We're Over You, Jerry Jones.
Dear Jerry Jones,
How're you doing today? Pretty well, we imagine, what with the Cowboys still alive and in playoff contention and all. We figure you're pretty busy, too, preparing for next week's final game of the regular season. So we'll get to the point.
Congratulations! We've decided to name you Central Track's Asshat of the Year!
To what, you're likely wondering, do you owe this honor, considering the Cowboys' triumphant 2013 season, during which you claim to have done some of your “best work” as a the team's general manager?
Well, for starters, there's that specific quote. I mean, seriously? You honestly believe that this team, with its historically bad defense, inept coaching and penchant for blowing huge leads, represents some of your best work?
This year, your Cowboys have done the following: scored 48 points and lost; given up 329 yards to a single wide receiver while blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead; and coughed up a 26-3 halftime lead to a Packers team led by NFL legend Matt Flynn.
Worst of all was your team's roll-over-and-play-dead performance against the Saints on Sunday Night Football. Throughout the game, the defense that you did some of your “best work” to assemble was about as effectual as your plastic surgery regimen. The Saints scored 49 points, gained 625 yards and converted 40 first downs — an NFL record. It was an historically awful performance.
Your best work, indeed.
Hey, we get it. Since you pushed Jimmy Johnson out the door in 1994, the teams you've assembled have been, at best, mediocre. So, having a team that controls its playoff destiny heading into its final game? That must be pretty exciting. Thanks to an exceedingly bad division, the team you've run out there this year is still somewhat competitive — at least against the NFL's lesser squads. It isn't, by any objective measure, actually a good team, though. And your arrogance and incompetence in this regard has been particularly stunning this year.
The hints that this would be a special year began at the draft, where you, much to the apparent chagrin of your staff, traded down in the first round to get University of Wisconsin center Travis Frederick. Don't get us wrong; Frederick has been one of the Cowboys' few bright spots this year. It's just that you could have drafted him much later. According to most teams' draft boards, he was a third — or, at best, second — round talent. Frederick himself even admitted that he was surprised to go in the first round.
Alas, you gave up 13 spots in the first round — for the measly return of the 49ers' third round pick — and then proceeded to take a player you could have easily gotten on Day Two of the draft.
Honestly, we should be used to all this by now. Your propensity for making draft day moves just to make them is one of your most annoying habits. But the one you made this year was particularly galling.
And, truth be told, as bad as things have been both on the field and off this year, next year looks to be even worse. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, your team will be $31 million over the 2014 salary cap next season. This is almost entirely your fault, sir. Due to your being fined 2012 and 2013 cap space by the NFL for your shady maneuverings during the uncapped 2010 season, you had to move salary into the future. Next year, those moves come home to roost. You have almost $80 million committed next season — to just seven players.
Sure, you'll probably just restructure some contracts and kick the can one more time, but every time you do that, the future just looks gloomier and gloomier. There doesn't seem to be much chance of an improved outlook, either.
And with your admission that you intend to own the Cowboys and make personnel decisions for 15 to 20 more years, we have to tell you, Jerry: We've basically given up on the Cowboys for the foreseeable future.
For sports to be fun for us, we don't necessarily need our teams to be good. We do, however, need them to inspire at least some sort of hope.
This year, you've made it clear that your team — our team — can't do that anymore.
If that isn't an asshat thing for someone to do, then we don't know what is.
So, hey, congrats on that.
Stephen Young and the rest of the Central Track Staff