When the play clock hit zero at Fed-Ex field this past Sunday night, the season for the Dallas Cowboys was mercifully over. The year started out on a positive note when the Cowboys defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Cowboys played extremely inconsistent football for the rest of the season despite winning 3 in a row and 5 of 6 at one stretch. More importantly, the Cowboys lost the final two games of the season to the Saints and the Redskins. Like last year, the Cowboys controlled their own destiny: a win over Washington would have given the Cowboys the NFL East title. It was a tough loss, and the Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs for the third straight year. Who is to blame for the continued failures at Valley Ranch?
Dec 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher (59) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the second half at FedEX Field. The Redskins won 28 – 18. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports
Many Dallas Cowboys fans and some of the media continue to blame QB Tony Romo. Tony Romo is not the problem in Dallas. The Cowboys are extremely fortunate to have Romo as their quarterback going into the 2012 NFL season. Even though Romo gives the Dallas Cowboys their best chance to win in 2013, the franchise needs to start looking for their quarterback of the future.
For you that blame Tony Romo for the 2012 failure, I respectfully disagree. Romo put the Dallas Cowboys in a position to contend for the division title, injuries and all. I agree that Tony had a terrible game against Washington, and I expected way more from him. I will also concede that Romo had a slow start, and he threw more interceptions than in past years. That said, I will not place the Cowboys 2012 failures on the shoulders of Tony Romo. Romo carried the Cowboys this season, and he played some of his best football in the second half of the season. The offensive line was terrible and must be addressed in the off season. It seemed like Romo had a blitzer in his face before he had time to secure the snap on many of the Cowboys passing attempts. If the Dallas Cowboys do not fix the offensive line, fans should expect another sub par season in 2013.
Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (50) intercepts a pass during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
In 2012, the Cowboys had nine players on IR, among them starters like Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Kenyon Coleman and Chris Jones. Those nine injured players rank the Cowboys tied for 21st in the league among the least injured teams – or 9th among the most injured teams. The Cowboys lack of depth proved to be their Achilles heel again in 2012. Some other teams had as many injuries, but they had the depth to move on; the New England Patriots had 8 players on IR, yet they won enough games to move on to the tournament.
A look at Dallas Cowboys history holds the answers for the the future of this team. Why was Tom Landry so successful for 29 years and able to keep the Dallas Cowboys in contention year in and year out? It was because they had an excellent scouting department. Gil Brandt served as the Cowboys’ chief talent scout since the club’s birth in 1960. He had served as a part-time scout for the Los Angeles Rams under General Manager Tex Schramm in the 1950s. When Schramm took command of the newly formed Dallas franchise in 1960, Brandt was one of the first people he hired. Schramm, Brandt and Coach Tom Landry formed the threesome that successfully guided the Dallas Cowboys for their first 29 years.
They did many great things in Dallas. In that era, many players were coming and going, but the one constant was that the coaching staff stayed intact, which is something that has not happened in Dallas since the days of Tom Landry. Since Tom Landry, Jerry Jones has gone through 7 head coaches. How in the world are the Cowboys going to achieve any level of consistency by cycling through head coaches every three years or so? The Dallas Cowboys are a prime example of the failure produced by the carousel of coaches which have paraded through Valley Ranch during the Jerry Jones era. This practice must stop or Dallas Cowboys fans can expect more of the same failures.
Jerry Jones is the owner and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys so he hires and fires everyone employed in the organization. He is responsible for each coach and each player that is on the Cowboys roster; yet he fails to recognize his own short comings over the past 17 years. If Jerry wants to be fair to Cowboys fans, he needs to recognize his own short comings as GM. Jerry Jones was asked whether he would fire a GM with the his history if he was the owner? Jerry replied that he probably would. Yet, Jerry Jones remains as the General Manger of the Dallas Cowboys – the Cowboys recorded another year of meritocracy under his direction and leadership.
This condemnation of Jerry Jones as the GM of the Dallas Cowboys does not mean that he is not a valuable piece of the Cowboy organization. The one thing Jerry Jones is, he is a very astute NFL owner and businessman. The Cowboys business side has flourished under Jerry Jones and company; he knows how successful he has been in that arena.
Jerry Jones needs to focus on being an owner and marketing the Dallas Cowboys. More importantly, he needs to recruit the very best General Manager that he can afford (there is no one that he can’t afford). It is very unlikely that Jerry Jones will give up his position as GM, so it is likely that the status quo will continue.
What do the Dallas Cowboys have to do to return this storied franchise back to where it belongs as an elite franchise and yearly contender? The Dallas Cowboys have appeared in 8 Super Bowls and won 5. The last appearance was in Super Bowl XXX in 1995. That has been a very long long time. The fans are tired of the fair to middling teams that have been put forth by the owner, Jerry Jones.
Jerry has promised BIG CHANGES in Dallas and said he will make it “UNCOMFORTABLE” in Valley Ranch for the off season. What is the change that Jerry is talking about? No one really knows. I guess we will find out at some point in the near future.
To put a picture on how bad they have been under Jerry Jones’ direction and leadership, the Dallas Cowboys have had only 5 double digit win seasons in 17 years.
Double Digit Win Seasons
1996 – 10-6 1st NFC East
1998 – 10-6 1st NFC East
2003 – 10-6 2nd NFC East
2007 – 13-3 1st NFC East
2009 – 11-5 1st in NFC East – Won only Playoff game in 17 years against Eagles (34-14)
Three 8-8 seasons
Three 5-11 seasons
2000, 2001, 2002
Three 6-10 seasons
1997, 2004, 2010
Three 9-7 seasons
2005, 2006, 2008
As they saying goes in poker, “Read’em and Weep”.
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys fans are tired of losing. The Palace in Dallas will look bare as a baby’s behind with no fans in it. No fans, no capital. The fans of the Dallas Cowboys deserve so much more more than what you have delivered in the past 17 years.