Former Cowboys TE shades zoo-like atmosphere in Dallas to football-first Texans

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has turned his franchise into a fan-oriented carnival. Houston Texan's tight end Dalton Schultz discussed the Cowboys' facilities and compared them to a zoo.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Although the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys both play in Texas, their cultures are worlds apart.

Houston Texans tight end Dalton Schultz spent the first five years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, who selected in with the No. 137 pick in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Schultz signed with the Houston Texans prior to the 2023 NFL season, and he immediately developed a rapport with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. In his first season with the Texans, Schultz had 59 receptions for 635 yards and five touchdowns.

While explaining the differences between the Cowboys and Texans organizations on "The Pat McAfee Show," Schultz referred to Dallas' facilities as a "zoo."

Former Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz says team's facilities were a "zoo"

Schultz was set to hit the free agency market again this year, but the Texans signed the 27-year-old tight end to a three-year, $36 million contract extension on Tuesday. With his future cemented in Houston, Schultz spoke freely about the differences between the Cowboys and Texans organizations.

"The focus [in Houston] is just football, you know what I mean?" Schultz said. "Going back and telling some people [about] the Cowboys practice facility and game day, describing some of the interactions and stuff that you see on a day-to-day basis surprised a lot of people. They’re like, 'Holy crap, that actually happens in a practice facility?' You think it’s normal and then you come to a place like this."

Schultz said that the Cowboys would host tours of their facilities while players were working out, which created unnecessary distractions.

“There’s people literally going on tours while you’re lifting in the weight room and they’ve got a one-way mirror for people to look in. It’s literally a zoo, dude, there's people tapping on the glass trying to get people’s attention as they’re doing power cleans or whatnot.”

Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner since 1989, has shaped the team into one of the most profitable franchises in the league. The Cowboys storied history of success led to the team being dubbed "America's Team." Yet, in recent years, Dallas has become a laughingstock. Despite their regular season brilliance, the Cowboys have lost in humiliating fashion during the postseason. The Cowboys' failures have brought criticism of Jones' approach to running the team. Rather than instilling a winning culture, Jones seems set on creating a fan-centric experience that is more pomp and spectacle than it is football.

“It’s different,” Schultz said of the Cowboys organization. “That’s the brand that they built, that’s what Jerry likes, that’s the way they run things. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just, you know, you don’t realize ... how much that can maybe distract from stuff just in the locker room, being in the facility, until you go somewhere else and you're like, 'Holy crap, dude, there's none of that.'"

Schultz was franchise tagged by the Cowboys in 2021, but the team allowed the tight end to test free agency after the 2022 NFL season. Schultz was nervous about leaving Dallas because he was uncertain about how other teams operate.

Contrary to the old adage, however, the grass was definitely greener on the other side for Schultz.

"This is a really well run organization in Houston," Schultz said. "I think that was one of the things that kind of scared me about leaving Dallas the most. I wasn't sure what another organization would feel like. And, dude, I got here and it was like, this place is a well-oiled machine. The coaching staff — the coaching changes, I can't speak to the previous stuff — but the strength staff is phenomenal, the training staff is unbelievable. This has been the most trainers that I've ever seen on a staff and they take really amazing care of the players. The nutrition staff is phenomenal. ... Everything they do is top-notch."

Schultz' comments are reflective of the NFL Players Association survey results, which gave the Houston organization high grades in every category. Dallas received lower grades for their training room and training staff, with only 69 percent of Cowboys players saying they felt like the team had enough full-time trainers.

In his 90 career games, Schultz has notched 270 receptions for 2,757 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has missed only four games in the past four years.

Next. NFL Rumors: 4 Saquon Barkley landing spots that can revive RB's career. NFL Rumors: 4 Saquon Barkley landing spots that can revive RB's career. dark