The Dallas Cowboys organization is a team full of questions heading into the 2020 season. Will Dak Prescott be under center? Will Mike McCarthy’s offensive capabilities lead the team back to the Super Bowl? No matter how many questions arise about America’s Team, one thing no one will question is who runs it. That’s team owner Jerry Jones.
Jones supports the team in a rather unconventional role. If his latest head-coaching hire doesn’t pan out, his role may need to change. He may be out of excuses.
Jerry Jones’ controversial role on the Cowboys
Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989 and immediately made his presence felt. He cleaned house, firing longtime head coach Tom Landry. He then hired his former college teammate and University of Miami coach Jimmy Johnson. Jones also fired longtime executive Tex Schramm and installed himself as the general manager.
Jones has served as the team’s general manager ever since. He has total control over all football operations and decisions. Ultimately, this is true of every football team. The owner has the power to hire, fire, and do pretty much anything they want.
But typically, the owner will hire a GM or team president who then presides over day-to-day football and business operations. These executives usually have a history in the game — either as players, coaches, scouts, executives, or a combination of all those positions.
Not Jones. While he did play college football, Jones had no experience working as a football executive prior to buying the team. He’s insisted on remaining in his role no matter what the Cowboys’ record has been.
How the Cowboys disappointed in 2019
The Cowboys are loaded with talent. Last season, they had one of the league’s best offensive lines, running back Ezekiel Elliott re-signed to a big extension, and Prescott moving into his prime. The team started promisingly enough, winning its first three games. They promptly fell back to Earth, however, losing their next three.
The Cowboys went 8-8 last season, missing the playoffs. In week 16, they lost a must-win game to the eventual NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas fired head coach Jason Garrett after a decade of disappointments under his watch.
Since winning three Super Bowls in the mid-90s, Dallas has yet to go back to even the NFC title game. It’s been a very rough few decades for a team that was once on top of the football world. How much of the team’s inability to win can be traced back to Jerry Jones’ role with the team?
Is Jerry Jones out of excuses if the Cowboys fail under Mike McCarthy?
One could make the argument that the Cowboys are long past the time when Jones should have stepped down as the team’s GM. But if McCarthy isn’t able to turn the team into a contender, the time will definitely have come.
Jones is free to do with the Cowboys as he wishes as he owns the team. But it’s an undeniable fact that no other executive could last as long as he has with the same on-field results. The NFL is a “win now” league, especially in the current era. If Jones were simply a GM, the team would have fired him long ago.
It’s also baffling that someone with as much pride as Jones isn’t able to see that he’s ineffective in the role. If Jones named a more capable successor, the Cowboys would likely experience better results. One thing’s for sure, however: if McCarthy fails, Jerry Jones will be all out of excuses.