Never did Jerry Jones imagine that on Dec. 11, 2020, he would entertain a question about whether it’s time for Jones the Dallas Cowboys‘ owner to fire Jones the Cowboys’ general manager.
Yet, here we are.
“When you work for yourself, there’s no firing him. You gotta change him. And he’s gotta change the direction he’s going,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan, per The Athletic. “I’ve worked all my life for myself, but I’ve had to change directions many times. So, I will change. I can change.”
He continued: “Do you have any idea how much I’d write a check for if I knew for sure I could get that Lombardi Trophy? It is the foremost thing. Not money. I had money when I bought the Cowboys. … There has never been but one thing, and that is win.”
Cowboys Nation knows better by now; there was never a 0.1% chance of Jones relieving himself of his day-to-day organizational duties. But a large swath of the fan base nonetheless hoped he’d accept culpability for what’s been a historically futile season.
“I will say this, like anybody, you got a lot of do-overs, I’d like to start again on how we approach our defense this year. I’d like to start that over again. I’d start right there the first day,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, per The Athletic.
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Obvious (But Unforgivable) Regret
In a roundabout way, everything flows back to Jones. He hired head coach Mike McCarthy, who then brought aboard defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, whose unit ranks dead last in scoring and against the run — a primary culprit for the team’s 3-9 record.
Jones also “picked the groceries,” to borrow Bill Parcells’ legendary phrase. He green-lit the addition of nose tackle Dontari Poe, who was released midseason due to poor performance. He opted to sign defensive end Everson Griffen, who was shipped away prior to the trade deadline. He eschewed a blue-chip safety in free agency or the draft. He chose to talk up linebacker Jaylon Smith despite a wildly unimpressive year. He stood idly by Nolan, refusing to make changes to McCarthy’s staff.
Jones is free to point his finger, but he must do so in front of a mirror. Preferably under a glaring spotlight. With arrows bouncing above his head. And his mythical do-over button fading into a mirage.
Because he — and he alone — set this operation into motion in 1989, and it won’t stop any time soon even through his veil of woulda-coulda-shouldas.
“Every bit of it,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan when asked what he’d change about the coaching arrangements. “And, right past that, go right to your general manager. Coming through the door the GM was eye-to-eye hiring the head coach … talking about how we’re going to approach when he walks through the door and where he was going to go from there. That’s what you do, and that, obviously, didn’t work for us this year.”
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Leave it to Jones to rationalize the Week 15 rescheduling into a positive. For the first time in the club’s six-decade history, the Cowboys were removed from Sunday Night Football and placed into the early-afternoon time slot for their home game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFL replaced 49ers-Cowboys with Browns-Giants, which adds another layer of embarrassment. Unless you ask the ultimate showman, who feels he’s merely sacrificing for the greater good of the sport.
“Some of the biggest ratings we’ve ever had have been on Sunday afternoon,” Jones said, per The Athletic. “That’s not a bad strategy to put the Cowboys in a potentially lesser slot and have more eyeballs watch the NFL.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL