Heading into the 2011 National Football League season the Dallas Cowboys were among the sports betting favorites to contend for the NFC title. The hype around the Cowboys is always over the top and this year was no different despite the fact that the 2010 season that was touted as the first time a team would ever play a Super Bowl on its home field instead turned into ashes as coach Wade Phillips was fired in midseason, Tony Romo was injured for most of it, and the Cowboys finished in disgrace.
Jason Garrett served as interim coach after Phillips was canned and got the full time gig because the Cowboys at least tried harder than they did under Phillips and because owner Jerry Jones would remain in total control of the team. And therein lies the real problem.
Since “The Win Machine,” Jimmy Johnson, departed Jerry’s World after the 1993 season that ended with a second consecutive Super Bowl win the Cowboys have never been the same. Sure, Barry Switzer did win a 1995 title with the team that Johnson built but the team was in decline and has never reached the same level that they did under Johnson. Johnson simply couldn’t stand working for Jones anymore and left despite the fact that he had a shot at Vince Lombardi’s modern record of 3 consecutive NFL championships (1965-67).
Dallas remains a maddeningly inconsistent team that one week looks “super” and the next week looks inept. The Cowboys have split their first 6 games on the schedule and are coming off a 34-7 annihilation of the hapless St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium. The problem of course is that Dallas lost the two previous games prior to that and made costly mistakes in the process. Romo has been up and down with a 10/6 TD/INT ratio. He was spectacular in a Monday Night home win over then undefeated Washington as he rallied the team that was being killed by the mistakes of younger players. Then, just when everyone bought into the media hype about Romo finally maturing as a leader he went out and helped blow a 27-10 lead at home to the Detroit Lions in which he was intercepted 3 times and failed to engineer time consuming drives to protect the lead as Dallas was stunned in a 34-30 loss.
So far for the Cowboys it has been the old adage about how the more things change; the more things stay the same. Jones is the same and until he hires a true football man to run things the results are unlikely to improve significantly, even in the weakened NFC East.