When I published my list of the NFL’s four most dysfunctional teams, there was some outcry from our readers that I overlooked the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t consider them to be in the same league as the Jets, Dolphins, or Rams because the Cowboys are consistently in the playoff mix. That being the case, they should have been an “honorable mention” in the article, so this is their time.
In Dallas, there appears to be one steadfast rule. Everything starts and ends with the Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones. That’s not always a recipe for disaster. That was the case with Al Davis in Oakland and has been the case in Dallas since Jones took over in 1989. Both of them won Super Bowls as owners, and they both had extremely successful periods of time.
Like Davis, Jerry Jones’ successful years were left behind, and he hasn’t been willing to relinquish his role as the team’s general manager. The problem seems to be that Jones is far too confident in his ability as a personnel man, and he micromanages nearly every aspect of the team. That just doesn’t work as a long term solution in the NFL. The team needs specialists that are better equipped to handle the responsibilities that Jones currently hangs on to.
The only solution for Dallas fans seems to be for Jones to sell the team, something that isn’t going to happen. Yes, Jerry Jones could hire a true GM, but the chances of that ending well for the team, the GM, or Jones are slim to none. The way I see it, Jones would continue to try to manage his team, and he’d second guess any moves his general manager would make, ultimately ending in an undeserved firing of the team’s GM. After all that is said and done, Jones would reassume control of the team’s personnel department because the team wasn’t heading in a direction Jones was comfortable with.
To say that the Cowboys are a dysfunctional team seems to be a terrible understatement. The team’s chain of command is broken. Jason Garrett is nothing more than a temporary coach. When the Cowboys miss the playoffs again in 2012, and they will, Jerry Jones will be forced to fire Garrett because he simply can’t accept the fact that it’s his poor personnel decisions that ultimately doom the teams he puts on the field.
Should the Cowboys have been on my list of dysfunctional teams? Hell yes. The silver lining is that Jones actually has a very solid knowledge of what NFL talent looks like. With him as the owner, the Cowboys will continue to flail around a .500 record, but look at the other side of the coin. What if Matt Millen owned the Cowboys and took the same approach that Jones takes? All I’m saying is that it could be a lot worse.