Monday, November 3, 2008

Is it any wonder I reject you first?

Let's get this out of the way: any current Cowboys quarterback not named Tony Romo sucks, Marion Barber's inability to gain more than two or three yards per run sucks, the surreal number of penalties the Cowboys have steadily accrued each game of this season sucks, the continuing plague of Cowboys injuries sucks, letting Jason Witten play (as well-intended as it may have been) with a broken rib in a game we had very little chance of winning at any point sucks.

I am assuming those are the main talking points on Dallas sports radio today. And yes, those things suck. But I was struck by two contradictory statements I heard during the pre-game show on Fox and during the Cowboys game. Everyone on the pregame show agreed that Jerry Jones must have suffered from some post-Botox dementia when he thought that it would be totally alright not to have a decent, young backup for Tony Romo.

Then, as Brooks Bollinger practiced passing straight to a Giants receiver on the sidelines, Troy Aikman defended Jerry's choice by saying something like, "If you had asked me at the beginning of season whether or not it would be okay to have a 40 year old Brad Johnson as a backup just in case anything happened to Romo, I would have thought that would have been fine, in the event that Johnson would have to play two or three games while Romo got better." Which is why Troy Aikman should not be allowed to make any major decisions regarding football or car dealerships.

The pregame guys were right. But it's very easy to say that, being in the position (bottom of the NFC East) that the Cowboys are in right now. Had Romo not gotten hurt and had the defense and the offensive line not started to slip before the injury, I'm sure no one would be making a sound about the backup quarterback situation. But that's why you get a decent backup quarterback. It's the same premise as car insurance or a change of clothes in your carry-on. You pray you won't need it but if the situation arises, you don't look like an uninsured, pit-stained nightmare.

Then I thought about what really boils my blood about the whole situation. Let's take, as an example, the Denver Broncos last year signing Patrick Ramsey as their backup QB. Now, I'm not saying the Cowboys should even pursue someone as in-demand as Ramsey. But for the sake of the argument, let's say they did. Denver signed Ramsey to a two-year, $5m contract. Again, I'm not saying someone like Ramsey is the key to the Cowboys victory in the face of a Romo injury. But, at $2.5m a year (plus a small signing bonus), Ramsey is a drop in the salary bucket for Jerry Jones.

But instead, Jerry Jones went for Pacman Jones, about whom the kindest descriptive phrase I can think of would be "liability." If I am Jerry Jones and I am thinking about which scenario could be more catastrophic to my team's season, I am looking at either:

a) not getting Pacman Jones, having a weak corner and perhaps that situation getting so bad that I would have to trade before the deadline if I felt like I needed someone who could cover and run the ball back more effectively

b) not getting a decent (all apologies to Brad Johnson, who may have, on paper, looked to be a decent backup) backup quarterback and Romo suffering an injury that takes him out of four games

I think I know which situation seems more dire to me. But that's where my beef with Jerry comes into play. I think Jerry Jones is the Colonel Parker of football. All that matters is the brand and the fame. All that matters is seat licenses and jersey sales. "Any press is good press/there's no such thing as bad publicity/as long as they spell your name right/you know you're doing something right if everyone is talking about you." Jerry is fame hungry and wants to build a team that makes headlines as often as they make tackles. You don't get a face lift unless you intend to get lots of face time on-camera.

I don't think it's exactly fair to blame Wade Philips for all this mess. Or Tony Romo's messed up pinkie or Felix Jones or Matt McBriar or Jason Witten. I am angry at Jerry Jones. I don't understand why he goes for scandal instead of statistics. You can't convince me at this point that Jerry does not relish in the attention, good or bad, that his team gets.

And speaking of people who prefer hype and headlines to football, this , is absurd. And if it is proven to be the work of TO, should lead to a Jerry Jones-enforced fine.

The Dallas Cowboys are the girl who was voted off American Idol somewhere in the middle of the season but not before flashing her tits at the judges then falling off the stage drunk. She now does appearances at local nightclub openings and for an extra $10, will autograph copies of her self-released sex tape. She wants to let you know that she's glad she got kicked off the show because she's just recorded her own self-financed debut album and it will be for sale on her website soon. She will end up on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in a year, talking about how her money is all gone and she blows her weed dealer for any roaches he has lying around. But at least if she's on TV, she's still famous. Just like the Cowboys! Everyone knows them! They're America's Team!

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