Monday, December 2, 2013

Decade of Futility - December Here Again to Haunt Snake-Bitten Cowboys


And so here the Cowboys are again, facing their bitterest rival of the 21st Century: December.
Since 2000, the Cowboys are 23-32 during the final month of the calendar year, and have only two winning marks to their credit.
In which seasons did the Cowboys post a winning record in December, and who were the quarterbacks?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Decade of Futility - Cundiff's Thanksgiving Day Shank Leads To Loss, Collapse For 2005 Cowboys

More Thanksgiving memories: Four days after successfully connecting on a 56-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions, Cowboys place-kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 34-yard fourth quarter trey that would have beaten AFC West-leading Denver on Thanksgiving. Instead, the game went into overtime, and the Broncos escaped with the victory following a lengthy scamper from tailback Ron Dayne that reached the Dallas 6-yard line.
The loss was the first of three in the final five weeks for the Cowboys, as they lost their grip on the NFC East, and missed out on the playoffs yet again.
You can read more about this late-season crash in my new book Decade of Futility.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Excerpt From Ryan Bush's Book "Decade of Futility" - Why Bill Parcells Chose Vinny Testaverde Over Drew Henson

(Author's Note: Until Tony Romo was inserted into the Dallas Cowboys' starting lineup in October of 2006, the name Drew Henson was one of constant musing for the Cowboy Faithful.  Why wasn't Henson given a fair chance to quarterback America's Team?  Why didn't Bill Parcells bench Vinny Testaverde and let Henson play the final handful of games during the long and arduous 2004 season?
In my new book "Decade of Futility" I tackled these concerns head-on.  Below you will read an excerpt from Chapter 12 that  will not only reveal what direction Bill Parcells was ultimately forced to go during Henson's rookie campaign, but why Henson didn't fit into Parcells' immediate plans.)

From Pages 101-103 of Decade of Futility:

How to employ his team for the remaining eight games became Parcells' primary concern.  Without a sign of initiative from the players to take a step forward during a rough 3-5 start, planning for the future was really all Parcells was left to do for the next two months.
How to go about this was where it became sticky, because stuck in the middle of this situation was rookie quarterback Drew Henson, a player Dallas picked up in a trade with Houston in March for the worth of a third-round draft pick in 2005.  Like Chad Hutchinson, Henson played college football at a top-tier university (Michigan) but wound-up heading for a big payday on the baseball diamond when his collegiate career ended.  Less than four years into his contract with the Yankees, Henson decided he'd had enough and threw down his glove for one last chance at captaining an NFL huddle.

As the losses continued to pile up at an alarming rate, the cries for Henson to be given a chance became increasingly louder and more demanding.  What good is going to be accomplished with a quarterback who will turn 41 in November when in a lost season?  We need a quarterback, so why not see what the kid's got?
Upon further review, Parcells realized his team stood farther behind the eight-ball than the absence of a franchise quarterback.  Much farther.  So much so that he decided to chunk the 4-3 defensive scheme that they had used during their previous season when they finished ranked No. 1 in yards allowed, for the 3-4 scheme that he used in New England and New York.  Having Testaverde remain at quarterback promised to aid in the process, while also giving him a clearer read on who to keep around on the offensive side of the ball.

Now that Terry Glenn was lodging on the portico of the injured reserve and Antonio Bryant was getting chewed up in Cleveland, rookie wide-outs Terrance Copper and Patrick Crayton, along with Randal Williams, stood to see extensive playing time for the remainder of the season.  Parcells needed to know who, if anyone, he should hang onto.  Properly gauging their improvements promised to be worse than looking into a rusty mirror with a rookie quarterback directing passes toward them.  A rookie would also allow defenses to lock-in on an already demoralized rushing attack that promised to receive a shot in the arm when Julius Jones returned from injury.
Too many circumstances against Henson compelled Parcells to stick with Testaverde in the face of critics and hecklers.  Though fans and columnists couldn't see it, Parcells envisioned this decision as a quicker route to complete the massive roster overhaul that he began on day-one and get the team back on the competitive track.  This broken record was more than just about the quarterback, so why complicate matters in seasons to come by making it all about him?
In today's NFL, a requirement for a defense to get off the field on third-down is to have three reliable cornerbacks on the roster.  At this juncture, the name of Terence Newman remained the only one to qualify.
Darren Woodson's back injury meant safety Roy Williams was joined in the defensive backfield by Tony Dixon, a royal pass-coverage liability, leaving another gaping hole in Dallas' once-strong pass defense.  And up-front, the three veteran linemen of Marcellus Wiley, La'Roi Glover and Greg Ellis looked incapable of forcing the quarterback out of the pocket.
The linebackers composed the true backbone of the defense.  Eack of Dexter Coakley, Dat Nguyen and Al Singleton were considered undersized by some, but used their quickness and uncanny instincts  to nose out the ball-carrier.  Coakley was a three-time Pro Bowler since being drafted by Dallas in 1997 out of Appalachian State, and Singleton joined the Cowboys after helping Tampa's No. 1 ranked defense swallow the Raiders whole in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Nguyen, the middle-linebacker, was the smallest of them all, but forced his way into the starting lineup in 2001 for his knack of making plays.  Parcells once referred to Nguyen as his "football-playin' dude," and anyone who ever saw Nguyen play in Dalas or down at College Station with the Aggies of Texas A&M can relate with the head coach.

Loose chinking surrounding this threesome significantly affected their effectiveness and made even these defensive standouts subject to Parcells' trial by fire that was to come.  While Parcells' first year was largely spent hammering his mentality down the players' throats, now was the time to instill the system, not to mention a bit more talent, to match.
Starting with the next game against division-leading Philadelphia, the Cowboys had a package that used the 3-4 and many of its gap-control techniques installed into the weekly game-plan to begin this evolutionary changeover.  It did little to confuse the Eagles, as they whipped the Cowboys on a Monday night in Texas Stadium by a 49-21 mark.  Baltimore's offensively-challenged unit made it look just as easy the next week, winning 30-10 in a game that Testaverde suffered a second-half rib injury and was forced to give way to Henson.
With Testaverde still ailing from his injury four days earlier, it was Henson who started on Thanksgiving Day against Chicago for the 3-7 Cowboys.  By halftime he was on the bench, and Testaverde was back out on the field helping Dallas pull away at the end and win 21-7.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Decade of Futility - 2002 Cowboys Bunch Imploded After Thanksgiving Day Win Over Redskins

Rookie quarterback Chad Hutchinson won his second consecutive start on Thanksgiving Day 2002 in a 27-20 conquering of the Redskins, leading to talk of a playoff push for the 5-7 Cowboys.
Ten days later, Hutchinson tried to make it three in a row against the streaking 49ers at Texas Stadium, but was relegated to bystander status as the team around him imploded in the fourth quarter. That early-December loss spelled a disgraceful end to a Dave Campo regime built on hot-air and surreal expectations. Read about it in Chapter 8 of Decade of Futility.

Bill Parcells' Draft-Day Acumen Key Reason For Dallas Cowboys' Turnaround

While his Hall of Fame bust strongly suggests Bill Parcells knew his X's & O's, the Tuna also had a keen eye for raw talent. This knack for finding young playmakers was a vital part in his turnaround of a defunct Dallas franchise.
In four years with the Cowboys, Parcells' combined draft day haul included a long list of Pro Bowlers, future Hall of Famers, and solid contributors that helped lead America's Team back to relevance.
Players on this list inlcude Terence Newman, Jason Witten, Bradie James, Julius Jones, Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Jay Ratlifff, Chris Canty, Kevin Burnett, Marion Barber and Jason Hatcher.
And that's without mentioning the rookie free-agent signing of Tony Romo in 2003, and the free-agent pickup of punter Mat McBriar in 2004.
Both Witten and Ware will likely be Hall of Fame shoo-ins when they hang up their cleats, and Romo is probably a Super Bowl away from Canton consideration. While the odds of Romo ever accomplishing such a feat seem more unlikely with each passing day, no radio talk show host will be blaming Parcells if he doesn't. They'll be blaming Jerry.
Oh, well. At least we all know Jerry will be listening when they do.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

But Who Motivates Jerry Jones The Most?

While the remaining 31 NFL General Managers are watching film, or poring over rosters, or meeting with the head coach, Jerry Jones wants everyone to know he's busy motivating himself...by listening to sports-talk radio.
It's just me, but, I'm wondering why nobody of the press bothered to ask him where Randy Galloway ranks on his list of favorite hosts?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jerry Jones Promises Jason Garrett Another Year. But Does He Mean It?

Jerry Jones promised every one yesterday that Jason Garrett would return as head coach next season. He promised as much for Chan Gailey in 1999, only to boot Gailey out the door after a quick playoff exit.
Does Jerry actually mean what he says this time around?

Expectations For Dallas Cowboys WR Reggie Swinton Misfounded

Reporters simply relay what they have been told, and that’s all that Chip Brown was doing when, during the 2001 preseason, he wrote of Cowboys wideout Reggie Swinton, “The 6-foot Swinton fits the big-receiver profile the Cowboys are looking for.”
In no way is this an indictment of the former Dallas Morning News staff writer. Rather it shows the delusion that the Cowboys' front-office was living under, depicting Swinton as a “big” receiver that could complement the sideline skills of Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail by going across the middle for catches, ala Keyshawn Johnson.
Even while competing against the likes of Darrin Chiaverini, Wane McGarity and Damon Hodge, Swinton never managed to make it as a receiver with the Cowboys. Nor did he make it as one anywhere else.
His lanky frame and superior vision enabled him to enjoy a 7-year career as a return specialist with Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit and Arizona, but was little more than an afterthought within any offensive game plan.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Decade of Futility - Pros, Cons & Misfortunes of Dallas Cowboys' Trade for Joey Galloway Unlocked In New Book

Its details forgotten by the throngs, its merits argued by sports historians, the Dallas Cowboys' trade for wide receiver Joey Galloway in February of 2000 is still a point of contention for some even today. Was Galloway really worth two first round draft picks like Jerry Jones thought, or was the trade a complete wash?
By breaking the philosophy of the trade down into several increments, Decade of Futility lays this argument to rest once and for all with new, never-before-published material that accounts for every piece of the puzzle: words, actions, production, and misfortune. Crisp and refreshingly straight-forward, Chapter 4 of Decade of Futility simplifies the mysteriously complex Joey Galloway Trade.

For a hard-copy of Decade of Futility, click here:

For the Kindle version of Decade of Futility, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Decade-of-Futility-ebook/dp/B00DXFGLSE/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373808496&sr=1-1&keywords=decade+of+futility

Friday, October 11, 2013

Decade of Futility - Dallas Cowboys' Worst Losses of Century: No. 25 Brady, Patriots Bring Reality Back To Dallas

Whenever the Cowboys start thinking and talking big, it’s been proven that fans would do themselves a favor by expecting the not-so-big. After all, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News had it correct when he observed, “The best are held to a higher standard. The Patriots live up to it week after week. The Cowboys? Still a work in progress.”
A game pitting two 5-0 teams against each other, this 48-27 New England victory was not only an indication of just how good Tom Brady and the Patriots were, but a stark reminder that Wade Phillips’ Cowboys may not have been all they were cracked up to be.
Brady, on the way to NFL MVP honors, had a field day against a helpless Dallas defense, connecting on 31 passes for 388 yards, while becoming only the sixth quarterback to pass for five touchdowns against the Cowboys. And he made it appear all too easy, compelling Sherrington to declare that “Brady continues to play at a level with which most of us observers are not familiar.”

The New England defense, on the other hand, provided the rest of the league with the memo on how to slow down Dallas’ vaunted offense: put pressure on Tony Romo. The Cowboys entered the game with the league’s No. 1 ranked offense, but posted season-lows in yards (283), first downs (13), plays (46) and points (20). They had the ball for only 21 minutes, 45 seconds.
The Cowboys fell behind 14-0 early but actually took the lead in the second quarter thanks to a Romo-to-Terrell Owens touchdown and a Jason Hatcher fumble recovery that he returned for another score. Yet it was a barrage of fourth-quarter penalties (Dallas finished the game with 12 total) that allowed New England to end the game on a 27-3 run, score on their final five possessions, and win going away.
Even while scrambling for his life, Romo guided the Cowboys offense to the New England five-yard line with ten minutes remaining, attempting to cut into the 38-24 deficit. But when his third-down pass for Sam Hurd fell incomplete, head coach Wade Phillips inexplicably called off the dogs, settling for a meaningless field goal. The Cowboys did not score again.

For the first time all season, Romo failed to crack the 200-yard passing mark, one of many shortcomings that failed to dampen the spirits inside the Dallas locker room, as some players spoke as if some moral victory had been achieved by hanging with the mighty Patriots for all of three quarters. Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton, emboldened by nobody knows what, guaranteed a Dallas-New England rematch in the Super Bowl.
As it turned out, Crayton was only halfway correct. The Patriots were a Super team indeed, marching into Glendale, Az. in early February with an unprecedented 18-0 record.
The Cowboys, as the tape revealed, were not. Owners of an NFC-best 13-3 record, Crayton and teammates became the first No. 1 seed to lose a Divisional playoff game, falling to the Giants in ignominious fashion at Texas Stadium.
The best teams are at their best against the best teams in the biggest moments.
The Cowboys had yet to ascend to such a plateau, something that only an afternoon with Brady’s Bunch could convince the throngs of.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Decade of Futility - Injury To Michael Irvin The Undisputed End of Dallas Cowboys' Dynasty

Historians will forever dispute the starting point of the Dallas Cowboys' slide into mediocrity. But nobody will deny that Michael Irvin's career-ending injury suffered on this date in 1999 was the single event that significantly accelerated the process.
The 1999 Cowboys had won each of their first three games, and were in Philadelphia trying to make it four in a row when Irvin caught a short pass over the middle and was tackled hard by Eagles defender Tim Hauck. The rest of the story is a mixture of misfortune and infamy, as Irvin was carted off the field to chorus of cheers from the Philly faithful, and America's Team vanished never to return.
Dallas finished the season at a 5-8 clip and, though they made the playoffs as a Wild-Card, have never been the same since.

Read the full story in Decade of Futility

For a hard-copy of Decade of Futility, click here:

For the Kindle version of Decade of Futility, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Decade-of-Futility-ebook/dp/B00DXFGLSE/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373808496&sr=1-1&keywords=decade+of+futility

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Decade of Futility - With Dallas Cowboys Defense Struggling, One Can Only Wonder What's Next For Jerry Jones

                                                                         Jerry Jones

Emboldened by another Week 17 belly-flop with a playoff berth on the line, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proceeded to shake his defensive staff up a bit this past January to ensure his team's well being in 2013.  Jones believed last year's bunch was good enough to make a deep push into January, and was hard-pressed to figure out why they couldn't even get past a banged-up Redskins team on the final day of the regular season.
To admit that his Cowboys were probably the NFL's most injury-plagued team in December wouldn't cut ice with Cowboy Nation, so he thought.  At the end of the day nobody really cared if the Dallas defense was forced to mix and match 36 different players together.
To sit still and go into the off-season as if nothing had happened would, Jones felt, give the wrong impression to fans, and cast Jones as an owner who feels satisfied with mediocrity.

                                                                         Rob Ryan

To avoid such a personal catastrophe, Jones duly fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, citing poor coaching and a corruptible scheme as the reasons for the change.  Replacement Monte Kiffin, Jones promised, had the wisdom and the scheme to turn the Dallas defense around in a heartbeat...
...And here we are, five weeks into the 2013 season, and the Cowboys' defense is on pace to shatter nearly every record of inefficiency known to football man.
Yes, Dallas is sitting at exactly the same spot they were last season through five games (2-3), only minus a capable defense.
Sophomore cornerback Morris Claiborne claims that his persistent struggles are a product of Kiffin's heavy reliance on zone pass coverage.
Outside linebacker Bruce Carter was a superstar in the making under Ryan's tutelage, but now finds himself on the bench due to poor performance.
Like last season, pass rusher extraordinaire Demarcus Ware is suffering from several ailments, and is limping around on the field.
And the team just released veteran safety Will Allen on Tuesday.  Allen was slotted to be a starter in training camp, but never felt comfortable in Kiffin's Tampa 2 scheme.
In short, the same Dallas defense that Jones praised during training camp is now a unit on broken crutches, seemingly getting worse with each and every game.
 Go figure.
Jerry, for the record, has said that he's going to cut Kiffin and staff a little slack.  For now, anyway.
But what will Jones do if Drew Brees and Eli Manning post over 400 yards through the air come November?  Will he fly off the couch and start all over again on defense this off-season?  Or will he dismiss the 73-year old Kiffin over the Thanksgiving holiday and hand the playbook over to line coach Rod Marinelli?
Specifics are hard to decipher at this date, but it's safe to bet that change will be forthcoming.  Since this seems to be a do-or-die year for head coach Jason Garrett, then it will probably be sweeping change.
It would be against Jones' nature to allow players and coaches to work through it while accumulating more talent next off-season.  Just ask Rob Ryan.
Persistence is one thing. Continuity is another. Too often, Jerry Jones finds himself torn between the two, forgetting that a football franchise benefits from a healthy helping of each.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Hindsight, Tony Romo's Interception Puts A Fork Into 2013 Dallas Cowboys

It's only Week 5, but did Tony Romo just throw an entire season away Sunday against Denver? History would indicate in the affirmative.
The Cowboys have never qualified for the postseason in the Jerry Jones era after starting a season 2-3.
Though the Cowboys are now breaking records seemingly every week, there is little reason to believe this record will fall to the ground this December. Even in the miserably weak NFC East.
Reality has become startlingly evident at Valley Ranch during the past 24 hours. Each passing Sunday should only lend to it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Decade of Futility - 2-2 Record Only Familiar Fixture For Struggling Cowboys

Jerry Jones would have everyone believe that his Dallas Cowboys are an elite club of the football variety.  No other NFL team, so his story goes, has the combination of talent, coaching, and will-power that can flatten opponents on a weekly basis.  Dallas, he proudly confesses, is a veritable palace filled with pigskin magicians that work the wonders of that managerial wizard ruling from the pinnacle of Mount Jerry.
If it weren’t for Sunday afternoons in autumn he’d have the entire world convinced. But Sunday came, and Sunday went with the truth too bold and glaring in detail to hide.  The 2013 Cowboys look all too similar to the many other squads of the past fifteen years that seems to have defined Jones’ rule in Dallas. 
By a 30-21 score, the Cowboys were officially out-coached and out-played by a San Diego Chargers team that was unanimously declared as “mediocre” by the national media before the game.  As a result, Dallas now stands at the exact same place they have stood at the quarter-mark in each of the past two seasons with Jason Garrett as head coach, smack-dab in the middle of mediocrity’s median, groping for answers and footing with a record of 2-2.
Jones spent many an hour this past off-season assembling his new-look coaching staff.  73-year old Monte Kiffin was brought in from the college ranks to fix what Jones perceived to be a broken defensive unit under Rob Ryan.  And Bill Callahan replaced Jason Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator.
With early voting now complete, Jones’ fresh approach has been far from refreshing for the Cowboys.
Against two Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks (Eli Manning & Philip Rivers) in September, the Dallas defense has allowed more than 850 yards combined through the air.  And each of Manning and Rivers managed to toss three touchdowns against Dallas.
Help doesn’t appear to be on the horizon, either.  Anthony Spencer has been placed on IR, fellow defensive end Demarcus Ware is now dealing with stingers and a strained back, while stud linebacker Bruce Carter has proven to be susceptible to the big play in pass coverage.
Offensively, the Cowboys rushing attack is inconsistent from week to week, hinging largely on how committed Callahan wants to be to it.  And Tony Romo, though avoiding impulse throws, has yet to post a 300-yard game this season.
Receiver Miles Austin is now dealing with another nagging hamstring injury, left tackle Tyron Smith was banged up in the fourth quarter against San Diego, and rookie wideout Terrance Williams continues to suffer from lapses of concentration.
Callahan’s halftime adjustments have also proven to be ineffective.  Through four games, the Dallas offense has managed to score a total of 23 points after intermission.
From the smoke and haze of this less-than-inspiring start has come the realization that the Cowboys are a team with an uncertain identity.  Callahan seems hesitant to commit to running back Demarco Murray, yet has proven equally reluctant to let Romo go downfield with the ball.
Question marks pop up at nearly every position on the defensive side of the ball.  Can Jason Hatcher continue to play at a high level with Ware at less than full speed?  Is Mo Claiborne playing hurt, or is he suffering from a sophomore jinx.  Either way, he has proven to be anything but reliable thus far.  Can Kiffin patch-up the apparent weaknesses that have been exposed at the linebacker level?
When cast in the light of Jones’ lofty expectations, September was a month of regression for the Cowboys.  In search of that ever elusive Super Bowl, Dallas managed to turn a powerful offense into an aesthetically-challenged menagerie, and a struggling defense into an unholy question mark.
Not that there’s been any damage in the won-loss department.  The Cowboys are sitting at .500 today, the lone mark of familiarity for a club surrounded by unfamiliar struggles.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Decade of Futility - New Dallas Cowboys Book "Decade of Futility" Now Available Through Barnes & Noble

You can now purchase the new book "Decade of Futility: How The Leadership of Jerry Jones Transformed America's Team into a 21st Century Debacle, Resulting in The Worst Decade in Dallas Cowboys' History" online through Barnes & Noble.
Get your copy today!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Can Cowboys Beat Chargers? Yes, But Don't Bet On It.

Many a skeptical comment has been offered up toward the high throne of numerous indomitable statisticians of this world from the humble paradise of self-proclaimed realists.  Football, it has been argued, isn’t a game of numbers – such as completion percentage and rushing attempts – but rather a game defined by the almighty alphabet – as in Ws and Ls.
Personally, I’ve always wondered if the realists would care to define the amount of Ws and Ls in some measure that defies numerical process.  But that’s splitting straws, so I’m told, so I feel compelled to bring the conversation back to present reality in a fashion that pleases far more than one, and certainly not less than all.
So let’s talk some Cowboys football.
What about the Cowboys? you ask. Will they run their record to 3-1 for the first time in five years with a win over San Diego on Sunday?
Well, according to statistical analysis of previous games, it has been concluded that their hopes of getting away from the sleepy .500 doldrums that the patrons of Valley Ranch have so long loved are... [drum roll] ...next to nil.  Nada, as in zero.  Zero as in L.  L as in .500.  .500 as in Jerry World.
The 21st Century has been unkind to the Cowboys in a plethora of fashions, but particularly when it comes to winning a season’s fourth game.  For what it’s worth, in thirteen attempts since 2000, the Cowboys have managed a woeful 3-10 mark in the fourth contest of a season. 
The only wins during that span have come against woefully inferior opponents.  Dallas nipped the Kurt Warner-less Rams 13-10 in 2002 on a late Billy Cundiff field goal, manhandled Arizona a year later by a 24-7 score, and then annihilated a poor St. Louis club 35-7 in 2007.
The losses, while plentiful, have certainly not lacked for drama.  Included in the list is Terrell Owens’ dance on the star at Texas Stadium in 2000, and Tony Romo’s second-half collapse against the Lions in 2011.
Among the ten defeats is an 0-3 mark against AFC West opponents, which should attract attention considering the divisional locale of this week’s foe.
San Diego may not be a playoff team this year, but then again they might be.  Each of their three games has come down to the final seconds, and if not for a fourth quarter meltdown in the secondary against Tennessee, they would share an identical 2-1 record with Dallas.
Will the Cowboys get the W this weekend?
Just look at the numbers to find the likely letter.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Decade of Futility - When It Comes To Super Bowl Predictions, Nobody Is More Forthcoming Than Jerry Jones

During a late July "State of The Cowboys" address, Jerry Jones showed several signs that three consecutive seasons without a playoff berth were taking its toll, admitting that the Cowboys "have got a lot of work to do."
Yet, being the cheerleader that he is, he couldn't help but talk about how much better the team is at this juncture than a year ago, and even managed to insert a comment - though tongue-in-cheek it may have seemed - about making a run at the Super Bowl.
This pre-training camp talk about a push to the Super Bowl is a Jones trademark. During the writing of Decade of Futility, I was shocked to learn just how much so. Since the "One Year Away" Cowboys shocked the world in 1992 by destroying Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII by a 52-17 score, Jones has neglected to thrill listeners with Super aspirations a grand total of four times. That's four out of a possible twenty-one opportunities. Truly incredible.
Even more incredible are the circumstances surrounding those times when he deemed it better to be humble, rather than bold. The first occurrence was in the wake of Troy Aikman's retirement in 2001, when all the Cowboys were leaning upon was the unproven right arm of Georgia rookie Quincy Carter. Yes, Jones was magnanimous that day in his respect for the dark hour that his Cowboys found themselves in, foregoing any Super Bowl predictions, prophesying instead for a ho-hum mediocre campaign filled with only - yes, only - ten wins.
The only other times that Jones was silent on any personal visions of impending glory just happened to be during the first three years of Big Bill Parcells' four-year reign of pigskin terror, when Jones was effectively kept under wraps.
Jones talks so boldly because he wants the fans to know that he cares, and that he - in his position as the team's General Manager - has pieced together a roster that everyone will be proud of. He envisions himself as the sharpshooter in a darkened gym that calls his own shot on one three-pointer after another.
More importantly, is the fact that Jones believes these predictions are within the bounds of reason, even when others around him are pleading with him for patience, and temperance.
The passing years have revealed that Jones is oblivious to any personal prohibitions related to drinking that most seductive of drinks, Cowboy Kool-Aid. The Cowboys have reaped the rewards this millennium of changing head coaches a mind-boggling four times. Five losing seasons, countless melodramas, one measly playoff victory, and a decade (2000-2009) that houses the lowest winning percentage in franchise history.
And there, impervious to reality, criticism, and countless glaring statistics, stands the Cowboys owner, handing out a beverage that has enslaved the innocent and gullible for more than a decade. Yes, drinks are always on the house at Valley Ranch, no matter the hour, the venue, or circumstance.

Read more about Jerry Jones and the Worst Decade in Dallas Cowboys History in my new book Decade of Futility.


For a hard-copy of Decade of Futility, click here:

For the Kindle version of Decade of Futility, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Decade-of-Futility-ebook/dp/B00DXFGLSE/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373808496&sr=1-1&keywords=decade+of+futility

Decade of Futility - Did Bill Parcells Retire, Or Did Jerry Jones Force Him Out?

 Though tempered by the passing years, there is still a prominent negative attitude by many Cowboy fans (and football fans in general) toward Bill Parcells’ body of work during his four year stay in Dallas. After appearing in a combined three Super Bowls with the Giants and Patriots, and an AFC Championship Game in 1998 while the head coach of the New York Jets, the 34-32 mark that he now has strapped to his back from those days with the silver and blue are a burden that some said would keep him out of Canton.
So how is Parcells dealt with in Decade of Futility?
Good question.
Though cast in both lights at different junctures, Parcells is ultimately portrayed in a positive light.
Better question.
For me, it is hard to think of Parcells as the Dallas Cowboys head coach without thinking of his assistant coach Sean Payton too. Without Payton, it’s safe to say that Tony Romo would have likely joined Mike Shanahan in Denver instead of banking on the ineffectiveness of Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, and Clint Stoerner to make a way for him with the Cowboys way back in 2003.
Only Payton would have the gumption to leave a glorious franchise that had all but guaranteed him the head coaching position on the day that Parcells should finally call it quits, and then go east to a city demoralized by Hurricane Katrina to try and pull a perennial pigskin stinker out of the Gulf of Mexico.
Only Payton had the knowledge and expertise necessary to expose the Cowboys’ 2006 defense for what it was - specifically, a good unit that lacked speed and gumption at the linebacker level – and to make wonder-boy Tony Romo look like a practice squad quarterback. Payton’s New Orleans Saints whipped the ’Boys in Irving on a Sunday night by a 42-17 score, giving the world an up-close view at how to attack Parcells’ bunch.


 Thanks to Payton, the Cowboys finished the 2006 season with four losses in five games, including a horrible 39-31 defeat at the hands of a 2-13 Lions team in Week 17.
An exchange between Payton and Parcells comes to mind often when pondering this topic. It was when Payton was preparing to make official his decision to become the Saints’ head coach, and Parcells brought him into his office to have a final word. Instead of reminiscing or giving way to a long, emotional speech about comraderie, Parcells got right to the point. Said Parcells, “You’ve got to find out what’s been keeping that team from winning. You’ve got to find it out, and fix it right away. Or else you’ll be looking for another job in three years.”
For Parcells in Dallas, that was a dual-pronged problem. He not only needed to cure the disease in the locker room, but needed to change the instinctive philosophy of the owner and general manager as well.
History tells us that Parcells was able to turn the locker room inside out and produce a team that could play with the big boys of the NFL, but was as helpless as the mortals before him that came up against the iron will of Jerry Jones.
If someone were to ask me what my personal favorite chapter of Decade of Futility is, I would have to say that it is chapter 16. Dubbed “The Agenda,” this chapter deals specifically with the divorce of Jerry & Bill in a completely unique fashion.
How exactly these two notoriously head-strong individuals parted company has been a mystery for more than six years now, for the sole reason that neither party concerned wants to talk about it. Lured by this silence, I spent more than two years researching just this one chapter, probing into every possible corner for any crumb of evidence I could get my hands on.
The crumb that I finally alighted upon was anything but expected, but when I tested it, it answered every question I could throw at it.
With a lack of prominent facts to grab hold of, an interested public often starts from a hypothetical viewpoint to try and come up with the correct answer to this problem. In Decade of Futility I do the exact opposite, focusing, instead, on the state of Valley Ranch at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
Now, I willingly admit that my ultimate conclusion of the matter is merely a theory, rather than a hard-boiled verified fact. Such is the way when many of the facts available are shadows.
If there is one chapter I think absolutely should be read in this book, it is this one. Not only is it informative, but it will change the way you view Bill Parcells forever.


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Decade of Futility - Chad Hutchinson Debacle Another Case of Poor Timing For Dallas Cowboys

Chad Hutchinson landed in the wrong place at the wrong time when he landed in Dallas. Having not been under center for four years, Hutchinson needed time to not only adapt to the speed of the pro game, but to the game of football in general.
He was afforded neither. Hutchinson was starting by the halfway point of his rookie season, and was expected to turn a 3-4 Cowboys club into a playoff beast.
Hutchinson's inexperience, coupled with a porous offensive line, contributed to a miserable second half of the 2002 season in which expectations collided head-on with reality...and destruction.  By the time the smoke cleared from their combustible 5-11 finish, the Cowboys had a brand-new coaching staff, and Hutchinson was looking for any semblance of a support system.
Hutchinson lost his starting job to Quincy Carter the following August in a QB duel that some suggest wasn't nearly as close as new head coach Bill Parcells suggested it was. He never started a game for the Cowboys again.
 Read more about Chad Hutchinson in Chapter 6 of Decade of Futility.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Decade of Futility - Dallas Cowboys Safety Roy Williams Odd Man Out On Defense

When the Cowboys drafted Oklahoma safety Roy Williams with the eighth selection of the 2002 draft, they were expecting a good player that would one day find his way to greatness. What they found instead was a good player that quickly became something of an NFL legend.
With a nose for the ball and a tenacious spirit near the line of scrimmage, Williams was a terror to all opponents, as well as a rising star that many projected would land one day in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But as it turned out, Williams' meteoric flight in Dallas was suddenly grounded when philosophy collided head-on with priority, penning a sad tale of misfortune that is both anticlimactic, and every bit of unfortunate.
Read the full story in Chapter 10 of Decade of Futility.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Decade of Futility - Chad Hutchinson Was Once Said To Be The Next Roger Staubach

Nicknamed "Roger The Dodger" for an uncanny elusive streak while on the run, Roger Staubach is 
recognized by many as the greatest Dallas Cowboys player of all time.
How did it happen then that Cowboys rookie quarterback Chad Hutchinson - a pure pocket passer if there ever was one - found himself mentioned multiple times in the same breath with Staubach before he even took to the field?
Find out in Chapter 6 of Decade of Futility.

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