Aikman’s Words – Just Like His Play – A Breath Of Fresh Air Amidst So Much Confusion
What is a joke, however, are the misguided forces of global defense which have come to the aid of a certain high-ranking Cowboy official. Oh, brother. Not again. Not when this season was just starting to get fun, as well as significantly meaningful.
This is what happens when a desert-marooned franchise embarks on a record winning-streak in the midst of a society infatuated with social media. The gullible and misinformed are turned loose in force. The fact that they have a cause to declare and a soapbox to stand on is especially disheartening. It is even more so when the subject of their defense just happens to be that noted Someone of long-standing Cowboy infamy.
They have gathered around him with all the gallantry of knights, encircling their king, their ringleader, their clown, to defend against the onslaught of realists and skeptics. Prompted by an 11-game winning streak and a youthful roster, corporate delusion disguised as the Cowboy faithful have come out in droves to support and protect the one whose head was once rumored to be fit to burst with swelling, but is now allegedly illuminated by destiny’s brilliant halo of light.
They call him legend.
We call him pernicious.
All call him Jerry.
How in the name of Tom, Jimmy, and all of the necks that have been broken under the weight of his head coaching guillotine did society arrive at such a place? How did an owner who should have been locked up in a pigskin pillory long ago come to be placed on such a pedestal of probity? How did this rat from the hills become the newly-crowned redoubtable king of the Cowboys?
His transformation is truly one from Tantalus to Archimedes. From inexorably helpless, Jones is suddenly a new man, brilliant, resourceful, and all-powerful. And did I mention brilliant?
This eleven-game winning streak? It’s all part of Jerry’s plan. Zeke too.
Oh, and Dak? Jerry had his eyes on him the whole way during this past April’s draft, don’t you worry about that. Jerry, that old QB guru, had Dakota pegged as a superstar right from the start, and that’s a fact.
Even the history books are being re-written it seems. Jimmy was a joke, Barry was anything but a Bozo, and only the rottenest of luck has prevented Jerry from stockpiling his Lombardi trophy collection in the years since.
Before this referendum hit the presses and the social media outlets, it was generally believed that America required a set of logograms to help make sense of each of Jerry’s many misguided machinations in a more efficient manner. Now, it has come to my attention that Jerry really isn’t such a verbose fruitcake as we’ve been led to believe all these years.
All those managerial blunders? Never happened.
These claims are not only brazen, but distinctly soporific. The theory that a team is only is good as its record is still true for these Cowboys, but doesn’t come close to wiping out all of Jerry’s past sins.
Oh, I don’t deny that Jerry’s done some good things in recent years (hello, offensive line), also some not so good (that would be you, Mr. Hardy). But I also recall that, if not for a draft-night chokehold from son Stephen a few years back and a sudden trade up by Denver this past April, then the Cowboys would have someone other than Dak Prescott under center right now. Instead of Dak, fans would be waving pom-poms for a Johnny Football, or would be joining the chorus of Lynch’s mob. Moral: Jerry is still Jerry, even if he is riding a wave of good fortune at the current date.
Now, to the chore of rebutting this nonsense about the distant past. This shouldn’t take too much effort.
But to avoid any possibility of being rhetorical in my reasoning, it’s probably better to let an insider take the stand at this time. Insider as in champion. Champion as in Troy.
Troy Aikman has never been accused of being a sycophant. That’s one reason why fans love him so much, and why Barry Switzer thought him a grouch at times. He could speak his mind on the sideline, and wouldn’t hesitate to use biting terms along the way.
Aikman quarterbacked the Cowboys to three Super Bowl championships from 1992-95, and also had a front-row seat for the franchise’s slide into mediocrity during the latter half of the decade. As a natural leader, Troy realized the intrinsic qualities that made Jimmy Johnson such an effective head coach through the 1993 season, and why the lack thereof made Switzer little more than a figurehead on the Dallas sideline thereafter.
“Once Jimmy left, I felt like we were kind of hanging on,” said Aikman on NFL Films’ A Football Life episode of his career, which premiered on NFL Network this past Friday. “We weren’t as good in ’94 as we were in ’93. In ’95 we won the Super Bowl, but we weren’t as good a football team in ’95 as we were in ’94. And it continued.”
Troy grew frustrated with the lack of discipline on the field. That was Barry’s realm. Poor drafting and too many ill-advised free-agent acquisitions from Jerry’s office was the other ingredient that helped to bury Aikman and the Cowboys in misery as the decade came to a close. Playing quarterback in Dallas, Troy realized, had transformed from a golden opportunity into a dead-end job that would only serve to tarnish what was still regarded as a sparkling legacy.
As the team declined in talent and performance, the hits on Aikman started piling up, leading to numerous stints on the injury report. Since his retirement in April of 2001, the common assumption has been that it was these bruises to body and limb that forced him to walk away from the game. But, as he told the camera in the documentary, that wasn’t the case at all.
“You know, all these people think that I got out of the game because of head injuries. Concussions had nothing to do – absolutely nothing to do – with my retirement. Ultimately, the reason I retired after 12 years was because I felt I had worked hard to develop some level of credibility and respect within this game, and I felt like that was being jeopardized by decisions that were being made beyond my control, within the organization. And I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
Troy’s stark confession should cause many historians to amend their conclusions of Jerry’s impact upon the Cowboys’ dynasty of the 1990s. Jerry not only had a hand in running Jimmy off the Ranch, but his franchise quarterback as well.
To move from one era to the next, the question begs how much culpability should be laid at the feet of Jerry for not winning a championship with Tony Romo as his quarterback after Bill Parcells departed. Surely, he didn’t do as poor a job of surrounding Romo with talent as he did for Aikman following Jimmy’s farewell, but it wasn’t nearly as good as it needed to be. Jerry, it can be argued, didn’t make the right head coaching hire in Wade Phillips, just like Barry Switzer wasn’t the right man to maintain a budding dynasty.
The questions pertaining to Jerry’s decision-making over the years can go on forever. I don’t need to bring any more of them up at this particular time. Troy’s testimonial, thank goodness, will likely squelch any and all inclinations to make Jerry out to be something other than he is.
So let’s set the record straight. Jerry Jones is a human, overflowing with ego, and burdened down by more failures and shortcomings than his team’s present won-loss record could possibly indicate.
Don’t ask me.
Ask Troy.[maxbutton id=”1″ ]