The Failures of DFW Sports: Dallas Cowboys

9 11 2012

Co-writer: Trevor Rathbun

Dictionary.com defines disappointment as such: the act or fact of failing to fulfill the expectations or wishes of. In the world of sports, disappointment constantly occurs whether it is expected or a sudden shock. Since there can only be one champion in a given league, it is often unfair to place unreasonable or unreachable expectations on an organization. That is setting a team up for disappointment.

But what about the team designated as America’s? What about a team that seems to have all the financial and roster pieces in place to take their esteemed franchise back to the promise land?

From Quincy Carter to Vinny Testaverde to yes, Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys have embodied what it means to disappoint.

The last time the Dallas Cowboys won an NFL Championship was 1995. Yet they are listed in Forbes magazine as the first National Football Team to be worth one billion dollars. How have they remained economically relevant and profitable without winning a championship these past seventeen years?

Jerry Jones.

Now, before you start giving praise to good ol’ Jerry for keeping his team so marketable, you need to understand that the Cowboys haven’t been relevant in any competitive way in the NFL since Jerry Jones took over as general manager.

The last championship was won under coach Barry Switzer, after Jerry Jones practically forced Jimmy Johnson out of Dallas due to Johnson not obliging by Jones strict and overpowering ego. Switzer was given a roster full of superstars that was constructed before he came around, and under Jerry Jones’s eye, he won the championship in 1995.

However, the once all-mighty “America’s Team” Dallas Cowboys have an overall season record of 87-84 since 1999. That’s mediocrity in a nutshell.

In the playoffs since this time, they have gone 1-4 with their only win coming in the wild-card round in 2009 when the Cowboys hosted the Philadelphia Eagles and won 34-3. After that win, the Cowboys were smashed by the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre 34-3. They looked nothing like a team that should have been one step away from an NFC Championship game.

As these numbers suggest, the team has been at most average while constantly giving fans reason (a false one) to believe they will finally break out.

Perhaps there is a valid explanation for the mediocre play from America’s Team. Since 1999, the teams have been through four coaches: Dave Campo, Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips, and Jason Garrett. Along with these four coaches, there has been a revolving door for quarterbacks in Dallas. The list is long and would make any general manager cringe as it includes Vinny Testaverde, Ryan Leaf, Drew Bledsoe, Quincy Carter, and a surprisingly efficient undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois by the name of Tony Romo.

After searching through old washed up quarterbacks as well as newcomers that didn’t quite work out, it appeared that Jerry Jones finally had his new star quarterback in Romo. However, as the football world knows, and apparently the economic world refuses to acknowledge, the Cowboys have been less than stellar.

Romo has found a way to consistently be an elite quarterback for 90 percent of a football game and absolutely horrid for the other 10 percent. Due to his positive play, though, the Dr. Jekyll in Romo has kept him as the starter. For now.

From Tony Romo’s botched field goal hold to the series of controversial pickups by Jerry Jones that includes Adam “Pacman” Jones and Terrell Owens, no kind of high caliber winning has been consistent with Jerry’s Cowboys. Every preseason, the ESPN analysts always seem to throw the Cowboys into the Super Bowl conversation, as it is finally “their year.” It has to be tiring to fan bases all around the nation to constantly hear about the Cowboys possibly being a Super Bowl contender.

As two Dallas natives, we hate hearing that every year the Cowboys possibly have a chance. So much false hope for so many years takes a toll on fans of a hometown team.

This year has been no different.

The Cowboys were hyped up in the preseason with their new and improved defense with the acquisition of premier cornerback Brandon Carr and first round draft pick Morris Claiborne. The year started off well with a surprise win over the defending champions in New York.

But just as this team has shown, you can’t let one quality win or one good performance change the perspective of this team as a whole. Since then, the offense has had tons of miscues and the running game has been pretty much nonexistent… as has been the case since a man by the name of Emmitt Smith left. Only one running back (Felix Jones in 2006) has rushed for more than 1000 yards since Smith went to the Cardinals.

In Chicago, the Cowboys were run over by the Bears defense, which caused Romo to be under pressure all night and throw five interceptions. Count ‘em – five.

The discrepancy between these two games sums up the Cowboys under the helm of Tony Romo: consistently inconsistent.

Whether you want to blame it on the quarterback, the coach(es) or the man by the name of Jerry Jones, this team can’t seem to fit into their big shoes. It seems as though they should be able to become an elite team in the NFL, but they can’t seem to break out of their disappointing nature. Excuses may be present to make up for lost seasons, but how long until these excuses become the reasons? Unless the bar is lowered, the Cowboys are setting their fans up for another season filled with let downs.

Until Jerry Jones steps down as general manager and lets a true general manager fill that role, which won’t be happening anytime soon, “America’s Team” will be mediocre at best.

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Spend As Much As You Want, Jerry

27 02 2012

The Cowboys have an owner who does things his own way. No discussion.

For once, this man might be adjusting his methods.

The third-highest grossing sports franchise in the world would seemingly spend a lot of money in free agency – right? Just look at the New York Yankees (the second-highest) and their ability to take away great players from the rising teams.

The Dallas Cowboys, however, do not spend extravagantly. In fact, they haven’t spent very much at all in the past few years. DE Kenyon Coleman and S Abram Elam are the only unrestricted free agents the ‘Boys have signed in the past two years. Neither of these men had high expectations coming in nor ended up having that significant of an impact for the dreadful Dallas defense. (I guess Rob Ryan isn’t the answer, either.)

In 2009, they signed three players – three more than how many they signed in 2008.

This team actually sits $12.6 million under the cap and has room to increase this number by releasing players.

With the emergence of the Giants as an elite team and the endless potential with a dangerous Eagles team, the Cowboys need to upgrade in order to compete in the NFC East.

Won’t this offseason be just like the past four years for Dallas? Jerry Jones makes me believe otherwise.

“The way I read it all right now is that we’re going to be active in free agency,” Jones said.

I couldn’t be more happy to hear a statement like this from the Cowboy’s banker.

The Cowboys have been in interminable mediocrity since Troy Aikman decided to retire. Because of this ability to remain somewhat decent right around .500, no high draft picks have come their way. Tyron Smith coming to the club as the ninth pick was a solid contribution after their 6-10 2010 season during a coaching change.

The Cowboys hold the 14th pick in this year’s draft, and I think G David DeCastro out of Stanford will be drafted due to the Cowboys desperate need to get some guys up front that can protect Tony Romo.

Even though DeCastro or whoever the Cowboys pick could possibly have a huge impact on the team next season, their pick won’t bring in the type of energy and excitement a free agent signing can produce. Just look at how much hype is revolving around their fellow DFW sports team, the Texas Rangers, because of their Yu Darvish signing.

If Jones truly means what he says and plans to spend some cash this offseason, the Cowboys are in a good place. They need change. They need some new faces. This team has had the same players going through the same motions for too long. Bringing in a established NFL player to the team needs to happen and Jones knows it.

Three names come to mind: LB Mario Williams, DE Calais Campbell and CB Cortland Finnegan. I don’t care how much money Jones has to spend because the ability to bring in a playmaker on the defensive side of the field needs to happen. Soon. Signing any of these players would provide a huge boost for a lackadaisical defense to say the least.

Even though NFL free agency won’t be happening for a while, Jerry Jones hopefully is planning how he will attack the market. This is the time for Jerry to make a big-time splash. This is the time for him to show why he has been an owner for so long. Without a free agent signing, this team has the potential to have yet another middle-of-the-pack season and fall farther away from a championship with Romo at the helm.

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