These Cowboys Are Rolling, But Can Jerry Leave Well Enough Alone?
In the few hours that have elapsed since the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to clinch a 2016 postseason berth, temptation has increased to say something bitterly irreverent about this accomplishment. Such as, these ‘Boys are peaking too early. But as a football diplomat, I’ll allow skepticism of a franchise-record eleven-game winning streak that reaches from September to December to pass without comment. Because the true intellectuals know it’s not the players that need baby-sitting down the stretch, so much as a certain pig in owner’s armor.
The Cowboys have now owned the league’s top record for nearly a month. Their dynamic rookie duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are currently dominating MVP discussions. Who then is the monster in the closet poised to scare these Cowboys from the straight and narrow?
That would be Jerry, of local fame and international distaste. Jerry, that same wily hillbilly who can charm a snake with a smile, and undermine focus with one or two well-meaning intrusions. It’s he, more than anyone else at the team’s Frisco headquarters, who deserves watching during this season’s final leg.
Why bring up Jerry at a moment when he’s an all but forgotten figure? Consider the winter workings of Jerry. His story is a well-known one, a volume in which defeat exhausts the victims in a multitude of ways.
Jerry, that son of an Arkansas storekeeper, just can’t keep his greedy little fingers from knocking the goods off the shelf and onto the floor at playoff time. When left to himself, Jerry is an accident waiting to happen. One year he makes headlines by calling a few select veterans together for a meeting. Another time he publicly questions the coaching staff. A few years later, on the day of a Divisional playoff game versus the Giants, Jerry was seen handing out tickets to his players for the following week’s NFC Championship Game. And then still there was his contract extension for Wade Phillips moments after the Cowboys ended a thirteen year playoff drought with a Wild-Card conquest of Philadelphia.
Were Jerry of an intellectual capacity that could absorb a hint, he would have abandoned such practices long ago. For with them and by them, Jones has grown old and invited criticism from every corner of the football globe. There’s no fool, they do say, like that old football fool named Jerry.
But with the passing of time has come a stubborn clinging to tradition and position. Jerry wouldn’t shed the title of hands-on owner for anything or anybody on God’s green turf. Very likely, not even for a team that has the potential to break every meaningful single-season franchise record.
So what surprises does Jerry have in store for this season’s 2016 playoff bandwagon? Will he feel the urge to one-up the Rams’ contract extension for Jeff Fisher with one of his own for Jason Garrett? Does he award, say, Brandon Carr a new contract? Or will he give the players an all-expenses-paid trip to Cabo?
Hope remains that Garrett will be the one to discourage Jones’ impulsive nature. Despite what you may think, Garrett’s ultra-boring manner at the podium is but a reflection of a focused, orderly mind. As a former NFL quarterback, Garrett knows better than most of the challenges that players go through on a week-to-week basis, and the focus required during a season’s latter stages. The fact that he preaches the one-game-at-a-time gospel to his players will be a point in his favor should Jones approach him with another late-season scheme of his.
Will Garrett’s pleading do the trick? Only time will tell.
The Cowboys have the opportunity to win their fourth division crown in an eighteen-year span on Sunday night at the Meadowlands. Should Jerry’s team take care of business and do just that, it will be a benefit to all involved should the owner pause for reflection to honor the accomplishment.
In the event that he pauses long enough to write his memoirs, just realize that it would be a far more profitable endeavor for his legacy than dabbling in and meddling with a team that has every bit of potential to make him a hero and a champion one more time.