It was none other, after a night that almost portrayed a Clint Eastwood western film, a game of anguish, dysfunction and warts that exist for a franchise as many garner universal assent when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys — for it brings fans to buy into the team’s overexposed royalty.
This is no laughing matter for the most villainous team in pro sports — and suddenly, an egomaniacal weasel may have just seen his troubles become worse and, yes, owner Jerry Jones is scratching his head, swallowing more and more Tylenol to find an antidote to shake off his headaches. On the first day of a new year at MetLife Stadium, as the raindrops had fallen from the skies in precisely a win-or-go-home season finale on the road against the New York Giants, he was surprised and disappointed when it was over.
“It’s extremely painful and it’s a damn shame,” Jones said. “We have a good team and I thought we would be going to the playoffs, but that didn’t happen.”
NO. It’s not a good team, apparently.
YES. It’s a terrible team with no discipline or consistency.
Why was Jones taken by surprise?
What we saw Sunday night was the flawed Cowboys execute ill-advised and awful plays, to launch into a new year of usual fiascoes that create problems in the Big D – a routine seen religiously for one of the storied franchises in NFL history. There were times when the Cowboys were more like a soap opera in sports with everlasting drama from NFL divas, including their failures on the national stage — such as when the Cowboys collapsed in a disappointing, agonizing 31-14 rout against the Giants, who won the NFC East title and sent the ‘Boys packing and flying back home devoid of a postseason berth.
It’s almost laughable in many ways that the Dallas Cowboys, depicted as one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the NFL, are enchanted by die-hard supporters mainly for championships won and legends they’ve possessed during a decade of jubilee. And thus there were indelible moments for once a viable competitor, known as America’s Team, it’s now unrecognized. The Cowboys are vilified by folks nationwide and can’t defy the laws of excellence. So as populace is overly fascinated with the Cowboys and has pampered them, when they have nationally drawn harsh criticism during a moot point, it’s now a franchise described as persistently the most overhyped pro football team in sports.
For the longest, at least every generation or so, fans applaud the sight of the famous blue star logo, creating unnecessary hype for a franchise that performs choke jobs, lacks a real sense of composure and mental toughness and then collapses at the worst possible time. It’s quite dubious to say if the fragile, comatose Cowboys will ever advance to the playoffs, with Jones demanding full control of his franchise, yet he ultimately wants to capture victories. As he reminded us, again this season, when his team was mocked for committing franchise suicide, Jones chose to devalue his own franchise concerned with feeding his ego. This is what the Cowboys have become, a disoriented team nearing an apocalypse, and Jones subsequently named himself the team’s GM and acted as the influential voice.
As you probably know already, he has no intention of surrendering his duties, reluctantly refusing to hire an executive to make the personnel decisions. A team of dysfunction had no reason to celebrate, well, maybe to bring in the New Year, but otherwise they had no party hats, no champagne chilled on ice, no reason to jive in happiness and no reason to dump Gatorade on sophomore head coach, Jason Garrett. He heard enough criticism by now from bashers, as they united and then lambasted Jones and his Cowboys on sports talk radio locally in Dallas or even on the Internet in online chats and even the comment section below every written article. It isn’t Garrett’s fault, with Jones hiring him as his coach, refusing to interview the Bill Cowhers, the Jeff Fishers or the Jon Grudens — although Garrett has the toughest assignment and fittingly is suited to work for a stubborn-minded Jones.
“I feel that Jason is our coach and we can build and do some good things from here,” Jones said. “We can take some of the things that we need to do better and address them.”
The struggles happened each week and, deprived of grandeur in recent memory, Jones’ Cowboys have become a much-scrutinized franchise in pro sports. He is a folksy businessman who treats his players like royalty leaders, and lavish and pamper them with his wallet, giving his employees millions for their commitment and work ethic. And this isn’t the way he had planned to invest by paying unpromising players. As it turns out, Jones has squandered much of his piggy bank, assembling a talented group of players who could have been conquerors of the NFC East, an unpredictable, attenuated division. But the Cowboys were the weakest, after all.
It is not a secret that the locker room is not only somber but also frail and uninspired by losing all the damn time, especially when it matters, when it counts for a potential playoff spot. There was always a sense, as the Cowboys quickly turned into a subpar team, that Jones dismantled his own franchise. He has been cocky ever since the team gained supremacy in the 90s, and became desperate by settling for anything. If only he had built a winning product around his celebrity-like quarterback Tony Romo. Of all the criticisms, Jones is not ever culpable for his team’s lapses, and instead Romo is usually under attack when Dallas stumbles.
It was only a week ago, after the Cowboys were humiliated and lost by 38 points to Philadelphia in a playoff-clinching situation, that Jones cringed and had a stern look on his face as if he was livid because of the poor performance by his stagnant unit. He stood stoically in the visitor’s locker room, although he wasn’t too happy with his team’s performance, as reporters swarmed to ask him what was on his mind.
The most recent loss easily seen, as mediocrity wiped out mystique and a priceless tradition a long time ago, came on a night that the Cowboys fizzled and now missed the playoffs three of the past four seasons. The Cowboys, hardly going all out to win a game for survival, following a late-season collapse and meltdowns, have only qualified for the postseason four times this century. It’s quite staggering that Dallas is 120-120 overall with one postseason victory since 1997.
It almost feels like a Ghost Town in the Lone Star State, a dead atmosphere dampened by the long-suffering and missed opportunities. There’s not much exhilaration in Texas, nor much to be satisfied about unless Jones suddenly ceases power and changes the way he runs business. It was more of a power strategy, a feeling in which he can dictate his franchise under each regime, no matter what his coaches’ motives are in what direction the team plans to take to reduce growing pains and spark a resurgence. Early in the second half after trailing 21-0 at halftime, after they walked off into the locker room with their heads down — not highly confident within themselves, they cut into the Giants’ lead and trailed by seven points in the fourth quarter.
This was not the thing of beauty, as the Cowboys almost rallied back from a large deficit and amazingly fought back against the Giants, but still couldn’t pull off the miracle on a night when it was badly needed. With a chance to tie, Dallas failed to make a defensive stop and, in a crucial, fight-for-survival moment, Orlando Scandrick was unsuccessful on a fourth-quarter play, letting Victor Cruz catch a 43-yard completion that basically set up a field goal to inhibit the Cowboys from any comebacks. Where as Romo struggled, he missed wide receiver Dez Bryant for what could have been a touchdown on the first series. It was no different in the second quarter when Romo lofted a pass but was three yards past the line of scrimmage, erasing a 22-yard completion to Bryant at the Giants 14.
This does not settle too well with Cowboys fans, but we’ve reached a point where people overly praise and roughly speak highly of this beleaguered franchise owned by a prideful businessman, a man who has seen Dallas misplace its identity because of his ego. So NOWWWWW, after we spent years and decades harping endlessly about America’s Disgrace as the Cowboys symbolizes this one nation, Jones truly misses the triumphant days. Every team needs to rebuild and at least try to reestablish themselves.
Back in the days, he built the deepest and most talented unit. What we saw was the most captivating experience in sports, and we watched football grow into America’s game that increasingly elevated the popularity. And this age, Deion Sanders has a reality show with his wife called “Deion & Pilar – Prime Time Love.”
It’s different now when Troy Aikman, an NFL legend and former Cowboys quarterback is just as good at calling games for Fox as he was at hurling passes. It never was the same when Emmitt Smith hung up the cleats and began appearing in “Just For Men” commercials with Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez.
There won’t ever be a repeat of greatness, unless Jones puts aside his bloated ego. But even if he puts aside his egotistical ways, it’s typical to believe that the Cowboys are far from being superior.
What he fails to realize is that he is gradually destroying his own franchise, and it may take years and decades to recover. It’s easy to assume that the Cowboys are girly Cowgirls with no championship aspirations in the future, a long ways from being a winner.