November 3, 2010

Dismal Dallas Cowboys

Time to play Jeopardy.
Answer: This title held by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 1980s and ’90s, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates for most of the new millennium, was claimed by the Dallas Cowboys as of last week.
Question: What is most embarrassing franchise in professional sports?
With what can be described as no better than an appalling, pathetic and lackluster performance in a 35-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys have reached a new low. For a season that began with hopes of coming the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their gigantic, excessive and unnecessarily bloated home stadium, the Cowboys’ 2010-11 campaign is now on track to be the worst in the last two decades.
At 1-7, the season has been highlighted so far by a winless home record, Tony Romo’s broken clavicle and a complete waste in general of the second highest payroll in the NFL. But the Jacksonville result was the first loss by more than a touchdown the Cowboys have had all season, meaning that they have been in a majority of their games. Why can’t they put the pieces of the puzzle together?
This answer can be traced back to the “yee-haw” gunslinger attitude of rambunctious and most-of-the-time-unruly owner Jerry Jones, whose “spend first, ask questions later” mentality has proved to be ineffective. His aura of arrogance has spread throughout the organization (they might as well call the new stadium the Jones Dome) leading to an undisciplined team which lacks football IQ in crunch time.
Of course, some might look to the fact that Jones took a Cowboy team which, in 1989, went 1-15 and turned them into a franchise that won three Super Bowls in four years. But this situation is different.
The positions once held by Jimmie Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deon Sanders and Michael Irvin now find Wade Phillips, John Kitna, Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins and Roy Williams currently in their place. The phrase “How ‘bout them Cowboys!” has been replaced by “Who beat them Cowboys?” and the franchise once proclaimed “America’s Team” is now “America’s Headache.”
It is somewhat surprising that the Cowboys ended up passing on new Tennessee Titan Randy Moss on the waiver wire this week. Jones, known for being dollar-driven, would not have surprised many had he pursued the oft-cast off superstar. Thankfully, the Cowboys declined the opportunity to add to their disgruntled locker room.
What truly makes the Cowboys embarrassing is that their failure is so out of character. In other cases, teams do not have any tradition of winning (Clippers) or lack the financial means to perform (Pirates). The Cowboys have both, and yet still cannot find success.
From winning five Super Bowls in 24 years, to winning only one postseason game in the next 14 years. Just embarrassing.

Jackson White
Jackson White is a senior double majoring in political science and secondary education. This is his third year as a sports editor for TKS. Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year, Jackson worked for, writing feature stories and columns about high school and college baseball in central Illinois. Outside of the Publications Office, he is an information assistant for the Knox College Sports Information Department and a two-time all-Midwest Conference baseball player. Jackson is the recipient of five awards from the Illinois College Press Association, including two first place awards for sports game coverage and sports page design.

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