Many many moons ago when a Arkansas Oil man named Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys, he spoke the words of this title.
“There is no substitute for winning, we will win, winning is the name of the game.”
Those words still ring true every time I see Jerry’s face. Now I have had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Jones and he loves his fan base with every fiber of his being, but sometimes love can cause you to wear blinders, and those blinders can cost you much much more.
Without question Jerry Jones may be the greatest “owner” in the NFL or even professional sports for that matter, but the facts are that the Cowboys are facing their second longest playoff drought, and it’s been 18 years since they’ve hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. That’s a hard one to swallow.
Mr. Jones can sit in his fine office and stare and point at some really nice trophies, but two were won before his purchase and the other three were won a generation ago.
On the day of my 26th birthday, I can barely remember the elation of my home during that era. Though, Jerry is surely a pioneer for his savvy marketing style and keeping his team talked about over this drought, one thing cannot be be overlooked; this team isn’t relevant.
If your not winning championships or even making the dance, how can you expect to be successful.
Channel 8 in Dallas has a jaded old buffoon named Dale Hansen on their nightly news program. Hansen used to work for the Cowboys in the 90’s before he was let go after some dispute. In most cases Dale Hansen isn’t worth a mention, however yesterday while listening to the local sports radio, his words were as true as the sky is blue.
He sat down with Jerry Jones and discussed Jerry’s tenure with the Cowboys, whether good or bad they touched on almost everything.
Then Hansen chose his words and it wasn’t pretty. He asked Jerry:
“Jerry, do you honestly think that another NFL team would hire you to be their General Manager, if you didn’t bring your pocketbook to the interview?”
Jerry was caught off guard and seemingly very angry with the question. Jerry didn’t answer it firmly and even snubbed Hansen after the interview, but that folks is the reality of the Cowboys’ situation.
Mr. Jones would not get another gig in the NFL, it’s as simple as that, but because he owns “America’s Most Profitable” team, he is the be-all, end-all of the organization. Though he has talked a lot about his regrets this week, he has stood firmly that things will remain “status-quo”, and I’m sure you’ve all read my Column on that.
I don’t dislike Jerry Jones, in fact I actually look up to him in many ways. It doesn’t really matter, because who am I? I just believe that this team will continue it’s voyage through the abyss of mediocrity unless a significant change is made. The only time Jerry has relinquished any power is when he needed to make money. He gave Jimmy Johnson the power in 1989, because he had poured his entire life’s savings into this purchase. He did it again in 2003 by hiring Bill Parcells to help raise the funds for Jerry-World.
The biggest issue that he can’t let go of is that many people credit Jimmy Johnson with those Lombardi’s’ instead of Jerry. That has been his fuel because he doesn’t want to win any other way than his own; with all the credit bestowed upon him. And there is the rub. I believe to be the best you have to accept that you may not be the smartest man in the room and Jerry isn’t ready to do that and perhaps never will.
There should be no substitute for winning, but there is; money.