It’s almost enough to make me break the old Cowboys sweatshirt out of the 13-year mothballs and wear it into the church office this morning.
Jerry Wayne today has improved dramatically his team’s chances of making the playoffs and reaching a Super Bowl. It’s costing him almost ten-million-dollars against the salary cap. He’s removed a thousand yards receiving and double digit TDs from his offense. But, in finally doing what everybody in the Cowboys organization knew had to be done in releasing their most selfish superstar, Jerry has made his team better.
What took him so long? The money. Pride. Ego. Stubborness. All those things. He doesn’t want to release Terrell Owens. You know he doesn’t. But he had to. Jerry loves the attention, the controversy, the media coverage, the sports talk, the headlines, the drama, and the “what’s next?” anticipation of having a bunch of T.O.s on his team. He loves it. He craves it. He thrives on it. He believes it makes him more money. And who’s to say, over the long haul, it doesn’t? But as much as he loves all those things, he loves one thing more. Only one thing.
And that’s winning.
And while the Cowboys have made the headlines and the money for the past dozen-plus years, they haven’t won a cryin’ thing. Nothing. Not one playoff win, much less a Lombardi, since Jerry took over the GM duties. After 20 years, I believe Jerry Wayne is starting to realize—hopefully—that his legacy as an NFL owner, his worthiness, his credentials, will all be judged by and based on his team’s postseason successes, not his coporate partnerships with Pepsi and Nike and not his one-billion-dollar stadium.
So, what now?
The Cowboys have done some serious cleaning out of that insane asylum of a lockerroom. Owens is out. Roy Williams, the loud-mouthed safety is out today, too. PacMan Jones has been shown the door. Tank Johnson has been told to pack up his guns and hit the road. The additions in the past week of lockerroom good guys and team-first leaders Keith Brooking and Jon Kitna also send a very positive message to the team and its fans that character matters now. Selfless sacrifice and team-first concepts are now the standard. That’s the message, right?
OK, here’s the cynic in me.
I’ll just give Jerry a “maybe” and keep my eyes on him.
I’m still convinced that these moves have everything to do with winning and losing and not character. This is still all about on the field performance first, character and integrity issues second. I’m totally convinced that Tank Johnson could have shot up three convenience stores, PacMan Jones could have beaten up six bodyguards at six different hotels, Roy Williams could have written a different anonymous complaint letter and posted it on the wall every week at Valley Ranch, and Terrell Owens could have kidnapped Jason Garrett and slashed Tony Romo’s tires and short-sheeted Jason Witten’s bed and Jerry Wayne would have signed all of them to long-term extensions if they had gone 11-5 and made it the conference championship game. Let’s face it. PacMan’s gone because he averaged half a yard on punt returns, Roy Williams is history because he can’t cover my grandmother, Tank Johnson is toast because he can’t wrap up a ball carrier, and Terrell Owens is out because…
OK. Owens is out because of his destructive attitude.
Thank you, Jerry. It’s a start.