Hall of Fame
Join Date: Apr 2004
Jerruh can't AFFORD his Girls NOT making the Big Dance Next Year
As one of the greatest supporters of the "lockout," Jerruh may very well have to rethink his stance.
There is a silver lining to the fall of the Dallas Cowboys and dismissal of Wade Phillips. And not just for the many of you out there who hate the Cowboys.
The complete and shocking demise of the Cowboys this season means that owner Jerry Jones will have his plate full next offseason doing everything he can to market the team. That could include hiring a high-profile coach (Jon Gruden makes the most sense) and the accompanying staff members. It also means working the free-agent and trade markets to upgrade the roster.
In addition, it means having offseason training activities, minicamps and all the other events which draw media and attention even when games are months away. Even if Jones sticks with Jason Garrett, the interim coach is going to need the offseason to hire his own staff, make vital changes and get the players on board with him. Jones will need that as well, if for no other reason than to show the public that the team will improve.
Some of those things can’t happen if there’s a lockout.
Until the collapse of Jones’ Cowboys, several sources around the league viewed him as a staunch leader of the pro-lockout faction of owners (the New England Patriots’ Bob Kraft – who helped negotiate the NFL’s broadcast deals which ensure owners TV revenue even if there’s no 2011 season – is among the group, according to league sources). Now, Jones will need every bit of the offseason and the manufactured excitement that goes with it to market his suddenly moribund franchise. To put it another way, if Jones expects Cowboys fans to take those grocery bags off their head and instead use them to buy Dallas apparel and, more importantly, tickets, he better keep the business open this offseason.
“It’s an interesting theory and probably not that far off base,” a league source said Monday, shortly before the Cowboys made the firing of Phillips official. “Jerry is always about marketing, and this situation is going to be really hard for him to market. You can’t generate any excitement about that team unless they’re signing players or hiring a big-time coach.”
Some might argue that Jones could simply wait it out, taking the advance money the NFL will get from the networks if there’s no football. Unfortunately, that’s not a good idea at a time when Jones is also facing an unforeseen challenge from across the parking lot in Arlington.
Fresh off their first World Series, the Texas Rangers could step into the fray and take away some of the disposable income out there in the sports marketplace if the Cowboys aren’t playing. Dallas fans are notoriously fickle when it comes to buying tickets. Jones, who needs to keep his luxurious new stadium filled with fans and sponsors, knows that all too well.
The fact that the team’s struggles could last all season only feeds the need for Jones to keep the business going. Following their humiliating 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 1-7 Cowboys are staring at what easily could be a further fall into the abyss over the next five games. The 6-2 Giants are next, followed by the Detroit Lions (2-6), New Orleans Saints (6-3), Indianapolis Colts (5-3) and Philadelphia Eagles (5-3). In fact, the Eagles play Dallas twice in the second half.
While the Panthers and Bills are far-worse teams on paper, the Cowboys are playing with so little heart that the expression “With the No. 1 overall pick … ” could easily be coming to the ears of Dallas fans come April. Moreover, Garrett is going to have his hands full trying to motivate players who understand that the demise of the team ultimately works to their advantage in terms of avoiding a lockout. Yes, Jones threatened players Monday with their jobs, saying heads would roll if they didn’t play hard.
Truth is, that’s a pretty hollow threat to the stars of the team. Tony Romo(notes), Jason Witten(notes), Miles Austin(notes), Dez Bryant(notes), Felix Jones(notes), Terence Newman(notes), DeMarcus Ware(notes), Jay Ratliff(notes), Anthony Spencer(notes) and Mike Jenkins(notes) are very unlikely to go anywhere this offseason. Jones might sacrifice Roy Williams, Leonard Davis(notes), Keith Brooking(notes) and Bradie James(notes) to make a point, but he’s not dumping a truly significant player.