I’m sick of watching what was once one of the greatest teams in NFL history display a shocking level of ineptitude and poor character. Great teams make the clutch plays when they have to. But when clutch time arrives for the Cowboys, I expect them to fail. And they usually do, in spectacular fashion. Untimely penalties, especially the numerous holding and pass interference calls, turnovers and weak line play on offense and defense have killed yet another season after a 3-0 start. And the special teams by the way, ain’t all that special either.
Owner Jerry Jones has stated (after the Buffalo game) that he won’t fire Jason Garrett. Maybe this is simply to avoid additional chaos until the end of the season. Maybe he’ll dump Garrett and find a real coach after the current debacle is over. Maybe maybe maybe… What if… If only… And more excuses.
Even Mickey Spagnola, the unquenchable optimist and long-time Cowboys editorial writer has become ever-more critical of the team. He’s gone from Cowboys apologist to scathing critic. And it’s about time.
But Garrett isn’t the real problem. Garrett is merely a symptom. Jones himself is the problem. With a competent owner, people like Garrett, Chan Gailey and Barry Switzer would never have been Cowboys coaches to begin with. Yes, Switzer won a Super Bowl. But he did it with a team Jimmy Johnson built. And Jimmy was looking to leave the team shortly after getting there. Had Jerry Jones stayed out of the way and let Jimmy do his job, chances are the Cowboys would still be a great team.
But they’re not great. They’re not even “good.” They’re pathetic. And many Cowboys fans are miserable as a result. I see teams like Buffalo improving. I see teams like New England maintaining a standard of excellence. I see Green Bay and New Orleans continuing to play good football and remain competitive. And I wonder, why not us? Even when we have a good regular season record and make the playoffs, we fall apart shortly thereafter. The Cowboys will never win another Super Bowl while Garrett is on the sideline, and frankly I don’t believe we’ll win one while Jones remains the owner. Both men want to win, but they don’t know how.
Jones’s Godzilla-sized ego will not allow him to let a competent coach run the team. He has described himself as a “hands-on owner.” But he’s beyond that. He’s constantly getting in the way, making bad decisions, and will not tolerate anyone who challenges his poor decisions. He did eventually admit that he made a mistake with Jimmy Johnson, but he apparently did not learn from that mistake. He drove away the only coach in the team’s history who was better than Tom Landry in his heyday. Jason Garrett is Jones’s “yes man.” And that’s all he’s ever been. When I think of someone like Patriots coach Bill Belichick and then see Garrett on our sideline, I just get sick.
Thing is, there are talented players on the team. Dak Prescott isn’t Romo or Aikman but he is a very good QB. And Zeke is a quality running back. For the first time in years we have a talented defensive secondary. The offensive line is fairly solid. But these guys (excluding Jason Witten and a couple more) are also a bunch of spoiled young “sudden millionaires” who require the sort of discipline and supervision that Garrett and Jones are incapable of providing. And say what you will about Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator – but too often the Cowboys come up empty in the red zone after flying down the field. That’s bad play-calling combined with poor execution.
I’ve reached a point where I am embarrassed to admit being a Cowboys fan. Jerry Jones has reduced this storied franchise to a laughing stock. He is unworthy of his fan base, but there’s little any of us can do about it. At the end of this season, perhaps Jones will hire a veteran coach and also make him General Manager. And then perhaps we’ll see a disciplined, well-coached Cowboys team return to the form we saw during the times of Johnson and Landry. Maybe we can be proud of the Cowboys again. And perhaps pigs will fly, politicians will become honest and I’ll win the lottery. Hey I can dream, right?