Of Puppets & Men – Overcoming Jerry Jones
When Jason Garrett was hired by Jerry Jones, he was in the same position as all other coaches not named Jimmy Johnson. Since the departure of Johnson, all coaches are only successful to the extent that they can overcome the maneuverings and influence of Jerry Jones.
Even Hall of Famer, Bill Parcells, who built his reputation on rebuilding decaying franchises while using players others thought to be second-tier talent, could not overcome Jerry Jones. Ultimately, Bill Parcells failed in Dallas. And Jerry was the reason.
Jason Garrett is no different except in one aspect. Whereas no one would ever accuse Bill Parcells of being anyone’s puppet, Garrett’s tenure with the Cowboys has increasingly revealed that his power as Head Coach is limited, at best. And that limit is known only by the momentary whims of Jerry Jones. And Jerry’s not talking. Furthermore, no one has the power to question Jerry’s whims if he were to talk.
So, it’s with raised eyebrows that the news that Garrett is being blamed by some official media types for not holding Dez Bryant accountable for his shenanigans earlier this week when Bryant missed two MRI sessions on his knee, thus preventing the Cowboys’ organization from acting like a legitimate NFL organization in control of itself and its constituent parts. You know, organizational self-control.
While Dez Bryant has been fined for his actions, or lack thereof, according to the terms of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is safe to say that a $12,000 dollar fine for a man operating under a $70 million dollar contract is rather ineffective when trying to send a message. Of course that presumes that a message is trying to be sent by an Owner who has constantly under-girded his life’s mantra to his team that money means everything.
So, the puppet Head Coach acts according to expectations, trying to instill his own brand of accountability while taking responsibility for leading a team caught gazing at the Almighty American Greenback. The puppet must then deal with the media’s suspicions that all is not as it seems by answering questions about the lack of detail forthcoming from the puppet. Insinuations fly that the puppet is not being straight forward, thus another agenda, one the media is not privy to, is being acted out. Meanwhile, no one feels the least bit sorry for the Media simply because they are not being spoon fed controversy. And as the Media pouts about their poor treatment, another drama commences detailing their poor treatment.
The salacious fact remains, though, that a Cowboys team is currently 2-1 in the young season. Last time I checked, that constitutes a winning record, a rare state of affairs for the past two decades. The fact that this winning record has occurred without Tony Romo makes it among the rarest of states for a team that has proven it’s inability to go Romo-less with anything approaching grace and flair.
And therein lies the rub for this franchise built on integrity and respect. A franchise that was once considered the NFL organizational gold standard has become nothing more than a popular stage production consumed by a constantly titillated public. This production can be packaged in various ways, appearing as a soap opera, television talk show, circus, zoo, jungle or just a simple psychiatrist’s couch. Constant construction of new and innovative stage sets keeps a demanding public satiated with never-before-imagined plots that surprise even the Owner on occasion! What a show!
Perhaps the most unheralded part of this spectacle of the Cowboys’ NFL Football Club is that the lone voice of reason, sanity, balance and equilibrium seems to be coming from a Rookie quarterback that has been a huge reason for the Cowboys 2-1 record. Dak Prescott has appeared to be everything
other than a raw rookie and presents a welcome fresh outlook for the future. It seems that, in spite of the crumbling back and geriatric body of Tony Romo, the offensive talent accumulated by Garrett and his staff (no, not Jerry!) may not go to waste after all. As Romo rides off into the sunset atop a $100 million dollar retirement plan, wisdom’s rookie takes the reigns of a franchise in need of legitimate handling by one with his head screwed on straight.
So far, Dak has the most attractive potential of anyone else on this team to be able to overcome Jerry Jones. I think his chances are as good as, probably better, than the chances of Jason Garrett’s ever were. Let the overcoming began!