Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; General view of a Dallas Cowboys helmet at the 2013 Enshrinees Gameday Roundtable at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: America’s Nightmare

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.

Now, listen.

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.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett Jerry Jones NFL Troy Aikman

  • grkorbel

    “Now, listen”. Whenever I see a writer use that I know why he or she is a freelancer. It’s the jouralistic equivalent of Willy Loman’s widow desparingly whimpering “Attention must be paid.”

    • duhots

      Give him a break. He obviously has nothing new to add to this conversation. It’s probably mostly copied and pasted from other peoples’ articles from 8 years ago.

      • grkorbel

        I hear you. What I really don’t get is the perennial nastiness and attempted character assassination of characters like this and others. Wouldn’t it be absolute bliss if the writers would just take a one-year sabbatical and just let us hear from the players and coaches?

        I think we can pretty much get the big picture on our own. You did. Hericlitus: “All is flux”. Things change but what do we still get from these yokels: Jerry ousted Jimmy, among other fictions. Does this guy recall Johnson in the days before the 1994 Super Bowl saying, “Sure, I’d be interested in coaching the Jaguars.”

        Is he ignorant of the fact that Jerry wanted a five-year commitment from Johnson but Johnson wouldn’t sign on?

        Look at Johnson’s resume. Can anyone see where he stayed in any job longer than more than five years? How pissed off could Jones have been if he was willing to extend Johnson’s contract? And any head coach with a clue about respect and civility would have just for an hour put resentments aside concerning his owner after repeating as SB champions and invited the guy to have a drink.

        Would it have killed Johnson to have told his staff, “Jerry’s headed this way. I know you guys think he’s an asshole. I do, too, but just let him have his moment. Let him believe he’s in the club, and he’ll be happy.”

        Johnson was his own judge, jury, and executioner at the end just as he was in Miami when he couldn’t keep the peace with Dan Marino.

        Writers like this are doing little more than inciting a frustrated fan base to become even more vindictive and disillusioned. Why? What is the real agenda of someone who writes tripe like this? To inform? Hardly. To spread his contempt like a pox.

        If there’s any merit to this guy’s bile it’s that he’s serving as a great example of why one should keep being a fan in perpsective because if you let a team become your great white whale, you’re going to pay a heavy vig for it in the long run in the kind of anger that leads to a double bypass.

  • duhots

    This article is trash. These are recycled opinions shared by most uneducated Cowboys ‘fans’.

    You points, while valid 5 years ago, aren’t really valid anymore. This is Garrett’s team, and Jones has been doing everything he can to support that. Bringing in Bill Callahan is a great move, and one that I believe Garrett was fully involved in making. In addition, Kiffin and Marinelli are fantastic additions, and give us arguably the two best line coaches in the league (Callahan and Marinelli) The drafting and player acquisitions have been outstanding over the last 3 years. And, despite only having like 13 players left from the Phillips era, this team has rebuilt itself completely and remained only a game away from the NFC East titles each of the last two years.

    Sure, people may love to hate on Jerry, but he’s making all the right moves lately, and letting Garrett run the show.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Every year we hear from fans who believe things have turned around. Now fans are posting that Jerry Jones has made all the right moves the past three years. If that is so then why is the team still 8 and 8 the past two seasons? Injuries to blame? If I recall three of the key injuries last year were to players who were recovering from injuries before they were drafted and obviously are injury prone! This article only reminds us of the problem….mismanagement by a meddling and egotistical general manager and as long as he owns the team things will remain the same. I truly wish it were not so but it just is. Thanks Ryan for being brave enough to write an honest article.

  • fgoodwin

    I’ve been a fan since the mid-60s and Ryan is absolutely right. I notice all the commenters trashing him offer not a single reason why this season will be any different than the 17 seasons before. Ad hominem attacks on a blog author won’t win a single game for the Cowboys. So put up or shut up: why will 2013 be any different than any other year since 1995?

  • BeltwayBoy Sports

    I HATE the Cowboys and love to see them lose! Now with that out of the way, I think this post is pretty much right on the money! Look at the Washington Redskins as an example. They had the same type of issues, if not worse until owner Dan Snyder was finally muzzled, hogtied, and tossed in the basement. He brought on GM Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan and let them run the football side of things. It took a few years to reshape the culture of the program and to rebuild a depleted roster, but things have improved. The Cowboys should follow the example!

  • copykon

    Jerry is doing a fine job in Dallas and I hope he brings more of the same for years to come (LOL).