by Jordy McElroy
A maelstrom of emotions swept over the Dallas Cowboys’ organization after Thursday’s brutal 26-15 home loss to the Buffalo Bills. Screaming could be heard emanating from the locker room after the latest embarrassing defeat, followed by a teary-eyed Jerry Jones’ passionate speech on waiting for a turnaround.
If you put the interview on mute, you would have thought the Cowboys owner was Travis Coates preparing to put Old Yeller out to pasture. Turn up the volume and it’s back to the same circus that has kept the team out of championship contention for the last 24 years. A bunch of tears and a few melodramatic postgame speeches proved coach Jason Garrett has more than nine lives and the Cowboys are all bark with no bite.
At least Old Yeller won the big one.
The Cowboys are 0-5 against teams with winning records this season, and they have only won two playoff games in nine years.
It isn’t surprising to see Garrett faithfully serve his role as the perennial punching bag for everything that is wrong with the Cowboys, even when the root of the issues in Dallas is clearly on up the food chain.
Jones’ insistence on being more than an owner has set the team up for failure. He would rather have a passive coach that allows him to run the organization and the team. In a sense, Garrett is the perfect coach for Jones’ vision of what the Cowboys should be. It’s the same vision he’s had ever since he ran two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson out of town back in 1994.
But there is no world that exists where an owner can maintain the sort of influence over a team as Jones and still manage to win a Super Bowl. Is there any more proof needed than an underachieving Cowboys team loaded with one of the best rosters in the league?
Jones’ hand may not cramp from writing checks, but the Cowboys’ backside certainly does when asked to cash them on the football field.
It’s a reflection of ownership, not coaching. Jones is the one that promoted Garrett to head coach and signed off on all of the assistants. He ultimately has the final say in personnel decisions related to contractual situations and bringing in new talent as well.
This is his chessboard on the field getting embarrassed every week, and he’s upset because the moves he’s making aren’t working. Even if he fired Garrett, there would be another similar personality that would be brought in to take his place. Jones has made it clear that’s the sort of head coach he wants on his team.
The Cowboys aren’t bringing in someone like a Bill Belichick or Jon Gruden to deliver the culture shock the organization desperately needs. Not when the more convenient option is Garrett, who could earn another extension if the team is at least able to make the playoffs.
There might be hope for him yet to survive the Jones-pocalypse. He’s the second-longest tenured coach in franchise history behind the great Tom Landry.
Jones is a remarkably savvy businessman that would have relieved Garrett of his duties a long time ago if he didn’t want him coaching the Cowboys. Think of all of the years of mediocrity with Jones lashing out at the media with seething comments regarding the state of the team—just for the status quo to continue on year after year.
Garrett’s skin must be flame retardant after the many years he’s supposedly spent sitting on the hot seat. If change was truly coming, Jones would have handed Garrett his walking papers and doubled down on his piercing comments after the loss to the New England Patriots.
But these are the same old Cowboys hoping change can come without changing—the very definition of insanity for an organization still delusional enough to believe they’re still America’s team.