Dallas Cowboys | Jerry Jones: The state of America’s Team

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Massimo’s NFL Blog
Dallas Cowboys | Jerry Jones: The State of America’s Team
By Massimo Russo – Featured Writer Silver and Blue Report & Hook’em Report

Jerry Jones | Dallas CowboysMan in the MirrorJerry Jones and The State of America’s Team
January 28, 1996 was the last time America and its long range of Cowboys fans across the nation saw Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys hold up the Lombardi Trophy. Since then, the organization has gone from coach to coach, quarterback to quarterback, scheme to scheme and moved into a gigantic playground known as Cowboys Stadium, unlike the legendary Texas Stadium were the Cowboy greats were born.

All and all have resulted in disappointment with only two playoff wins in eighteen seasons. All Dallas fans can do is hope the main man steering the wheel at the top of the mountain will change, something they’ve been waiting for nearly two decades.

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has showcased his desire to win, but has that desire for winning gone over his head? The answer to that question is yes. Jerry is the center of attraction, the star beyond the star on the side of the teams legendary helmet that’s been worn by many greats that left their footprints in the ground, footprints that earned them the right to be enshrined into the pro football hall of fame. When you think of the franchise’s glory days, you think of Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, Jimmy Johnson, Roger Staubach and the triplets, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. Those are the names that built America’s Team.

Like the American economy stuck in a pickle trying to find its way out of the mess, so are the Dallas Cowboys. After the team of the 90’s third super bowl title in a four year span, two with Jimmy Johnson and the last with Barry Switzer, Jerry Jones has gone through five head coaching changes. In the late 90’s Jones hired Chan Gailey who led the Cowboys to two straight playoff appearances. Jones fired Gailey after losing consecutive playoff games to Arizona in 98 and Minnesota in 99. In Gailey’s replacement, Jones elected to promote assistant Dave Campo to head coach. In Campo’s tenure, the team hit rock bottom going 5-11 for three straight seasons.

After three straight dismal years of losing, it was time for a change, a time for Jerry Jones to bring in a head coach with past success, someone players would respect that had a formidable plan that could turn the franchise around. That man was Bill Parcells, a coach that put the New York Giants on the map. Jones knew he had to make the move and bring in a coach that could evaluate talent and help him draft future stars. In Parcells’ first season in 03 as head coach with one of the worst talents at quarterback Quincy Carter, the Cowboys went 10-6 with a stingy defense making the playoffs as a wild card only to get ambushed by the Carolina Panthers. Despite the franchises fourth consecutive playoff loss, hope was back in “Big D” with Parcells aboard. The future looked bright and the Cowboys were back to being relevant again. But the 04 season took a step back. Parcells brought along one of his former quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde whose stint with the Cowboys was a disastrous 6-10 season.

In 05, Parcells brought along another one of his former quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, a quarterback that led the Patriots to a super bowl appearance in the 96 season. The Cowboys missed the playoffs in 05 with a 9-7 record, and after two straight seasons of missing the postseason, Jerry Jones decided to make a splash in the offseason by taking a gamble on controversial receiver Terrell Owens. The move brought a high dose of attention to the team and many wondered if the star receiver would get along with such a hard-nosed coach like Parcells. In the sixth game of the 06 season, Parcells benched Drew Bledsoe in a meaningful division game against rival New York replacing him with Tony Romo, an undrafted player out of Eastern Illinois to quarterback a position that’s been looking for the next Staubach and Aikman to guide the Cowboys back to the promise land.

The move helped the Cowboys get back to the postseason, but the nightmares of playoff losses continued on the grand stage as Romo’s muffed-snap cost the Cowboys a playoff win in Seattle. Following the heart-breaking loss, Parcells decided to call his coaching career quits leaving his undrafted quarterback and the rest of team wondering where the team was heading. Jerry Jones would bring along Wade Phillips to replace Parcells and in his first season as head coach, Phillips and the Cowboys sported a 13-3 regular season record. The Cowboys looked primed for a trip to the super bowl, but rival New York upset Dallas in the divisional round as the team watched its rival go on to capture a super bowl title. In 09, the Cowboys returned to the playoffs to finally win a playoff game for the first time since the 96 season. The following season was a disaster. Quarterback Tony Romo suffered a season ending injury and Wade Phillips was fired after the team started 1-7.

Jerry Jones replaced Phillips with offensive coordinator and former backup Cowboys quarterback Jason Garrett as interim head coach. The team finished 6-10 and Jones hired Garrett as head coach following the regular season. Since then, same results, same ending, leaving “Cowboy Nation” in disappointment. A once proud franchise continues to find ways to lose, whether it’s a bad coaching decision, a muffed snap, a missed field goal or a crucial interception thrown by Tony Romo, all that looks promising is nothing more than a tease to get Dallas fans geared up with excitement only to find out that someway, somehow they find ways to destroy any hopes of reaching a super bowl with late season failures.

So now what? Is firing Rob Ryan and hiring new defensive coordinator Monte Kifin, switching the defensive scheme to a 4-3 Tampa 2 defense the answer? Maybe, but that’s not the main problem in Dallas. How on earth does a coach that’s failed to reach the playoffs losing two straight consecutive divisional title games get power points? Answer: Jerry Jones, an owner that has the power to bring in an experienced winning coach like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or someone in the ranks of Mike Holmgren who expressed his interest of possibly coaching the Cowboys. Holmgren is tight with Jerry and if was in Jerry’s shoes, it would be a no brainer for me to go after a coach that’s won big and knows how to draft and run a football team. But that won’t happen. What Jerry Jones has created in Dallas is an ‘All about Jerry Show,’ a show that features an owner that is bigger than the brightest star athlete on the team.

Bottom line, we need a culture change in Dallas and we need it fast. The tick-tocks on the clock never stop moving, but the days of Tony Romo quarterbacking, Jason Witten catching passes and DeMarcus Ware rushing the quarterback is getting older by the day. I get the sense that this organization feels like everything is ok when in reality, things are a mess. What happened to that championship attitude, that player or coach that everyone knew was going to step up in the crucial moments? What’s happened to the Dallas Cowboys? Until Jerry Jones takes a good look in the mirror and realizes he needs to take a step back and hire a head coach, giving him power, we’ll get the same results year after year. Structure, stability and coaching, the three main aspects that make a franchise a winner and all of that is lost. So, Jerry can bring in all the talent he wants, but until those three key aspects start kicking in, “America’s Team” will continue to lose and maybe eventually, its fans.

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