In many ways, Deion Sanders was the face of the final years of the Dallas Cowboys’ success in the ’90s. With his boisterous personality, he became the rare star cornerback with offensive skills whose fame resonates beyond the field. Now, fed up with the state of the Cowboys franchise, Sanders did not hold back when discussing everything they’re doing wrong.
Deion Sanders’ time in Dallas
When the Dallas Cowboys acquired Sanders in 1995, they already had a surefire Hall of Famer on their hands. His five years in Atlanta saw him go from a promising early pick in 1989 to superstar in just two seasons. By 1991, he was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. By 1993, he was a perennial All-Pro player at his position.
After a single season in San Francisco where he hoisted the Super Bowl trophy, Sanders joined America’s Team as it was winding down. After acquiring him, the Cowboys won in 1995. (He did miss a large chunk of the season and struggled when they moved him to left cornerback instead of right.) However, over the next four years, Sanders regained All-Pro glory three times. He maintained his spot as one of the best in the game.
Sanders is the rare athlete to have three teams he’s synonymous with. But the Cowboys years will always be special. When he chimes in, people listen, and Sanders did not mince words when speaking about the team’s struggles this season.
The Cowboys’ season
The Cowboys’ season has been nothing short of a disaster. While Prescott provided heart and hustle when he was healthy, the team was already struggling with their star quarterback. And they’ve only looked worse since he went down with a fractured ankle. In the ensuing weeks, they’ve only looked worse. The team had one of the best offenses in the NFL with Prescott and now ranks 24th.
Furthermore, the defense — something Sanders knows a lot about — is last in the league, giving up 33 points per game with a 2-6-0 record. Sanders, now the head coach at Jackson State, decided to chime in through his platform at Barstool on Instagram.
Primetime chimes in
Part of Sanders’ widespread fame was due to his unfiltered way of speaking, details The Spun. Decades into retirement, he hasn’t changed. He let loose on his Instagram after seeing what he believed to be a lack of heart.
“Y’all getting on my nerves,” said the NFL Hall of Famer on his Instagram. “This is the reason why. You ran Jason Garrett out of town last year. You said it was his fault, but I see the same old stuff going on that I saw then. Lack of effort, lack of discipline, no hustle, no dawgs… You ain’t the only team in the league that folks heard of, but it seems like when Dak left, your heart went with it.”
Sanders acknowledged that this is not solely on them. Prescott is the team’s starting quarterback and emotional leader. However, part of being a good NFL team involves playing through adversity and not relying solely on a single person, coach, or strategy. He wants to see the other leaders show that they have what it takes, too. Specifically, he wants to see this from star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
“Zeke, I love you,” Sanders said. “You know I love you, but they’re starting to talk. They want to know, are you up, or are you down? … Are you on your upside or your downside? They’re starting to talk. I feel as though you’ve still got it. It’s time for you to look inside yourself to see what’s in there right now because what’s been transpiring the last two weeks, my brother, ain’t you.”
Sanders might be stirring the pot with his statements, but he also isn’t wrong. The Cowboys tend to speak act like they’re the pinnacle of football. But they haven’t shown that they can be so for over a quarter-century. Entering the latter parts of a lost season, it’s time for the team to take Primetime’s words and use it as inspiration, rather than going out sad and defeated.