Though this topic has relatively died down since the Broncos’ epic demise in last Sunday’s Super Bowl, fans do ask from time to time why Troy Aikman doesn’t leave the broadcast booth and join the front office at Valley Ranch in some capacity.
The benefits are apparent and immediate. Dallas would have someone legitimate, in the eyes of the media, in their front office and ostensibly Aikman’s winning ways would instill a culture of accountability in a place that must not have one due to their lack of playoff wins over a twenty-year span. People would point out John Elway’s success with Denver as their executive vice president of football operations as a reason to bring Aikman into the Cowboys front office. Not only that, but there is a local sports example of legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan building the Texas Rangers into a contender, even though Ryan only played five seasons there, one of the shortest stints of his career.
Here is where reality sets in: Troy Aikman is not a “football guy.”
Yes, I just said a Super Bowl MVP isn’t a football guy. Get over it, or read more.
Let me tell you about heroes like Dan Marino and Bart Starr. They went back to their former teams in a front office or coaching capacity and failed, even though they were undoubtedly winners. There are some things guys like Bill Polian, Scott Pioli and Will McClay can do that these ex-legends can’t. Men like that know how to scout and organize talent. It is what they have been doing in their entire football careers. Running a front office is the teleological goal of their careers. Legends like Troy Aikman are meant to be on TV, either behind a desk or behind the camera.
Of course, if I were Aikman, I’d take the front office job with the Cowboys anyway. I would be playing with house money. Every good move would be credited to me, whether I was responsible for it or not, and every poor decision would be placed upon Jerry Jones. The media knows no limits when it comes to blaming Jones. Therefore, any mistakes I made as a member of the Cowboys’ front office, even if I had the role of general manager, would somehow be written up in the media as being Jones’ fault. You know, Nixon did it. The majority of the fans wouldn’t bother to verify those claims, and thus my reputation as a winner would be in tact despite any front office failures that happened on my watch.
Oh, and as an interesting side note: the Seattle Seahawks, who demolished Elway’s Broncos in the Super Bowl, are one of six teams that has an “executive vice president of football operations.” It’s not Jim Zorn or Dave Krieg; it’s Pete Carroll, their head coach.
Maybe the Cowboys should do it Seahawks style and give their head coach more authority, not bring in an ex-legend.