Who was the Dallas Cowboys 2014 MVP?
By that I mean the franchise MVP. Which one person was most responsible for the Cowboys’ sudden reversal of fortunes? Many predicted a sub-.500 season in 2014 and the Cowboys finished 12-4 instead. Moreover, they scored a first-round playoff win and nearly upset the Packers in Green Bay in the Divisional Round, if not for a horrible overturned call on that Dez Bryant catch at the goal line.
Football is a team sport, of course, and no one person turned things around by himself. But who deserves the most credit?
Since it is a franchise MVP we seek here, we will include candidates from the front office, the coaching staff, and the team itself. So, let’s get to it…
Candidate #1: Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones was named the NFL’s executive of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association. Remember, this is a group that is historically very tough on Jerry, often fingering his meddling ways as the chief reason for 17 years of pedestrian football produced by a franchise adrift. But this year, Jerry got some things right, from coaching staff moves to resisting the temptation to overpay aging free agents to acquiescing to saner voices and better football minds and drafting Zack Martin rather than Johnny Manziel in the first round. Todd Archer has a great article outlining the job Jones did this year.
Candidate #2: Rod Marinelli
The reason everyone figured the Cowboys for the NFL cellar this year? No defense! DeMarcus Ware, gone. Jason Hatcher, vamoose. Sean Lee, injured and out…again. Say hello to the defensive football savant, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who took a patchwork defense of castoffs and “other guys” and made a viable unit of them. The Cowboys defense was expected to finish dead last or very near there in total defense. Instead, they finished 15th! They were stellar at forcing turnovers, recovering 13 fumbles and picking off 18 passes.
Candidate #3: Jason Garrett
After three seasons of knocking on the door of the playoffs and falling just one win short, Garrett orchestrated a tremendous 2014 campaign. He pushed all the right buttons, pulled the right strings, took chances that paid off (like 4th and 6), and his team played their guts out for him. Also, with a loaded staff that included three assistants with head coaching experience, he maintained a harmonious balance. There were no mutinies, no whispers of dissatisfaction, no threats of defection.
Candidate #4: Scott Linehan
What can you say about the way Linehan called games this year as offensive coordinator? The result was the NFL’s leading rusher (and an all-time Cowboys record for DeMarco Murray) and a prolific passing game. Tony Romo, many believe, had his best year ever. The Cowboys finished 5th overall in total offense. The new play caller had plenty to do with that.
Candidate #5: DeMarco Murray
“No running game! No commitment to the run!”
These have been common accusations leveled at the Cowboys during the Garrett era. But not anymore. Workhorse DeMarco Murray carried the ball 392 times for 1845 yards and 13 touchdowns. He brought balance to the Cowboys offensive attack, took pressure off the passing game, and smashed Emmitt Smith’s single-season rushing record. He led the league in rushing and was given All-Pro honors.
Candidate #6: Tony Romo
How about 34 touchdowns against just nine interceptions? How about an average QB rating of 113.2? How about coming back from 21 points down to St. Louis? How about that signature win in Seattle? How about no interceptions in December and a five game winning streak to close the regular season? Pretty good for a guy that sucks so bad and “always” folds in the big moments, no?
Candidate #7: Zack Martin
An offensive lineman for MVP? A guard, no less? Yeah. Why not. He was the first Cowboys rookie since 1967 to be named to the All-Pro team. He was also the first NFL offensive lineman since 1947 to receive that honor. 1947! He was the final key piece to what many believe is now the NFL’s best offensive line. Because of Martin, the team ran the ball better. Because the team ran the ball better, Romo threw the ball better. Also, time of possession meant a suspect defense was seldom over-exposed. Why not Martin for MVP?
Anyways, vote here. Vote Now!
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