The Dallas Cowboys earned three Super Bowl rings in the 1990s, but have only won one playoff game in the last 16 seasons. Last weekend, NBC’s Bob Costas asked Cowboys owner Jerry Jones whether he’d have fired his general manager—if his general manager was someone other than himself. Ranier Sabin, who covers the Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News, spoke with Bill about the dismal situation in Dallas.
Q: So, the suspense is killing me. Did Jerry Jones see the error of his ways and immediately fire himself?
A: No, I don’t imagine that will happen any time soon. He’s pretty committed to the fact that he will be running the football operations in name only and also directly.
Q: Not so long ago, the Cowboys were “America’s team”…or at least they said they were. How bad are they right now?
A: The last 15 seasons only to have won one playoff game really indicates that the franchise has deteriorated. They still make plenty of money and they’re valued more than any other franchise in the NFL. But, the fact is the results are lacking, and I think that’s pretty indicative of a franchise that really has fallen.
Q: The team that won those three Super Bowls in the nineties, Jones was connected there, too. Jones must be a good GM, right?
A: That’s up for debate, actually. It came to the floor this week after those comments that Jerry said after the game against Atlanta, that he was the general manager during the time that they did win those Super Bowls, but that’s a little bit misleading because Jimmy Johnson, the head coach, was really in charge of the football operations and making the personnel decisions.
Q: On your website this week, one fed up fan said: “May his face become even more wrinkled and hideous than it is already; may misfortune and ridicule shadow his every step; may he someday come to understand the full measure of scorn and revilement against him, which glows like an ember in the hearts of Cowboy fans.” Is that sentiment in any way representative?
A: Well, I think there’s a very large segment of the fan base that is upset at Jerry for the fact that they have had so little success since that Super Bowl in the ’95 season, and I think that sentiment is fairly widespread and it’s growing.
Q: What about the near future—is there any reason to hope that the Cowboys will improve soon?
A: Not from the way that they’re managed, unless someone came in and Jerry ceded control to that person, and that person was very well qualified and could resurrect the franchise, make better personnel decisions, hire better coaches, get better players. I don’t see any dramatic change in the trajectory of the franchise if that doesn’t happen.
Q: What do legendary players from the Cowboys of yore think? Has Roger Staubach weighed in on this situation?
A: He’s always been very respectful of Jerry Jones’ ownership even though he never played under Jerry Jones. So, he’s always been a very classy person and he certainly hasn’t raised any issue with Jones’ ownership.
Q: But the same can’t be said of Cowboys fans?
A: There’s a large section of fans that really feel he should reconsider his adamant stance on being general manager. The track record speaks for itself, I mean, the last 15 seasons, they haven’t been very successful. A general manager would not have survived that tenure if he wasn’t also the owner of the team.