under the microscope, and the surgery begins. Does it happen in other markets? Of course it does, its just that we aren’t there to witness it. There’s no doubt in my mind that Eli Manning is being barbequed today in New York after throwing 5 picks in a 23-0 home loss to the Seahawks yesterday. But what makes the Cowboys different than other franchises is one singular thing, and the only constant during this run of mediocrity – Jerry Jones.
Never have I seen an owner of a professional sports team that so willingly wears a bulls-eye around his neck like Jerry. The only one that comes close was the late Al Davis, and the similarities between the two seem to be growing weekly. And that’s not a good thing for the Cowboys. We hear the term “the game has passed them by” in regards to coaches all the time. Heck we heard it about Tom Landry. And when that happens the coach is most times put out to pasture. But what happens when “the game” passes by a GM that also owns the team? Nothing. Year after year nothing. That’s why the Raiders went without a winning season in Davis’ last decade in charge. And that’s why Cowboys fans should not expect another trip to the Super Bowl any time soon.
Anyone who was shocked by the Cowboys meltdown yesterday just hasn’t been paying attention (or more likely is is denial). Did it really come as a surprise that the coaching staff did a ridiculous job with clock management and play calling? That the defense couldn’t stop a back up QB (just look at last week’s game against the Bears and Josh McCown), or that Tony Romo would throw a crucial 4th quarter interception? It’s really starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day. Same thing over and over and over again. But there is a major difference between Jerry Jones and Bill Murray’s character Phil. Phil actually uses his repeating time in Punxsutawney to correct his mistakes, not relive them exactly the same day after day. Jerry – not so much. Bad drafts, questionable coaching hires, silly contract extensions and another average team that constantly seems in disarray. We’ve all seen this movie before.