America's Team? Legend Has It
From 1966 until 1985, the Dallas Cowboys somehow became anointed as America's Team.
It could be due to the fact that they made the playoffs 18 times, won two Super Bowls, played in three others, and had one of the greatest coaches of all time in Tom Landry.
The Cowboys tailed off after that until the early 90's when Jimmy Johnson was hired by new owner and good friend Jerry Jones. Johnson led Dallas to two more championships, but he ultimately couldn't get along with his buddy Jones and left the team after his second Super Bowl victory.
Even though Barry Switzer came aboard and won another title two years later, Jones thought it was his team to run -- on and off the field -- and the decisions he made since then has dragged the Cowboys down to the vestiges of mediocrity.
Since getting to the playoffs in 1996 and defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the first round, Dallas has only returned to the playoffs six times and won only one game in that time.
The Cowboys do have talent, but every coach Jones has hired after Johnson -- except for Bill Parcells -- is somone he can control. Switzer was a great college coach who won a Super Bowl because the talent was still there from the Johnson days. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin were still in their prime, and if Johnson had stayed, the Cowboys may have won it all in 1994 instead of losing in the NFC championship game and beginning their fade after that.
Chan Gailey was hired after Switzer and Dallas made the playoffs both times in his two year stint, but they were easily defeated in each of the playoff games he coached. Dave Campo was next, and as the talent deteriorated, the won-loss record did, too. Three 5-11 seasons without Aikman as the on-field general led to Campo's firing, which paved the way for Parcells. Jones did leave the Big Tuna alone on the field but tweaked the roster when it fancied him. The classic move was when he signed Terrell Owens against Parcells' wishes.
Wade Phillips came in next and actually led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and a top seed in his first year before losing to the Giants in the playoffs, which was considered to be a stunning upset. Phillips did lead Dallas back to the playoffs in 2009 and actually won a playoff game against Philadelphia, but a week later the Cowboys were embarrassed by the Vikings 34-3.
This season, Jones hired Bill Callahan to run the offense and announced that Callahan was calling the plays this season. Garrett had no comment. Jones then hired 73-year-old Monte Kiffin to be his defensive coordinator. It's all caused for an air of tension around the ol' ranch.
Maybe Jones should just bag the puppetmaster tag and take over as coach. He could then hire his sons, Stephen and Jerry Jr as the coordinators and cut them out of the will if they don't do his total bidding.
Just as the legendary Tom Landry's time has come and gone -- and it took Jones to put an end to it -- now it's the micromanaging owner whose better days have passed. He is now ruining a great franchise. The obvious move would be for him to step back and let the football people run the football operations, but Jones thinks he is the ultimate in football people.
If the Cowboys' steady erosion under his watch continues, and given the rise in fortunes of the Houston Texans, the time may soon come when Jones's 'Boys aren't even his own state's team.