Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones denies a lot of things, regardless of their rhetorical or factual truth. No one knows whether he truly believes his team can win a Super Bowl every year or if it’s just part of his billion-dollar marketing scheme. If he doesn’t believe it, he hides it well with gimmicks like passing out tickets to the NFC Championship game to his players on the field before their divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants five years ago.
What Jones doesn’t understand is the pain, agony and embarrassment Cowboys fans have gone through over the better part of the lsat two decades. Even though his team isn’t winning, he still gets to play with his $1.85 billion toy every day despite the hatred steaming from the Dallas faithful.
Indeed, the 2012 NFL season will the 18th since the Cowboys last played in a Super Bowl. That’s a very long time for a franchise known as “America’s Team” and one that insists it’s an annual title contender when that’s just not true.
“There’s a lot of me that can’t realize that it’s been that long,” Jerry said. “Now, I know how to count and I know how to look at our teams, so I’m aware that it’s been that long since we competed in the Super Bowl. On the other hand, one of the greatest things about sports and with where we are, we should always have the ability to compete. We should always financially have the ability to compete.”
Translation: “I know we haven’t played in (much less won) a Super Bowl in almost 20 years. However, I still get to be the boss of the Cowboys and I’m still filthy rich, so it’s not that bad for me.”
Really, Jerry? The Cowboys should always “financially have the ability to compete”? That’s a new one. The Philadelphia Eagles have already proven titles can’t be bought, so there goes that idea.
Jones says he “can’t realize that it’s been that long,” but Cowboys fans sure can. As another Cowboys columnist recently pointed out, Jones is living in the shadow of Jimmy Johnson, who built Dallas’ dynasty of the early-to-mid-1990s. Regardless of what Jones denies and Barry Switzer avoids, Johnson built those Super Bowl teams and three of the Lombardi Trophies owned by the franchise wouldn’t exist had it not been for the legendary coach.
So while Jones continues to “look at his teams,” Cowboys fans continue to grow more and more disheartened with every disappointing season that passes. It would be one thing if Dallas was actually in contention every year and just never got the job done. But to dangle those dusty rings in front of the fans and then crush their hearts with 6-10 and 8-8 seasons is beyond cruel.
It takes a toll on the players, too. To be built up as kings of the football world and then completely defeated over and over by their opponents messes with their psyches. A member of that 2007 Giants team that saw what Jones did with the tickets said now he understands how the Cowboys drastically under-achieve so often. They grow disheartened and bitter from Jones’ toying just like the fans have, and that results in seasons like 2012, in which the Cowboys gave up a franchise historical worst four 12-point, fourth-quarter leads.
So when Jones skips around the field at Cowboys Stadium passing out tickets to the NFC title game, it pricks the hearts of the Dallas faithful, who only long for this team to be respectable. It may be just a game, but sports are as big a part of many people’s lives as family, religion or any other close-to-heart matter.
“We’ve got to do it other ways,” Jones said. “So it’s a big part of me getting up every day and what I do every day to win a Super Bowl. I’m on a big-time incentive plan and I do take it personally.”
So does everyone else, and no matter how many times Jones gives some load of colorful horse radish explaining how he understands, he simply doesn’t.