Cowboys: 10 Worst Decisions By Jerry Jones

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 – Firing Tom Landry

Some will point to the strong early moves made by Jones as owner of the Cowboys. Among those were the hiring of Jimmy Johnson and the now infamous Herschel Walker trade, a move that almost single-handedly transformed what was then the worst football team in the NFL, hands down.

However, there’s still others that have yet to forget – or forgive – Jones’ very first public move as owner of the Cowboys.

For 29 years, Tom Landry was the first and only head coach of the Cowboys. This coaching guru and legendary figure was there for the birth of the Cowboys. He was there through the early struggles, the painful disappointments and the eventual breakthroughs towards success.

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Landry was there for the ‘Hail Mary,’ the ‘Ice Bowl,’ and numerous other historical moments. Landry presided over world championships in Super Bowl VI and XII and would take the team to three additional Super Bowls throughout the 1970s.

In the 1980s, Landry was there for ‘The Catch’ in San Francisco and also running back Tony Dorsett‘s 99-yard touchdown run on ABC’s Monday Night Football the following season.

Twenty consecutive winning seasons and nine NFC East championships was the kind of run that no other head coach in the NFL can boast. This excludes three NFL Capitol division championships prior to the NFL-AFL merger. Landry led the Cowboys to 18 postseason appearances during his record run as coach of the Cowboys.

So, it goes without saying that Landry’s unceremonious firing without prior consultation from this new, gung-ho oil man from Arkansas was hardly taken lightly. This man’s entire professional career was literally wrinkled up and tossed into the nearest trash can to make room for Jones’ new vision.

I could talk about Landry for another hour and it’s true that the innovative mind enjoyed by Cowboys Nation for so long was fading even before Jones kicked down the doors at Valley Ranch. Dallas was a losing franchise and showed no signs whatsoever that things would change any time soon. You could argue that the NFL had passed Landry by, a hard pill to swallow given how incredibly talented this particular football coach really was.

In time, Jones and Landry warmed up just enough to execute a Ring of Honor ceremony at Texas Stadium in 1993.

This decision would certainly rank higher had the next few seasons not shown as much promise and improvement as they did. Further, it effected nothing at all with the football team itself, but was rather a public relations nightmare that a man of Jones’ age and life experience should have easily avoided, period.

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