In Thursday's "State of The Cowboys" address, Jerry Jones showed several signs that three consecutive seasons without a playoff berth were taking its toll, admitting that the Cowboys "have got a lot of work to do."
Yet, being the cheerleader that he is, he couldn't help but talk about how much better the team is at this juncture than a year ago, and even managed to insert a comment - though tongue-in-cheek it may have seemed - about making a run at the Super Bowl.
This pre-training camp talk about a push to the Super Bowl is a Jones trademark. During the writing of Decade of Futility, I was shocked to learn just how much so. Since the "One Year Away" Cowboys shocked the world in 1992 by destroying Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII by a 52-17 score, Jones has neglected to thrill listeners with Super aspirations a grand total of four times. That's four out of a possible twenty-one opportunities. Truly incredible.
Even more incredible are the circumstances surrounding those times when he deemed it better to be humble, rather than bold. The first occurrence was in the wake of Troy Aikman's retirement in 2001, when all the Cowboys were leaning upon was the unproven right arm of Georgia rookie Quincy Carter. Yes, Jones was magnanimous that day in his respect for the dark hour that his Cowboys found themselves in, foregoing any Super Bowl predictions, prophesying instead for a ho-hum mediocre campaign filled with only - yes, only - ten wins.
The only other times that Jones was silent on any personal visions of impending glory just happened to be during the first three years of Big Bill Parcells' four-year reign of pigskin terror, when Jones was effectively kept under wraps.
Jones talks so boldly because he wants the fans to know that he cares, and that he - in his position as the team's General Manager - has pieced together a roster that everyone will be proud of. He envisions himself as the sharpshooter in a darkened gym that calls his own shot on one three-pointer after another.
More importantly, is the fact that Jones believes these predictions are within the bounds of reason, even when others around him are pleading with him for patience, and temperance.
The passing years have revealed that Jones is oblivious to any personal prohibitions related to drinking that most seductive of drinks, Cowboy Kool-Aid. The Cowboys have reaped the rewards this millennium of changing head coaches a mind-boggling four times. Five losing seasons, countless melodramas, one measly playoff victory, and a decade (2000-2009) that houses the lowest winning percentage in franchise history.
And there, impervious to reality, criticism, and countless glaring statistics, stood the Cowboys owner yesterday, handing out a beverage that has enslaved the innocent and gullible for more than a decade. Yes, drinks are always on the house at Valley Ranch, no matter the hour, the venue, or circumstance.
Read more about Jerry Jones and the Worst Decade in Dallas Cowboys History in my new book Decade of Futility.
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