A tradition that was started many years ago by Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Bob Lilly, Tony Dorsett among many others has been tarnished by the current organizational structure of the Dallas Cowboys. In the last fifteen years up until this point in the season the Cowboys are a whopping 133-133. The current state of affairs in Big D is an organization that makes a ton of money but is a team that is honestly mired in mediocrity.
If you were to have a conversation with a Cowboys fan in the Golden Era of Dallas football (approx. 1970-1999), and tell them that as we stand here today the Dallas Cowboys are a mediocre football team and a punch line of jokes for teams and people that choke, they would laugh in your face. But, it’s the truth. Every time that the team has had the chance to win in the past fifteen years the Cowboys find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. No situation more evident than a dropped game winning field goal hold by Tony Romo in Seattle in 2006.
But what about the organization itself makes the Cowboys set up for failure? The easy answer for that poignant question comes down to one man, Jerry Jones. Mr. Jones is a smart business man, who has taken his fortune and created the most widely followed team in all of sports. However, the feeling of many fans when addressing the team’s problems is that Jerry needs his fingerprints on every decision. He wants to be the reason that the team succeeds, sharing the spotlight is not in the man’s thought process. The last time the Cowboys were a winner, the Head Coach of the football team had full control and did not always agree with the controversial owner. Since that point the Cowboys have had a cavalcade of ‘Yes-Men’ that have been a complete and utter failure (With the exception of Bill Parcells who was fired after a dispute with Terrell Owens).
To make this point more convincing, ask the Dallas faithful who was the most responsible for Dallas’ last title run. The resounding answer you will get is Jimmie Johnson. For some reason, in the mind of Jerry Jones that is not acceptable. Just winning is not enough. Though to be fair, Jerry Jones made great moves in securing players for that championship run such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders, Charles Haley, Russell Maryland among many others. But, he let Jimmie coach the ball club and did not micromanage the entire process. What appears to be the issue is that in the current organization, Mr. Jones wants to control every single decision on a daily basis. Micromanaged teams in any sport for the most part are destined to fail, the biggest problem that one can ascertain from the Dallas Cowboys is a lack of organizational structure.
Currently, the Cowboys are 5-5 and have missed the playoffs the last three seasons. They are reeling from an embarrassing loss on national television against the New Orleans Saints and ex-Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, who made the offense look anemic at best. The defense who lost stand out linebacker Sean Lee early in the game appeared complacent and confused as Drew Brees and company ran all over them. The Cowboys looked like a bad Division III defense. The question that many pose currently, is this Jerry Jones’ fault? The basis for their argument is that Jerry puts together one of the more talented teams in the NFL year-to-year. However, in the current state of affairs, Mr. Jones finds scapegoats to create the appearance that he did not make a mistake about his direction of the team. This past offseason, when the team was coming of a devastating loss in Week 17 to an NFC East opponent with playoffs on the line for a second year in a row, he refused to admit that Jason Garrett wasn’t good enough or that Tony Romo wasn’t a winner. What Jerry did was fire Rob Ryan, who’s defense was crushed with injuries finishing the season with only two starters (one of which was Demarcus Ware, who was in need of major shoulder surgery) and pulling people of the street to put a team out there week to week. And despite all that Ryan’s defense might have been the most impressive unit on the Cowboys last season. But Ryan becomes the scapegoat, and none of the blame gets placed at the feet of Jones, Garrett or Romo.
America’s Team is currently in deep trouble in the NFC East, the Eagles are playing good football and the Giants are rolling winner’s of four straight. As we sit here today, the Cowboys will be .500 at best and most likely miss the playoffs again, however one could probably make the argument that Jason Garrett will still be the Head Coach and Tony Romo will still be the quarterback. I know after speaking with many Cowboys fans if their collective hands were at the helm the moves that would be made would include: trading Romo, firing Garrett, and hiring a real General Manager. It remains to be seen if any of these wishes will come to fruition, the one thing that rings true is Jerry Jones always will have the most talked about team in the NFL.