Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter of Super Bowl XXVII, Troy Aikman found tight end Jay Novacek over the middle to tie the game. It was the start of a 52-10 run that led to the Dallas Cowboys first Super Bowl title since 1977 and also started a run of three championships in four seasons–the rebirth of America’s Team.
Now, perched in the announcer’s booth sitting high above AT&T Stadium, or Cowboys Stadium or Jerry World or the Death Star… whatever the hell you want to call it, Troy Aikman has to wonder what’s happened to America’s Team–how they’ve quickly become America’s Nightmare.
The Jerry Jones era which started so lucratively in Irving, TX has come to a comically violent halt, and something decidedly lesser than emerged 18 miles to the Southwest in Arlington.
Now, to be fair, the demise of the Dallas Cowboys started long before they moved into their new state-of-the-art, city-owned monstrosity of a stadium. They hadn’t won a playoff game in the final 12 seasons in Texas Stadium (a drought they managed to end in their first season in the new building) and they lived–if you want to call it that–through the Dave Campo era from 2000-2002.
However, it took on an entirely new grandiosity when they moved into the $1.3 billion (with a ‘B’) football space station. Even the 2009 season that ended Dallas’ playoff victory dry spell ended with a complete and utter dismantling at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
It probably didn’t help that season began with a reality TV show hosted by former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin awarding a spot on the 90-man roster to a bunch of relative washouts for competing in challenges that only vaguely resembled actual football. 4th and Long might have been a dream come true for wide receiver Jesse Holley, but it helped advance the Dallas narrative.
Jerry Jones had almost completely fallen off the wagon.
Granted, you could make a serious case that Jones never really was on the wagon to begin with, having ousted Jimmy Johnson–amazing helmet of hair and all–after back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1992 and 1993. However, when Jerry Jones began ushering in this new era of unnecessary extravagance, it’s when the Dallas Cowboys ceased being America’s favorite team and started being sadists’ favorite team.
And the part that is most disconcerting about all the garishness is the fact that Dallas continues to be on the cusp of greatness as a football team. On a seemingly annual basis, they field a roster that is capable of challenging for the NFC East and much, much more, but they’re perpetually hamstrung by Jerry Jones’ inability to relinquish power–to delegate.
Jerry Jones is the principle owner of the Dallas Cowboys and he technically has the right to do whatever he pleases with his franchise, but he’s not-so-slowly morphed from the man who made the Cowboys America’s Team (and the most valuable individual entity in American sports) once again into the Russian Guy with the miniature giraffe in the DirecTV commercials.
What Jerry Jones needs to do, is do what 70-year old billionaires do best. Hire a bunch of insanely talented people and then go play pinochle or bet the ponies… something. Just let the insanely talented people work in an atmosphere where they don’t feel micromanaged, or, even worse, constantly under review.
If you honestly think Jason Garrett is some offensive wizard–Garrett the Grey–then let him run his football team in a manner he sees fit. Don’t go out and bring in Bill Callahan–and we KNOW what an offensive genius this guy is–to handcuff your head coach and take away the responsibility you seemed to think he was best suited for when you hired him three years ago.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is… GO AWAY JERRY.
Sink your teeth into another side project. Go torture Ari Gold and look for someone to bring an NFL franchise to Los Angeles. Brush shoulders with stars and drink an extra martini or two at lunch. Do a Dallas cameo (his third). Who cares?
Because all you’re doing right now is turning America’s Team–America’s Dream–into America’s Nightmare.