You take your football down here real serious, don’t you?
This might seem strange coming from a life long New York Giants fan, but I actually want to help the Dallas Cowboys. Now I’m sure there are a lot of die hard Cowboy fans out there who will vilify me and this post but it’s time to stop pussyfooting around the subject.
The Cowboys are overrated.
It’s true. No team in professional sports today has been as over-hyped in recent years, have failed expectations consistently, and yet continue to dominate the sports news wires as the favorites to win it all. I’ve never seen any organization receive so much hype for doing nothing. I know we’re only 1 game into the season but once again the only thing America’s Team succeeds in doing is disappointing. Not to take anything away from the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys supposedly should have won that game. Instead, mental mistakes and lack of focus cost them a win.
Talent-wise they are stacked to the gill. Some even argue that there is more talent on both sides of the ball than even their championship squads of the early-mid 90’s. I choose to not even delve into that claim any further because it was a different game then. Different rules. Different players. It’s foolish to compare. That was a perfect storm of coaches, players and ownership that isn’t easily replicated. Let’s just leave it that they have an abundance of ability with this most recent incarnation.
So what’s the problem?
The club has been one of the most recognizable names in pro football for decades. A powerhouse by all standards. Long time coach Tom Landry had a lot to do with that. You don’t get to coach the same team for 29 seasons by not accomplishing anything. Unfortunately times change and when Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989 he chose to go a different direction with the team. Many of Mr. Jones’ actions have been questioned over the years. This isn’t going to be a lets-bash-Jerry-Jones post by any means. Let’s just look at what the facts state:
- Under Tom Landry (1960 – 1988)
- Championship 1971
- Championship 1977
- Under Jimmie Johnson (1989 – 1993)
- Championship 1992
- Championship 1993
- Under Barry Switzer (1994 – 1997)
- Championship 1995
- Under Chan Gailey (1998 – 1999)
- Under Dave Campo (2000 – 2002)
- Under Bill Parcells (2003 – 2006)
- Under wade Phillips ( 2007 – present)
I am fully aware that the Cowboys have plenty of divisional championships throughout the 16 years since their last championship win but this is unfortunately a league where the only recognizable accomplishment is winning the Super Bowl. Anything less is considered a novelty. What good is winning the division if you fail in the playoffs? As a Giants fan I’m all too familiar with playoff failure so I know the frustration.
So why do they fail?
It can be any number of reasons. A lot of fingers point towards Jerry Jones for being too involved in the teams football operations as owner and GM. He’s often criticized for his all too visible presence on and off the field but let’s be real here… I can’t blame the guy. If I had the luxury of owning an NFL team I sure as hell would have my dirty little fingers in everything because it’s my team. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good thing. Case in point is Al Davis, owner and GM of the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders used to be good… many, many, many years ago in the mystical time of John Madden. Unfortunately Al Davis is old school with an old school way of thinking and managing the team. His mindset is stuck in the 70’s and hasn’t adapted to modern times. As a result he pigeon-holes his coaching staffs into mediocrity. Until he comes to the realization that he needs to change so that his team can change, the Raiders will continue to fail.
Perhaps that’s the paradox that the Cowboys face right now? They had a winning formula back in the early 90’s. Mr. Jones was the owner/GM and every bit as involved with his club’s operations as he is now. Maybe just maybe Mr. Jones is still trying to do things the 90’s way in present times. Who knows? If that’s the case then the Cowboys will continue to disappoint until people finally come to the realization that they’re just not that good. We’ve seen teams stockpile talent before and fail miserably regardless. Look at the Redskins. Owner Daniel Snyder believed for years that he could spend his way to a Super Bowl by signing high priced aging players. It took a few abysmal seasons and a who’s who list of coaches before he realized that his involvement in the day-today operations was detrimental to his team. In 2009 he hired Bruce Allen as GM and left the team management to him and new coach Mike Shanahan. It remains to be seen whether or not this will pan out well for them but they have the pieces in place to progress the franchise. Leave football to the football people. That seems to be the mantra he’s adopted now.
Some can argue that Jimmie Johnson was the x-factor in Dallas’ championship runs. The team enjoyed its greatest success in the modern age under his control. Although Barry Switzer did win a championship after Johnson resigned, he inherited that team and ran it into the ground (much like Gruden did with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Jimmie Johnson never reached that pinnacle during any of his other coaching stints but was successful nonetheless. Maybe the ultimate answer is to have the unthinkable happen. Have Jones and Johnson kiss and make up and try to make another run at it. That’s not likely to ever happen though.
Personally I think Wade Phillips has caused the team to take steps backwards. Dallas was on the up-and-up until he came along. His demeanor doesn’t fit the Dallas persona. The Cowboys are intense and full of bravado. Wade just comes off as a wishy-washy little yes man who does whatever Jerry Jones says to do. The Cowboys don’t need that. They need a coach who’ll have the balls to put an owner in his place like a Bill Cowher. I imagine that relationship would be as tumultuous as a badger and a wolverine being locked in the same room, but I guarantee you the ‘Boys would go further than a divisional round elimination.
I hope the Dallas Cowboys find their way eventually. I used to respect the organization back in the Aikman-Irvin-Smith days because they were bad ass and earned every bit of that moniker. Heck I hope they prove me wrong this season and make me eat crow by winning a championship finally. Chances are they will now that I’ve publicly called them out yet again. Deep down though, I know they won’t. The coach lacks the killer instinct therefore the team will always fall short. They’ll blame Romo. They’ll blame the offensive line. They’ll blame everyone and anyone except who deserves to be blamed. This is the make-or-break season though. It’s been over a decade of false hope, broken promises and lofty expectations. When will the media stop rewarding and praising failure?
Never I guess.
So long as Jerry Jones keeps his publicity monster well fed, the Cowboys will never be acknowledged as being overrated. I just love the cruel irony that even the lowly, less talented New York Football Giants were able to make 2 Super Bowl appearances (and actually win one) during the time when Dallas was (and is) considered to be the team to beat. They even managed to defeat the unbeatable New England Patriots.
Go figure. 😉