One of the lessons learned from more than three decades of marriage is that it doesn’t always matter if you’re right, especially if it’s not on tape.
Because right doesn’t always rule. Or so the lovely wife says, sweetly.
Troy Aikman no doubt was aware of this axiom even before he set fire to Jerry Jones’ britches this week.
Among other things during his weekly radio visit with The Ticket in the wake of the Cowboys’ cataclysmic 28-14 loss to the Titans, Aikman:
1.) Called for “a complete overhaul of the entire organization.”
2.) Says Jerry promises to change but never does.
3.) Termed the trade for Amari Cooper an admission that, “We’re screwed up.”
4.) Couldn’t recall a worse Cowboys loss at another similar point.
Frankly, other than the Joneses and a handful of acolytes, who would argue with any of the above?
Over the years, readers have occasionally made the same points, and not as kindly. Comes up any time the Cowboys lose. Frustrated fans want to know why your intrepid reporter doesn’t call out Jerry for the poser he is. Afraid he’ll pull your press pass? Tell him to get out of the football business, they say. Let a real football man take over as general manager.
The response from yours truly is always the same: I believe I’m on record as to Jerry’s football acumen. You could look it up.
Besides, after nearly 30 years, it’s pretty much a given, isn’t it? Does anyone out there believe Jerry is Ron Wolf?
Teen Wolf, more likely.
What makes it so difficult for long-time Cowboys fans is that they remember how Clint Murchison did business. Practically a ghost. When fans and media wanted Tom Landry’s head in the mid-’60s, Murchison appeared from the shadows, gave his head coach a 10-year deal, then went back to his Mai Tai.
You should have grown up with Bud Adams as your owner. You think Jerry is bad? The Oilers’ first seven years, they had six head coaches. A couple of them had coached league champions. And when Bud finally stuck with a coach, it was Jeff Fisher, of all people.
Also, as far as I know, Jerry has never beat up a sportswriter like Bud did, earning him points in the pressbox.
Anyway, there’s no need to point out Jerry’s foibles. It’s been impossible to avert your eyes. He’s been under constant scrutiny since the “jocks and socks” declaration. Aikman knows the history as well as anyone. He’s seen the sausage works from inside out, and it’s obviously scarred him.
From early on, it’s been clear that Aikman was on Jimmy Johnson’s side, not Jerry’s. He’s on record that if Jimmy had remained, the Cowboys might have won at least two more Super Bowls. Sounds about right, too.
One of the reasons Aikman was a Hall of Fame quarterback, and is such an excellent football analyst, is his sober, diligent, clear-eyed approach to the game. He’d make an excellent general manager. Maybe you think so, too.
But if you think he could one day become GM of the Cowboys, forget it. And not just because he turned Jerry on a spit.
As has been noted here ad nauseam, Jerry owns the Cowboys so he can run them. He doesn’t want to coach, as so many old-timers think. He wants credit, something Jimmy would never allow.
Where my opinion diverges from Aikman’s is his assertion that Jerry never changes. I don’t think there’s much question that Jerry has mellowed. The ’90s Jerry never would have let Stephen talk him out of drafting Johnny Manziel. He’s also learned to let go of players too expensive to keep. Think of DeMarcus Ware and Dez Bryant.
From my view, the biggest indictment of Jerry over the years wasn’t letting Jimmy go, because Jimmy was going to go sooner or later. He was no NFL lifer. What killed the Cowboys were all those bad drafts after Jimmy left.
Since Will McClay’s been in charge, though, the Cowboys have accumulated talent on both sides of the ball. Even if they’re still short a few places, maybe even at quarterback, they’re good enough to win.
The obvious talent has exposed Jason Garrett’s shortcomings. His offense and in-game management are at fault.
Could Garrett use a better boss? No question about it. But does he have enough material to win? Yeah, I think so.
Outside of Boston, there are no ideal organizations. Before Sean McVay took over the Rams last year, the Rams had put up two winning seasons this century. And Jeff Fisher was the last coach.
The Cowboys’ general manager just needs to find the next Sean McVay. Or a reasonable facsimile. As for the Cowboys’ owner finding a new GM, forget about it. Not gonna happen. If it makes you feel better to complain, be my guest. Even the lovely wife lets me bark every once in a while, as long as I remember who’s the lead dog.
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