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I Love the Dallas Cowboys and I Hate Myself for It

I know what you’re thinking, “Great, another self-hating Cowboys fan.” Well, that’s only half true. While it’s undeniable that no fanbase has been held captive by the owner of their favorite team to this extent since Al Davis led the Raiders, that’s beside the point. This article was not written from a place of bitterness, but rather from a place of concern. You see, the downfall of most teams is usually perpetuated by their respective owners’ indifference to victory, usually in the form of frugality. In order to build a championship contender in any professional sport, you have to be willing to spend; you pay to play. This is clearly not the case here. If you’ve had the opportunity to visit, shall I say, witness the spectrum that is the Cowboys stadium, then you know that spending is no object for Jerry Jones. In fact, his checkbook has brought together quite a few elite teams over the years.

Talent-wise, we’re just as good, if not better, than most teams in the league. Unfortunately, talent alone does not win championships. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great starting point, but it’s not enough. If that were the case, we would have reached the second round of the playoffs more than once in the past 15 years. Additionally, the Lakers would win about 70 games this season.

So what’s the real problem here? To answer that question, we’ll have to look at the Jerry-of-the-matter, a reality he both embraced and rejected. The truth is; man wants to win. Otherwise, why would he run the Cowboys organization like a man facing his own mortality? This modern Roman Coliseum he built in Arlington, Texas is in many ways a sanctuary to himself. To make another comparison with the Lakers, Jerry Jones wants to win his fourth championship like Kobe wanted to win his; on his own terms. And therein lies the problem. That’s why he insisted on taking on not only the role of owner, but also that of president and general manager. He has positioned himself to wield such influence over football operations that his decisions are absolute and almost one-sided in nature. Winning, losing or pulling the credit will be all up to him this time. It’s also why, since their last run at the Super Bowl, this franchise has gone through the transformation from prince to pauper to what we have today. The Cowboys are, to paraphrase Wikipedia’s definition of paradox, an argument that produces inconsistencies, usually in logic or common sense. We have both the best sports owner and the worst general manager. Our team is among the most talented in the league, yet it’s one of the least productive.

As a fan, I would really like to see us put things right before we become the Raiders. To do this, I believe that significant changes must take place. First, Jerry simply has to step away from his duties as general manager. He’s done everything he can to produce a culture of yes men from the front office to the backstage and all they’ve done is allow him to repeat the same proven cycle of buying a bunch of talent, hire the most passive trainer on the market and count on Tony Romo to be what he is not. When that doesn’t work, he hits the media circuit to assure his fan base that changes are coming and that next year will be different; rinse and repeat. He is really doing himself a disservice by continuing on the same path over and over and expecting different results. It’s literally the definition of insanity.

Here’s the thing, all of the Cowboys’ championship runs under Jerry Jones can be traced to one very stubborn, hard-headed, undisputed men’s leader: Jimmy Johnson. He was uncompromising in his coaching style and earned the respect of coaches and players. Moreover, he was not a yes-man. Therefore, these same attributes also lead to it being canned. Obviously, the type of head coach that Jerry has favored in recent years, this Wade Phillips-Norv Turner archetype, doesn’t succeed because they’re not leaders of men. Jason Garrett is no exception. Nearly two decades later, Jerry Jones is the face of his own franchise; something he’s always been looking for, but he no longer has any rings of his own. He did, however, have Papa John’s approval which allowed him to break-dance and rap in a public setting. And then there’s Rome…

One of my favorite sports personalities, Stephen A. Smith, often called Michael Jordan a “killer” because he wasn’t one to wait for his team to be down before stepping up a gear. MJ dominated his opponents from start to finish. If you needed 10 more points to seal the deal, he gave you 20. He didn’t just “put the last nail in the coffin.” He put 50 nails in the coffin, buried the coffin, poured concrete where he buried it, then built a multi-purpose business/office structure on it. The man has never played a seventh game in his NBA Finals appearances. He seizes every opportunity for victory. Now, how does that translate to the NFL?

Simple, I want the guy taking shots to be obsessed with winning. Tom Brady is. Aaron Rodgers is. Peyton Manning is. I’m not saying I want to see us rack up scores, but what I will say, in no uncertain terms, is that I want the leader of our offense to take every shot like he’s designing the winning play . I want my quarterback to inspire, elevate and command the offense. As of this writing, there are at least four rookie quarterbacks doing better than Romo.

I’m not a Romo hater, so I apologize to any diehards I may have offended. However, to those same people, I would ask that you consider, hypothetically, how different our season might have been had we had one of those guys. Let’s do this: Replace Tom Brady with Tony Romo, keep the rest of the offense as is, and keep the defense as is. Do you think our season would have been different? Imagine what he would do with our offensive unit at his command. The last time he had someone as physically gifted as Dez Bryant, he set a single-season touchdown record. Granted, Dez isn’t Randy Moss, but I’d still take him and Miles Austin on three of the Patriots’ receivers. And if we’re being really honest, I’d take DeMarco Murray over every running back on their roster. Sure, they have upper tight ends, but ours aren’t exactly scrubs. I say it like this; having a confident quarterback is important. Look at what RG3 did for the Redskins or the impact Peyton Manning had on the Colts the year he was gone. Minus those two guys, the Cowboys are at least as talented as those teams.

Many of my fellow Cowboy devotees like to think that our record should have been better than it was due to the number of close matches we let slip. The thing is, it probably should have been worse. How many games have we won in the last minutes of regulation because we decided to wait until the fourth quarter to start playing? How many have we lost due to mismanagement of the clock or mental errors in stride? All of our wins were 10 points or less. All of our losses, except for the pounding we took in Seattle, were 10 points or less. That should tell you right away that we have serious discipline issues. Do you remember that point “leader of men”? I’m going to go even further and put at least half of these problems on the attacking side of the ball. I won’t even go into all the reasons why Rob Ryan shouldn’t have been fired. Simply put, we didn’t play the big game this year because we didn’t deserve it. We weren’t good enough and until we make some long overdue changes, I don’t see things improving anytime soon.

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