How Did The Dallas Cowboys End Up In Such a Dismal State?

By ryanneiman
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For being proclaimed as “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys sure are not playing like it.  And I am not only speaking of the 2013 season.

Since 1997, the Cowboys have complied 130-131 record including 1-6 in playoff appearances during that span.  The Cowboys have managed to create buzz surrounding their team nearly every season but have yet to live up their fan base expectations by not reaching the Super Bowl since 1995.  For a team which has the most appearances in a Super Bowl including winning five and being the first and only NFL team to post 20 consecutive winning seasons, this is a franchise which is losing its identity as one the elite teams the league.  But where did it all go so wrong so quickly?  When did mediocrity become an added word in Cowboys history?

In the 1990s, the Cowboys were a team to be reckoned with.  Led by Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, and Larry Allen, the Cowboys captured five straight NFC East Division titles and won three Super Bowls going 11-2 in the postseason.  From 1990-1997, this tandem was 77-35 to instill the tagline “America’s Team” as their motto ever since.  Nevertheless, it is been a slow and painful decline as the Cowboys of 2013 are far removed from the image they once held.

25 years ago, a businessman named Jerry Jones, who had unsuccessful endeavors until he found his luck in oil, purchased the Cowboys for $140 million from H.R. Bright.  Today, business has never been better for Jones as the Cowboys are the first American sports franchise to be appraised at more than $2 billion.  However, the same can not be said about his popularity.

Criticism has followed Jones ever since his poor handling of his relationships with former Dallas head coaches Tom Landry and  Jimmy Johnson.  It has been a trickle effect of one bad decision after another for Jones which has brought the Cowboys to their current unforgiving state.  Arrogance, inexperience, and his own pompous ego are the typical reasons for the watered down product Jones has provided for the faithful Cowboys fans on display every Sunday.  With zero NFL background, his unfortunate arrogance contributed to him continuing as the general manager rather than allowing an experienced general manager to come and to be the decision maker. This has been a constant gripe with fans and the media. By neglecting this factor to ensure the possibility of running of a winning franchise, his lack of knowledge has led to consistent risky offseason transactions with high salary contracts, questionable NFL draft picks, and the never-ending carousel of coaches with no end in sight.

Can all of the failures involving the Cowboys, who generated a revenue of an astounding $539 million in 2012, be blamed on solely on Jones?  To be fair, the answer would be no, but not a resounding no.  It is ultimately the players who have to perform when it is all said and done.  However,  it’s the general manager, ahem Mr. Jones, who was fully responsible for constructing the players on the team in first place. Therefore, if the players he added to his team do not perform up to par, he should be held accountable for his actions.  Unfortunately, the owner cannot simply fire himself.  For now, Jones has to look in the mirror and figure out how he feels about his Cowboys team which faces a uphill climb this season sitting at 2-3 in a weak NFC East.

So, Mr. Jones, how about them Cowboys?

Ryan Neiman writes for Rant Sports covering Dallas Cowboys Football.  You can follow him on Twitter @FantasyUSports or @RyanNAnthony

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