When the 2013 NFL season kicks off, the Dallas Cowboys will have gone 18 seasons without an NFL title. For some NFL fans, that’s not a long time, right Philadelphia Eagles fans? For fans of the Cowboys, it’s longer than they prefer.
It’s not just the Super Bowl that has eluded the Cowboys though; it’s also any kind of sustained success that has fans the most upset. If asked, all Dallas Cowboys fans can tell you what has gone wrong in the past six or seven years, but what they won’t be able to agree on is who is to blame? The popular choices are Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones and Tony Romo, or the new triplets, the ‘Triplets of Blame.’
So who is really to blame on this merry-go-round because quite frankly, it’s getting annoying?
We can always blame Tony Romo because it’s easy to watch the games and see what he’s done wrong. There’s the Seattle Seahawks dropped snap, the three win or go home losses on the last game of the season and some of the other poor plays he’s made with when the game is on the line during his career.
Looking at Romo this way doesn’t take into account how well he’s played over his career and how the Cowboys lack of building around Romo has hurt him more than anything. Aside from their 2007 season, when has Romo not been running for his life? The Cowboys have always had stars at the skill positions but rarely have they helped their quarterback the easiest way possible, by protecting Romo. Tony Romo has made his share of mistakes and no good stat will sway people’s opinions of him but put Troy Aikman behind the Dallas offensive lines of late and let me know how he fares.
Romo doesn’t deserve the amount of blame he gets and the Cowboys would be toiling in 5-11 seasons without him. With Tony Romo the Cowboys are fighting for division titles, even if they don’t win them.
Then there’s Jason Garrett, who’s easy to blame because he’s the head coach and they usually have a target on their back. Like Romo, Garrett hasn’t been perfect but he’s got a lot to handle as coach of America’s Team. Garrett leads his team AND deals with Jerry Jones’ meddling ways 365 days a year. It’s easy to look at Garrett and say he hasn’t gotten the job done in the past few years with the division on the line but let’s remember Romo was playing with a severely bruised hand against the New York Giants in 2011 and the team was decimated by injuries against the Washington Redskins last year. Both games were on the road and it’s very difficult to win on the road in the NFL.
So despite everything stacked against Garrett and the Cowboys the past few seasons, they are fighting for NFC East titles while rebuilding and remaking the Cowboys roster. Since Wade Phillips left the Cowboys, only 17 players remain on the roster that quit on him, so there was plenty of work to do on building back up a team that was full of lazy and overhyped players. Garrett has done that, while at the same time, changed the culture of the organization.
Those 8-8 seasons should look better than they do but I’m sure Garrett realizes there are no excuses when you coach the Cowboys and he’s made mistakes. The time management and play calling haven’t been perfect during his time but he’s growing into a better coach and leader with each passing day.
That leaves Jerry Jones. There are tons of reasons why he’s to blame but every Cowboys fan knows he does more harm than good. If Jones could just stay out of everyone’s way and give up the general manager job, things would be much easier, but Jones isn’t giving up that gig and he continues to damage his reputation and makes the Cowboys a punch line whenever he speaks. That is never going to change and he is the one constant in the futility of the Cowboys recently.
However, as much as we all want to blame Garrett, Jones or Romo, it just isn’t that simple. The NFL is a team game, and the “team” includes the coaches, players and everyone in the organization. These three people receive the majority of the blame in Dallas but the entire Cowboys organization has failed recently so blaming just these three borders on the ridiculous.
The bottom line is the Dallas Cowboys as an organization hasn’t been good enough in the past decade and if they don’t have success in 2013, it’s because they all failed, not just the ‘Triplets of Blame.’