Dallas Cowboys And The Two Faces Of The Sports Media


Those of us that follow the Cowboys closely are familiar with issues that head coach and offensive play caller Jason Garrett had with clock management at the end of several winnable games over the past couple of seasons.  “Fire Garrett As Offensive Play Caller” the headlines scream right after these games.

Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on the sidelines against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The point being that the Cowboys would be better off with Garrett concentrating on the “big picture”, including clock management.  Fans jump on board big-time saying “yeah, Garrett is putting too much on his own shoulders and needs someone else to call the plays.  If only Jerry Jones were not so adamant about Garrett doing both.”

Fast forward to last week and we see that Jerry had an epiphany.  Jerry is now of the mind that the dual responsibility of head coach and offensive play caller are too much for his young coach and that someone else should call the offensive plays during the 2013 season.  Now we don’t know how this was decided internally by the Cowboys.  It appeared that Garrett was still planning on doing both when asked about it after the season ended.

But it would not be unlikely that the head coach met with the general manager and jointly came to the conclusion that the team would be better off if this responsibility were delegated to someone else, likely Bill Callahan who already has the title of offensive coordinator.  And this is what happens all the time in the NFL.  The GM is the head coach’s boss, and just like your boss during a performance review, will recommend changes in how you do your job, or what responsibilities you keep or delegate, in order to be able to do a better job.

But when Jerry, during a press conference at the Senior Bowl, announced that Garrett will likely not be the play caller in 2013, the headlines screamed “Garrett Gets Demoted” or, “Garrett Loses Respect Of Team Along With Play Calling Role”.  These headlines are from the same people that were calling for Garrett to delegate this role not so long ago!

As a result, the fans are in a tizzy saying “yeah, that Jerry Jones, overstepping his bounds again and doing things that hurt the team.  Garrett is losing the players’ respect and they won’t play well for him” and “Jerry is setting Garrett up to fail.  He’s already hired most of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff and is just lining things up to bring in former Bucs coaches Jon Gruden or Lovie Smith as the new head coach.”

First, let me say that if Jerry wanted to fire Garrett and replace him with someone else he would go ahead and do it.  He wouldn’t have to wait for Smith or Gruden, they are available now.  This team does not have time to play games like that, which would ensure another season of mediocrity.  On the contrary, Jerry wants Garrett to succeed and whether the decisions he makes help or hurt, time will tell.

Secondly, the sports media sees it as their job to rile the fans up.  That’s what sells newspapers, ensures a lot of hits on their website or gets fans to tune in to their show.  If you watch closely enough you will see that they change sides on an issue all the time.  Whatever it takes to keep fans agitated and reading their columns or listening to their opinions.

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Over and above that, there seems to be a genuine dislike of Jerry Jones, and/or the Dallas Cowboys, by many sports columnists.  While we are on that subject, no one seems to hate them more than that big newspaper in Dallas.  Try reading their columns and find something they have good to say about Jerry or the Cowboys.

The bottom line is this, many of these sports columnists that present themselves as experts on the NFL and/or the Dallas Cowboys, also purport to be experts on the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball.  The next time you start to run with one of their opinions on the Cowboys ask yourself, is the level of expertise even possible?  Or is it more like the old saying “jack-of-all-trades, master of none”?