How The Leadership of Jerry Jones Transformed America’s Team into a 21st Century Debacle, Resulting in the Worst Decade in Dallas Cowboys’ History
By Ryan Bush
For four decades, the Dallas Cowboys were synonymous with winning and were the gold standard for how to operate a football franchise. Seemingly unhindered by the rest of the football universe, the names of Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were exalted to legendary status along the path to earning a record five Super Bowl championships. They won with flair, grace, and a unique quality of football brain-trust that constructed teams with stamina and staying power. From the unprecedented stretch of twenty consecutive winning seasons under Landry, to Jimmy Johnson’s group that captured three Super Bowls in a four year span during the 1990’s, to the immaculate blue star on the helmet, and the famous hole in the roof, the Cowboys were a franchise that, not only had it all, they did it all.
But the dawning of the 21st Century brought about a new beginning, one where philosophy and ego collided head-on with a harsh reality. Even in the face of looming salary-cap restraints and dwindling roster talent, hands-on owner Jerry Jones – co-starring as the team’s general manager – is convinced that his Cowboys are just one-step away from a return to football glory. Leaning upon what he believes is a star-studded track-record as a general manager for support, Jones moves mountains, changes course at midstream and defies anyone or anything that will stand in his way. This now-or-never approach to management proves to be the prime culprit in a decade of infamy that leaves the Cowboys, more often than not, on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
High-dollar shortsighted trades, the untimely retirement of Aikman, a semi-weekly quarterback carousel involving four different players, and poor draft selections helped the Cowboys win only 15 games in three seasons under embattled head coach Dave Campo to kick off the new Century, leading to an apology from the owner.
With tyrannical head coach Bill Parcells on the scene, it’s a constant race against time, pitting the Cowboys’ fluctuating on-the-field production against Jones’ outrageous expectations. Four quarterback changes, perpetual inconsistent execution in the kicking department, or even an ill-fated last-minute fumble by Tony Romo in a playoff game cannot keep Jones out of the control center where he deftly squeezes Parcells out of Dallas and back into retirement.
And with Wade Phillips as head coach, life is one big cupcake – until the heat of a 1-7 start proves to be the end of Phillips, and the beginning of an all too familiar roller coaster ride with Jason Garrett at the helm.
Rich in history and laced with timeless quotes, Decade of Futility is a true tale of defeat, providing readers with authoritative answers to why the Dallas Cowboys fell from football’s highest throne, and couldn’t pick themselves up in the first decade of the new millennium.