Dallas Cowboys fans are stunned and irate after witnessing yet another crushing loss by their favorite NFL team. I, however, don't understand the confusion that people have about this team letting the game slip away.
This is a team that has a 122-118 record during the past 15 years. It has been 8-8 for two straight seasons, and the record for this season sits at 7-7. The Cowboys are the poster child for a .500 team. Yet fans are still amazed that the team loses so much. Have you never heard Einstein's definition of insanity?
Sure, Dallas should have won the Packers game, and they should have beaten Detroit. Yet no one expected the Cowboys to sweep the season series with the New York Giants for the first time in a decade, so in reality, Dallas is right on schedule.
Although Dallas has a few Hall of Fame-caliber players, the full roster is sub-par. The result is a perfectly average team.
Perhaps fans are upset because they see names like Tony Romo, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware represented in the Pro-Bowl on a regular basis. They see Dez Bryant being mentioned in the same breath as some of the most talented receivers in the league. A team with this many household names should be better than .500, right?
Sadly, football is not like the NBA, where one big star can change the fortunes of a team for a decade. A franchise quarterback like Peyton Manning might be able to elevate a team from terrible to respectable, but winning playoff games takes a team-building effort at every position.
Jerry Jones is unparalleled at promoting his players, which gives people an inflated impression of talent. For example, the Cowboys gave up two high draft picks to move up and grab defensive back Morris Claiborne in the 2012 draft. They did this because Jones proclaimed that Claiborne was the most talented defensive back to come to the NFL in more than two decades.
It's now been almost two seasons, and Claiborne appears to be going the wrong way in his development into a superstar. Even if he were to make massive strides as a defender this season, Claiborne can only play one position.
This sums up the inherent flaw with the Jerry Jones' Cowboys. Although there are some Hall of Fame-caliber players on the team (mostly aging stars drafted by Bill Parcells), the roster is made up of 53 men. Too many of them are below par in terms of both talent and production. Add it all up, and the result is a perfectly average team.
Jones can fire Jason Garrett after this season; he can get rid of Monte Kiffin and Bill Callahan. But that won't change the fortunes of this team for very long. To make the Cowboys Super Bowl contenders again, Jones needs to change his entire philosophy of gathering talent, both for coaching and playing.
Until he does, Cowboys fans should prepare themselves for more .500 football. It's a premise that the fans can feel perfectly average about.