On Jerry Jones

This past Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys had more of a chance than most people gave them to win in New England. Up 16-13 with 3:36 left to play, the Cowboys took the field and ran the following series:

  1. 1-10-DAL 28(3:36) (Shotgun) 29-D.Murray up the middle to DAL 26 for -2 yards.
  2. 2-12-DAL 26(2:52) 29-D.Murray right tackle to DAL 25 for -1 yards.
  3. Timeout #1 by NE at 02:47.
  4. 3-13-DAL 25(2:47) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-77-T.Smith, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 25 – No Play.
  5. 3-18-DAL 20(2:47) (Shotgun) 23-T.Choice right tackle to DAL 28 for 8 yards.
  6. Timeout #2 by NE at 02:42.
  7. 4-10-DAL 28(2:42) 1-M.McBriar punts 64 yards to NE 8, Center-91-L.Ladouceur. 83-W.Welker pushed ob at NE 20 for 12 yards.

After getting the ball back, Tom Brady led the Patriots on a methodical nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to give his team a 20-16 victory. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was irate, during and after the game, that head coach Jason Garrett called running plays on first and second down instead of playing aggressively and trying to end the game on offense. Yahoo’s Mike Silver writes:

“When you get in a situation like that, you’ve got to go for the kill,” Jones told Y! Sports shortly before leaving the Cowboys’ locker room. “I felt like we could’ve been more aggressive. Our defense had been good all day, but you knew Brady had a length-of-the-field drive in him – so it didn’t surprise me at all when he took them down at the end.”

Despite the fact that Tony Romo tried his absolute best, ultimately succeeding in relinquishing fourth quarter leads Week 1 against the Jets and Week 4 versus the Lions, Jones felt that putting the ball in the quarterback’s hands gave the Cowboys their best chance to seal the victory in New England. I happen to agree with him but there is absolutely no way that I should know that to be his opinion (though I probably could have guessed). Jones had every right to excoriate Garrett, who is in his first full year as head coach, privately, but should have never taken his comments public to a national reporter. There is absolutely no good that can come out of an owner in any sport’s publicly displaying a lack of confidence in his coach’s decision–with a couple more instances like this, Garrett could be perceived as a lame duck in the Cowboys locker room and have his authority undermined.

To his credit, Jones did (sort of) apologize yesterday for the public criticism, albeit not recanting his opinion. Via ESPNDallas’s Tim McMahon:

“I would say that probably if I had that to do over again, I wouldn’t comment, period,” Jones said Tuesday on KRLD-FM, admitting that emotion got the best of him. “I wouldn’t even answer a question about it. I was asked the questions and you can always say, ‘No comment.’

“But I did [comment], and I was real clear that this was a flip of the coin. That’s what Jason frankly is paid to do, is make those decisions, and there’s no one that I’d rather have make the decisions regarding our football team right now on an offensive play call.”

Jones, who serves as the Cowboys’ general manager, has made his franchise a highly undesirable place for elite head coaches to work. In addition to his public criticism and private demands, he has failed in assembling viable rosters for his coaches. The Cowboys’ regular season records 2+ years after Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells’s acrimonious departures (to account for the roster turnover after Jones pushed the professional talent evaluators away) are as follows:

  • 1996: 10-6
  • 1997: 6-10
  • 1998: 10-6
  • 1999: 8-8
  • 2000: 5-11
  • 2001: 5-11
  • 2002: 5-11
  • 2009: 11-5
  • 2010: 6-10
  • 2011: 2-3
  • Total: 68-81

Even accounting for the Parcells years (in which they admittedly had no postseason success), the Cowboys only have one playoff win since the 1996-97 season. These numbers aren’t Bengals-level bad, but the Cowboys have been far from an elite franchise since winning three our of four Super Bowls in the 90s with core rosters built by Jimmy Johnson. Jones is the common thread in this consistent disappointment. His perceptions of his football acumen are not aligned with the Cowboys’ performance over the past 15 years, a wholly reasonable sample size on which to evaluate. It is safe to say that if another general manager was achieving these results, he would have been fired four or five times by now.

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2 Responses to On Jerry Jones

  1. lhbay1 bayer says:

    jerry jones wants to win, but he’s too busy being in the wrong place. he has the dollars which makes him “king”, but he has no clue as to how to win games or manage people.

    he says he had a “feeling” that Brady had a long drive in him. Brilliant after the fact feeling! It was apparent that Dallas’ defense had played well. if Romo goes aggressive, and is intercepted, jones would have said that defense wins games and championships, and the pass was dumb and dumber.

    at the end of games w lead, it’s more about managing games than being aggressive, risk v reward. dallas did not need points, it needed its defense to step up, and bring home a victory.

    lb@

  2. Bryan says:

    Yup, Jerry Jones is a bad football mind. I’ve said it for years. I haven’t viewed him anywhere close to positively since he booted Emmitt out the door. Then he signed T.O., which essentially led to Bill Parcells leaving. Good grief, give my team a real GM! I’ll even take Billy Beane.

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