Dallas Cowboys fans will tell you that is anything but football paradise in Dallas. Once viewed as the model for all NFL teams to follow, even being dubbed America’s Team, the Cowboys have been anything but since. And no, the Cowboys did not give themselves that nickname, it was bestowed upon them.
At one point in time it was the Cincinnati Bengals who were the legal burden of the NFL, but the Cowboys have seemingly added that to their list of names along side “America’s Team.”
But the one thing the Cowboys have managed to do is to get into trouble with the law. If their players aren’t getting in trouble they bring in trouble. Pac Man Jones got into an altercation at a Las Vegas strip club that led this his supsension from the NFL and subsequent release by the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys brought him in and hired a security team to essentially babysit him, and what happened? Jones got into an altercation with his security team.
The Cowboys this summer watched drama unfold with their star wide receiver Dez Bryant. The young wide receiver was arrested on domestic violence charges involving a dispute with his mother. This came after a string of incidents with rap entourages, specifically Lil’ Wayne’s and amassing debts with various jewelers. At one point, Bryant was even temporarily banned from a local mall for “sagging” and language.
Then in this past December the Cowboys saw defensive tackle Josh Brent wreck his car after a night out of partying and drinking. He flipped his Mercedes-Benz on a Dallas highway and his passenger, as well as teammate, Jerry Brown died. Josh Brent’s blood alcohol content that night was 0.189, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 in Texas.
And barely a month since the Cowboys laid their fallen teammate to rest another Cowboys player wrecks his car in an alcohol related offense. Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff wrecked his car in suburban Dallas and like his teammate had a BAC of 0.16, again twice the legal limit. He was allegedly seen drinking at a bar the very next night.
So the question is whether or not their is a cultural problem in Dallas?
Many criticized Wade Phillips when he was the Cowboys head coach for being to soft on the players and babying them. They even went so far to name his summer training camps “Camp Cupcake.” And many believed that this is what led to the lack of post season success by the Cowboys, their players were soft and not battle tested. The Cowboys have won 1 post season game since their last Super Bowl victory and are constantly viewed as underperforming.
But in reality, it might be this approach that has shaped the culture at Valley Ranch.
Current head coach Jason Garrett was Phillips’ offensive coordinator and assistant head coach during the days of “camp cupcake.” Many have said that Garrett isn’t a quality head coach because he lacks emotion and sometimes comes across as robotic in his handling of situations. His press conferences are boring and monotoned. Some say he is too focused on the offense instead of the team as a whole. When other coaches would be throwing tantrums on the sidelines, like either of the Harbaugh brothers, about what is going on in the game, Garrett isn’t because he’s coaching the offense.
The majority of Garrett’s brief tenure as an NFL assistant coach came under Phillips, so in some regards it’s not his fault he is this way, it’s a learned behavior.
Think there isn’t value in a coach learning from their mentor or the coaching tree as it is called?
Six out of the past eleven Super Bowls, were won under Hall of Famer Bill Parcells coaching tree (Bill Belichick-3, Tom Coughlin-2, and Sean Payton-1).
If you need more evidence that there is a problem with leadership and culture in Dallas look no further than the current handling of the outbreak of drunk driving incidents amongst Cowboys players.
Owner Jerry Jones didn’t address the media. Neither did general manager Jerry Jones or VP Stephen Jones. And neither did head coach Jason Garrett.
Instead the Cowboys trotted out Calvin Hill, a consultant for the team’s player development program, who released the following statement.
“Having recently experienced the most tragic of circumstances regarding this issue, we, as an organization, understand the ultimate consequences of driving while impaired,” the statement read.
“We know that one incident is too many.
“The critical goal is to effect the decision making process in the hours before the wrong decision is made.
“Our player assistance programs in the areas of preventing incidents such as these are at the highest level in professional sports, but we are always looking to do better and for ways to improve. We will continue to draw upon the best expertise and resources available, both internally and from outside the organization, to work toward being the best in the areas of education, prevention, and effecting the right decisions.
“We have been in communication with Jay Ratliff regarding this incident, and we will monitor the legal process and work within the NFL guidelines for player behavior moving forward.”
Not even a team official… a consultant.
That speaks volumes about the culture in Valley Ranch and within the Dallas Cowboys organization. That they sent a consultant out to do their dirty work.