My youngest daughter was enamored with Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books. The other day, my grandson was watching the movie with his aunt, who was passing on her love for the stories to the next generation.
I could not help, as I watched the cartoonish character portrayed by Jim Carrey, thinking about Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys. Just like the three kids in Snicket’s story, when you think the situation could not possibly get worse for Jones, head coach Jason Garrett, and oft-maligned quarterback Tony Romo, they do.
2013 has been a series of unfortunate events. Twice in four weeks, the defense set new team records for most yards allowed. Against the Bears, they failed to force a single punt. Against the Packers, they surrendered a 23-point halftime lead by, once more, not forcing a single punt in the second half.
Meanwhile, Tony Romo continues to make it difficult to defend him. His talent is undeniable. He has this odd conflicting thing where he has a very high fourth quarter QB rating, yet his resumé is littered with game-losing meltdowns. (See the Broncos and Packers games this year and follow the very distinct trail all the way back to that unfortunate fumbled snap as a kick-holder in Seattle.) Romo’s November numbers are off the charts, while his December win-loss record is abysmal. He increasingly gives the appearance of a player that is built to excel at all times except crunch time.
Jason Garrett, hailed as an Ivy-league educated football guy, continues to lead his team straight to the middle of the pack year after year. The last two years, his team needed only to win the season’s final game against a division foe to win the NFC East. Each time they lost. Things seem to be stacking up for a three-peat.
And what of Jones with his horrible personnel decisions, doomed free agent signings, and inept draft day selections? His primary goal continues to be to prove that he can win big without a Jimmy Johnson type football guy. Meanwhile, his team has one playoff victory in 16 years.
Jones’ teams have redefined what it means to suffer a crushing loss in Dallas. In the Landry era, crushing losses happened in the big moments against the best opposition the NFL could provide. “The Catch” in San Francisco. The “Ice Bowl.” Competitive and heart-rending Super Bowl losses to the Steelers. Landry’s losses came against the best competition at the highest level. His team was almost always playing for all the marbles.
Jerry’s team loses to Matt Flynn! They do so in the most unlikely, unbelievable way. They get rolled by backup quarterbacks.
Jerry Jones is Lemony Snickets. He has rewritten Dallas Cowboys history. He has done for Cowboys fans what Nero did for Romans.
Please don’t tell me how the story ends.