Not that owner and general manager Jerry Jones needs to put in an application for the Dallas Cowboys, but I think he deserves to hang on to his general manager job.
Like head coach Jason Garrett‘s five-year extension to stay in Dallas, Jones too has earned himself a five-year renewal and the right to sign his signature with some new ink.
Let me start by saying I am not a Jones sympathizer, or a fan. I’ve written many jokes about him. Many. Bad or good, I own the words, and love them like they are my children. No apologies. It’s a great sadness of mine to realize that I haven’t written new jokes about Jones in a long, long time.
There hasn’t been an opportunity.
More to The Man Than Just His Johnnie Walker
After surprising the socks off the football world in 2014, Jerry Jones earned the Executive of the Year award from the Professional Football Writers of America shortly after a crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoff round.
Nobody, including Jones himself, thought the Cowboys would ride into January with a 12-4 record and a division title. And as the 2014 progressed, we realized more and more that Dallas wasn’t a false trend about to crash down, or an accident waiting to happen, nor were they a gimmick who fooled others by wearing 1990’s Dallas Cowboys costumes.
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Dallas was for real.
Of the four teams left standing in the playoffs, the Cowboys defeated two and were a New York call away from beating a third.
Jones, just like his staff, deserves just as much credit as anyone else.
Gluing the Staff to AT&T Stadium
There was something wrong with AT&T Stadium; it was a pristine building that masked decades of piled up mediocrity into glamorous features we just had to see to believe.
What we were really seeing was the owner’s attempt to slow the decay that was happening underneath the organization’s skin.
To reverse the flow of decay, Jones has quietly muted mediocrity by bringing in the right people to work for him. Six months ago, Garrett was widely believed to be on an invisible hot seat. Garrett was thought to be Mr. Jones’ puppet — his experiment to clone Tom Landry in order to save an average team.
The Garrett experiment wouldn’t last, they said. Jones was wrong about him, and no matter how hard he tried to make it work with him as the head coach, Jones would eventually swallow humility and force himself to end the project one day.
Today, Garrett is signed on for another five years and is $30 million dollars richer.
The Boys Are Back in Town
The retaining of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is what surprised me most. Immediately after the Packers game, word spread that Marinelli was already on his way to Tampa Bay to help his long-time friend Lovie Smith with the Buccaneers.
Know that Marinelli is known to be loyal. He even ditched his contract (early 2013) with the Chicago Bears after they let Smith go. When Smith took the job to coach the Buccaneers a year ago, he inquired Dallas about bringing Marinelli’s services to Tampa Bay.
In the end, Marinelli chose Dallas, where he’s been loyal since January 2013.
Marking his loyalty with the Cowboys illustrates that the sound of mediocrity is no longer a deafening noise. Marinelli saw Dallas as a place he called home, a place where he wanted to continue building, a place where he wanted to succeed and see his players do the same.
Marinelli chose Jason Garrett as his head coach, but he chose Jerry Jones as his leader.
And so did offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and draft guru Will McClay — assistant director of player personal for the Cowboys.
Jones has assembled a loyal army that isn’t running away from mediocrity. This is a squad that his heading straight for the fight.
Let me know if there’s a joke I missed between those lines. I can’t think of one.
And I’m okay with that.