With a 3-5 record after an embarrassing home loss in primetime coming off a bye, the Dallas Cowboys are officially a punch line in 2018.
Thing is, there are a lot of bad football teams. The Eagles haven’t exactly looked great this season, for that matter. Unthinkable as it might sound, they could even lose to the Cowboys this Sunday night. You can never be too sure in the NFL so tread carefully with the trash talk this week.
But being an out-and-out laughingstock, on the other hand, is supposed to be cyclical in a league with manufactured parity, which it is for most franchises. What’s amusing is the Cowboys are not one of those franchises, haven’t been for some time, and it’s largely the fault of one person.
Jerry Jones. Cowboys owner, president, general manager, coaching staff puppeteer and chief physician (probably) Jerry Jones.
It wasn’t enough for the Cowboys to be bad this season, you see — although, the signs were all there. Jones stuck with Jason Garrett at coach a year or three too long, then failed to surround his young, regressing quarterback with anybody who could remotely be considered a weapon in the passing game. Yet, like a musician who strays too far from the formula and makes a bad album, it was all correctable with next year’s edition.
Except Jones wasn’t content with merely being bad in 2018. He ensured the Cowboys would be going nowhere for seasons to come when he traded their first-round draft pick — currently projected in the top 10 — for Amari Cooper, doubling down on a team with an embattled coach, floundering quarterback and losing record.
And Jones appears prepared to further entrench the Cowboys in mediocrity, repeatedly announcing his intentions to extend the contract of said quarterback who appears to lack the tools necessary to be the focal point of an NFL offense. Dak Prescott has been held back to some degree by coaching and an insufficient supporting cast, but nearly three years into his career, most teams would at least be mulling Plan B.
Not Jones, who operates as if the Cowboys are in a permanent state of Super Bowl contention and makes decisions with the discipline of a teenager playing Madden. He’ll throw money at his favorite players until the organization is in salary cap hell, or trade draft picks for costly short-term fixes when the roster really should be replenished with inexpensive, developing talent. He’ll choose the shortsighted move again and again, no matter how many GIFs pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks again inside a posh luxury box.
Sure, occasionally the high-profile moves break right, and the Cowboys make the playoffs, much like in 2014 and 2016. Only Jones’ methods since the late 1990s have proven more likely to produce an 8-8 squad or worse, while the occasional good year in between is seldom sustainable.
The Eagles may not repeat as world champions this season and may have just one Super Bowl to the Cowboys’ five. Yet, much like how Cowboys fans used to say the Eagles would never win that first one, there is a new line of trash talk that will ring true in any year, no matter the records:
The Cowboys will never win another Super Bowl while Jerry Jones is in charge.
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