Some people are trying to make the comparison between Al Davis and Jerry Jones. The Cowboys recent troubles are viewed with the same critical eye as the Raiders going into the tank starting in 2003 and continuing through the present day.
We here at BSP view the Cowboys demise in a different light, and not just because we’re Raiders fans. First, Al Davis was concerned with football. It was his passion; what he did and all he was about. Control … the manager of the general partner … was one thing he used to make his teams better.
The Cowboys are quite different.
You see, Jerry Jones is way more of a showman than Al Davis could have ever hoped to have been. Al Davis believed a good football team would draw in fans. Jerry Jones believes he needs to shape his team so he can draw people into his stadium. Jerry Jones controls his team so he can get players whom people want to watch.
Back in 1997, when the Raiders let go of Joe Bugel, Ticket 1050 did an interview with Al Davis. It was all about winning; Davis said the Raiders will win, repeatedly. Of course he did, because the Raiders ARE Al Davis. If the Raiders were good, it was because Al Davis built it; if the Raiders failed, it was because of Al Davis. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in the NFL, not because they win titles or they have lots of fans. They are valuable because they make a ton of money. Jones also says he wants to win. Of course, winning can be different things to different people. For Jones, winning is apparently increasing the value of his franchise. If that’s the case, he’s been winning. Why change anything? The team doesn’t even matter, except that it not be horrible. People will still call them “America’s Team”, they will still get lots of appearances in prime time and they will still have Mike Greenberg talking about them on Monday morning. There’s no pressure to change anything … except the Cowboys not be horrible.
Why the Cowboys can only be good by accident: If you’ve been listening to the NFL, you know the Cowboys are in salary cap prison. They can’t easily fix their cap problems, and really the only way to fix them leads to even bigger problems down the road. There’s virtually none of their highest paid players, with the exception of Demarcus Ware, that they can release and help their cap situation. But he’s their best defensive player, and cutting him means they have to hopefully come up with someone in the draft!
By the way, our link is to overthecap.com, one of the most intriguing salary cap sites on the Web if you’re hard core about your football. Now here’s the crux: fixing your cap issues, like the Raiders found out, is a tough pill to swallow. It means finishing below .500; in most cases, way below .500. It means sports talk media like Mike Taylor, surrender the season before it even starts AND continuously blast your management team. It means season ticket holders don’t renew. Since Jerry Jones overriding concern is packing people into his stadium, he’s not going to take the hard way out. He’s going to keep kicking the ball further down the road until they can’t avoid it.
Jones forgot how he got Troy Aikman. It wasn’t through great scouting or development; it was through one of the worst seasons in that team’s history. 1-15 got them Aikman. The worst trade in the history of football; the Herschel Walker to the Vikings trade put the Cowboys in prime position to succeed. Since the effects of those two deals wore off, the Cowboys have been mediocre; a very average franchise. It’s going to take changes in Dallas amongst the top leadership to change things. I’m not sure they want to make those changes, especially if their goal … make as much money as humanly possible while increasing the franchise value … is threatened. Winning is expensive.