What is the one thing Dallas Cowboys fans can point to with pride and say, “We have the best in the NFL?”
AT&T Stadium, of course.
Every announcer covering an event there acknowledges that Jerry Jones has built the most fabulous sports venue in the Universe.
No wonder it is now home to the AT&T Cotton Bowl. It hosts the college football Cowboys Classic every year. The NBA Finals, the NCAA Fina Four, Pacquiao fights, U2 concerts. The first-ever finals in college football playoff this coming season. Tbe Super Bowl!
You name it, Jerry has had or will get it.
Have you ever heard this clip from a radio interview Jerry Jones did a couple of years ago, where he was, once again, being challenged for his role as General Manager?
“Did you enjoy those three Super Bowls?” Jerry asked. “I hope you did. I hope you did very much.”
I think Jerry should change his tune now. His question should be as follows: “Do you enjoy Jerry World? I hope you do. I hope you do very much!”
It is sad, but the greatest venue in the NFL may be the very thing that will keep the Cowboys from rising from mediocrity any time soon.
First, because as long as Jerry has the stadium, he will always have a cash cow.
No matter how mediocre his team, there will always be big goings-on in Arlington. There will be championship games, big-time events, massive concerts, political conventions. There will always be plenty of money to make. The Cowboys can afford to be an afterthought or an also-ran, because Jerry may not know how to evaluate football talent, but he knows how to make money.
Second, Jerry cannot afford to do what needs doing to fix this thing.
Whether it is true or just a mirage, Jerry needs the Cowboys to at least give the illusion that they can contend. Every. Single. Season.
For a long time, Super Bowl champions seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Teams that were lousy one year were champions the next. Teams that had mediocre regular seasons (Giants twice, Ravens once) won Super Bowls.
But one look at the Seahawks and 49ers over the past couple of seasons tells you this is a new day in the NFC. These teams are not built to be a flash in the pan. They are young, talented, deep, well coached, and only getting better. It is impossible to imagine that even the delusional and possibly senile owner of the Cowboys can look at his Cowboys team and honestly believe they are in the same ballpark as the Seahawks and 49ers.
When Jones bought the Cowboys, he brought in Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy looked at the lack of talent on his new team and knew something drastic had to be done. He had one real commodity, one player that other teams might value or overvalue. So, he traded Herschel Walker and the rest is history.
To build something great, Jimmy Johnson put an end to something good.
It appears the time to do that again is upon us. The Cowboys have finished 8-8 three years in a row. They have one playoff victory in 17 years. They are in salary cap Hell. It would seem for all the world that if there was ever a time to set sentimentality aside and take your tradable commodities to the trading block, that time is now. Time to cut dead salary cap weight. Time to bid a tearful farewell to some of your best players, because they are costing you too much and might bring you a good return.
Trouble with blowing up something that is pretty good in order to build something great is the three years or so of ugly, losing football that would ensue. Jerry simply cannot run a blown-up, rebuilding football team onto his billion dollar field. He cannot afford to do it. He needs butts in seats. He needs Ware and Witten jerseys on backs. He needs Sunday Night Football to keep him in the rotation. He needs the appearance of being competitive.
So, I hope you like your new stadium, Cowboys fan. I hope you do very much.
It is all you are likely to have for bragging rights as long as Jerry is topside of the soil.
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