One must wonder why an NFL team that is valued at over $4 billion, ($500 million more than the next closest NFL franchise), has not won the Super Bowl for over two decades. From the last time that Troy Aikman raised the Lombardi Trophy over his head, the self-proclaimed “America’s Team” has been more akin to an indoor arena league franchise than a legendary NFL powerhouse.
The team from the Lone Star State spends more time in the news for its eccentric owner, revolving door of head and assistant coaches and thug-like players, and a long history of power struggles and mismanagement than it does for its winning record on the field. (This may also be due to the fact that the blue and white have not had a consistent winning record for an entire generation.)
What might be even more distressing for the Cowboys faithful is that there is absolutely no change in sight. It has become apparent that Jerry Jones is more than willing to continue the status quo than he is to making drastic alterations to his pet project of a team. (Many a Cowboy loyalist would say that the first alteration should be the removal of the 73-year-old patriarch.)
With that said, let’s look at 12 reasons as to why the Dallas Cowboys are Cursed
12 Jerry Jones’ Need To Be Owner, General Manager And Head Coach
It is no secret that Jerry Jones is a control freak who loves to have the final say, and he could care less about how it makes him look. Upon acquiring the team, and to the horror of die hard Cowboy fans, his first move was to fire the legendary head coach, Tom Landry. At the same time, the new owner took over general manager duties even though he had no previous training or experience evaluating football talent. To add insult to injury, Mr. Jones has even found a way to circumvent the head coaching position by becoming, of all things, a puppeteer. He has done this by bringing in puppets disguised as head coaches who have no problem doing his bidding, regardless of how poorly the team continues to play.
11 Jerry Jones Fires Head Coach Jimmy Johnson
Head coach Jimmy Johnson began with a team that achieved a ghastly 1-15 record in the 1989 season, and through a slew of brilliant draft picks and a complete team rebuild, he led the Cowboys to a playoff appearance in 1991, and back to back Super Bowl titles in '92 and '93. While he wouldn’t admit it at the time, owner Jerry Jones wanted more control of the team’s personnel decisions, something that didn’t sit well with Johnson whose contract stipulated that he had final say on all football matters. Riding high on the success of his newly revitalized team, and feeling that Jimmy Johnson had outlived his usefulness, Jones fired his successful coach in '94 in favor of a man who many believe would go along with Jones’ ideas, University of Oklahoma head football coach, Barry Switzer. Under Switzer, the Cowboys were able to win the big game again in '94, but have yet to repeat.
10 Jones Hires Jason Garrett
Once again, Jerry Jones’ need for complete control led to bringing in another puppet to lead the team in one Jason Garrett. Garrett, who had risen through the Cowboys ranks first as a quarterback coach, and then as an offensive coordinator; had not one day of head coaching experience on any level, no less the National Football League, but this didn’t prevent Jones from handing him the keys to the kingdom. While Jones may have claimed that Garrett would have “the final say in all personnel decisions,” speculation has always been that Jones chose Garrett because he knew that the young coach would gladly acquiesce to the owner’s whims. The result; in the last five years, Garrett has perfected the art of mediocrity with three 8/8 seasons and an overall .511 winning percentage.
9 Tony "Injury Prone" Romo
In the last six years, Tony Romo seems to have caught the injury bug. In 2010, the starting QB missed 10 games due to broken collar bone. In 2013, because of a ruptured disc in his back, Romo was out for a critical game that would have sent the Cowboys to the playoffs. (Jerry’s boys lost to the Eagles.) 2014 saw Romo take a knee to the back which resulted in two traverse process fractures. The franchise QB broke his left collarbone in 2015 and then re-broke it later in the same season. And most recently, in a 2016 preseason game, Tony was the recipient of a compression fracture in the L1 vertebra that will force him to miss at least the first 10 weeks of the season.
8 Tony Romo’s Ineffectiveness In The Big Game
When we think of what makes a big game quarterback, several traits come to mind; he can throw from the pocket in the face of taking the big hit, he can scramble for a few rushing yards when necessary, he commands respect from his teammates through unfaltering leadership, and most importantly, he can win the big game. Big Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, and the legendary 49ers QB Joe Montana can all lay claim to these qualities; however, Tony Romo, not so much…In his tenure as play caller for the Lone Star State, Romo has only 2 wins in 6 playoff games; a .333 winning percentage which ranks him all the way down at #14 out of the 28 active quarterbacks in the league.
7 Making Questionable Draft/Trade Decisions
The list of questionable draft/trade choices by Jones and the Cowboys is enough to fill a college size textbook; with that said, here are three more notable ones. The team drafted QB Quincy Carter in 2001 to fill the larger than life shoes of newly retired Troy Aikman; however, for Carter, this proved to be an impossible task.
In his three seasons with Dallas, the young quarterback’s interception percentage, 4.0, was greater than his touchdown percentage of 3.2. He also averaged a paltry 54% completion rate, and his first two years found him only starting in half of the games. It came as no surprise when Carter was released by the team at the beginning of his fourth season. Bobby Carpenter was drafted in 2006 with great expectations; however, his four year stint in the lone star state found him only starting four games where he achieved a whopping 3.5 sacks in all.
Prior to being drafted by the Cowboys in 2014, Randy Gregory assured Jerry Jones that he was going to get things together in regards to his off the field problems, most notably his drug use. A year and a half later, he finds himself suspended for the first four games of the season and has entered a drug rehab center.
6 The Art Of The Choke
Over the last twenty years, few teams in the National Football League have perfected the art of the choke and have failed to reach the expectations of their fan base as well as the Dallas Cowboys. There were the four consecutive years that the Buffalo Bills reached the big game only to come up short each and every time, (thank you Thurman Thomas), and there is also Cincinnati’s own Bengals whose last playoffs win was a quarter century ago. While the Cowboys have not faltered to this extent, they are making a case for it. From their last Super Bowl win in 1995, Dallas has made it to the playoffs a total of eight times; unfortunately for the Cowboys faithful, only half of those campaigns reached as far as the divisional game, and each and every appearance resulted in a big, fat “L.”
5 The Cowboys Seem to Love Their Thugs
There’s nothing that screams desperation more than an owner's desire to win at all costs; something the Cowboys have come to embrace with their continuous signings of what can only be described as less than quality human beings. Michael Irving’s ability to catch touchdown passes in the big game made it easy for the Cowboy aristocracy to ignore his drug conviction, and to also sweep under the rug his alleged assault with a deadly weapon charge where he put a gash in a teammates neck with a pair of scissors during a training camp fight.
Dez Bryant was arrested in 2012 for domestic violence (on his own mother), and continued to embarrass himself with sideline altercations with his teammates. Adam “Pac Man” Jones was under suspension from the NFL and charged with two felonies by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for a 2007 strip club altercation where he allegedly attacked a stripper and threatened to kill a security guard. Shortly after the initial fight, a member of his entourage also shot three people, paralyzing one from the waist down. "Pac Man" was also under investigation for hitting a woman at an Atlanta strip club. In the face of these charges, the Cowboys rewarded him with a contract for the 2008 season.
And we cannot forget the affable Greg Hardy. In his one and only year with America's team, this pass rushing talent was forced to start the season serving a four game suspension for a domestic violence incident, one in which graphic photos surfaced showing a battered and bruised woman. When he finally did suit up, he made the successful transition from assaulting women to assaulting assistant coaches and teammates on the sidelines during games.
4 Jones Took Taxpayer Money And Ran With It
When it was completed in 2009, Cowboys stadium held a whopping price tag of $1.2 billion due to its retractable roof and the largest scoreboard in history. Even though Jerry Jones himself is a billionaire and could simply write a check for his pet project, (known to the locals as “Jerry’s World”), he didn’t get to where he is by being stupid; for that distinction, he brought in the American taxpayer.
The city of Arlington Texas ponied up a whopping $325 million for stadium construction, a sum that is being paid for by increasing taxes on retail sales, car rentals, and hotels and motels. One might say that Jerry Jones is paying the price in team losses as karma for landing such a sweetheart deal that benefits his brand at the expense of the residents of Arlington.
3 Jerry Jones, Ladies Man (Allegedly...)
Back in August of 2014, the Cowboys owner was shown in very compromising positions with two women who were later determined to be strippers. Jones, a man who has been married for 50 years, is seen groping one woman’s breasts from behind while apparently grinding into her backside. The second photo shows a different woman who was down on her knees with her head buried into the billionaire’s crotch.
More recently, Jones was photographed in a club sitting next to a woman while he rested his hand high up on her thigh. He was also observed receiving a lap dance from another woman; and in an even stranger twist, the business magnate was seen holding what appears to be a beer bottle up to his groin area while placing it in front of that same women’s face as she sat on a couch.
2 Stadium Scoreboard Error
Even though Jerry Jones did follow the rules by hanging the giant screen at 90 feet above the field of play, (five feet higher than the league's 85 ft. minimum) punters have still found a way to hit it on a regular basis in practice. To make matters worse, the Cowboys reserve punter, A.J. Trapasso actually hit the thing in the first game at the new stadium resulting in a challenge by Titans head coach Jeff Fischer and a re-kick of the ball. The scoreboard height had become such a big issue that the NFL stepped in and made a rule change specifically for the Cowboys. The temporary rule stated that any time a ball were to hit the scoreboard, the play would immediately be called dead and must then be replayed.
1 A Generation Of Regular Season Mediocrity
In the early years under Jerry Jones, America’s Team proved to be incredibly successful. The Cowboys transitioned from a disastrous 1-15 team to a completely revitalized, three-time Super Bowl champion. However, in the twenty years since, Dallas has held down a regular season record that can only be labeled as schizophrenic, and has kept the Lone Star State's pride and joy mired in mediocrity.
They consistently have shown themselves to be the team that takes two steps back for every one step forward. From 1996-1998, they went 10-6, 6-10, and then back to 10-6; and while the optimistic Cowboys fan would point to that and say that the team had a winning record for two out of three seasons, the boys in blue followed with 8-8 and 5-11 seasons respectively.
They continued to go Jekyll and Hyde on their fans by finishing a respectable 10-6 in 2003 only to follow this up with a disappointing 6-10 record for the 2004 campaign. Things have been so bad that Jerry’s team has finished at or below a .500 winning percentage eight out of the last eleven years.
Sources: bloomberg.com, dallasnews.com, espn.com, pro-football-reference.com, sbnation.com
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