Why did Jerry Jones fire Rob Ryan?
After the season was over, Jones famously said that things were going to be uncomfortable around Valley Ranch. He promised, in so many words, significant change.
But why Rob Ryan?
Sure, the defense was porous and played poorly. But Ryan had to assemble a team that excluded as many as seven of his starters. The team’s top tackler from a year ago, Sean Lee, went down early. His replacement Bruce Carter followed Lee to the Injured Reserve list. Safety Barry Church was gone before the season began. DeMarcus Ware was hobbled much of the season by a nagging arm injury and assorted other ailments.Jay Ratliff was injured most of the year.
Ryan’s squad resembled an intensive care unit more than a defensive unit.
Football analysts mostly seemed to agree that Ryan did a remarkable job, considering the devastation on the squad.
So, why did he become the sacrificial lamb?
The answer is as simple as it is frustrating and tiresome. Jones will not fire the one that most needs firing. He claims to look in the mirror. But he always does so with the magic glasses that make him the belle of the ball, rather than the ugly football duckling the sane people in the world see.
We know that Jones is ego-maniacal. We know he is self-deluded. But that is only one half of the equation.
Jerry Jones is also a coward. He is afraid to allow his team to succeed in a way that he would not get his share of the credit. He is afraid of being somehow marginalized. Unlike truly great leaders, Jones fails to see the genius in successful delegation. He is a control freak because he is afraid.
Moreover, Jerry Jones is what my grandmother would call “a story-teller.” (I really do hate to call a man a liar.)
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”
Ever hear Jerry dance around a topic and use impossible-to-follow language in an interview?
Why is that?
Because he is not going to tell you the truth. He is going to tell you something intended to guide you to the conclusion HE wants you to reach. The trouble is he is no good at it, because he sucks at artful communication. He equivocates but lacks the skill to do so.
Another hint at his dishonesty is his insistence that winning is his main objective. He wants Cowboys fans to believe he is doing everything in his power to give them what they want.
That isn’t so.
What they want is less Jones. Any poll you could make or find on the topic will show that. Cowboys fans are as sick of empty promises as they are empty possessions. They are bone-weary with his efforts to make a splash on draft day out-weighing addressing his team’s needs. They are done with the mediocrity he is able to muster by simply throwing money at every problem.
They want a football man to run this football team.
But Jones is afraid to give them what they want.
What if it works?
You see, some Cowboys fans are old enough to remember when the team had a genius at general manager (Tex Schramm), a genius on the sidelines (Tom Landry), and a genius running the scouting department(Gil Brandt).
We remember how that team put together 20 consecutive winning seasons. We remember how they made playoff appearances in 18 of those 20 years. We remember five Super Bowl appearances in a decade (1970s). We remember when the talent level on the Dallas Cowboys rivaled any in the NFL.
All Jones can remember is that he once won three Super Bowls in four years. He remembers calling himself the general manager of that team. He forgets that he signed Jimmy Johnson to a contract that gave Johnson control of personnel.
That was Johnson’s team and it succeeded.
Johnson left. Jerry took over.
The rest is more than history. It is the present and the future, so long as Jones keeps firing everyone but the man in the mirror.
Rob Ryan is the most recent man to have his life turned topsy-turvy so that Jones can keep reaching for the elusive glory that could have been his were he not so selfish and self-serving.
I am no fan of Rob Ryan. But I am a fan of propriety. I am a fan of honesty. I am a fan of doing the right things the right way.
This was wrong, even if it somehow works.