Cowboys Dez And His 'Butterfly Effect'

IRVING - This is the story of Barry Switzer and a Super Bowl, of Dez Bryant and his 'I'm-going-in-to-Valley-Ranch' OTA session, and the flapping of an insect's wing that tie the stories together. 'Switzer And Dez And 'The Butterfly Effect,' inside:

Dez + The Butterly Effect

Two decades ago, the Dallas Cowboys won their last Super Bowl. They did so under the coaching "supervision,'' if you will, of Barry Switzer, treated by history at best as a roll-the-ball-out placeholder and at worst as a buffoon who cost Dallas a third straight Super Bowl title the year before.

Then as now, I found Switzer to be a helluva guy. Charismatic and sincere. Goofy and gullible. A football dunce? Hardly; I had the treat of watching him work a greaseboard full of X's and O's and I promise you, he was a savant.

Or, maybe, an idiot savant as he wasn't ever quite sure which teams played in the NFC East.

But Jimmy Johnson quit the Cowboys (yes, that's a fact) and Jerry wanted his next partner to be unfailingly loyal and you got Switzer. And for all his faults, Switzer helped win you a Super Bowl if only because of "The Butterfly Effect.''

You've heard of it: It's a physics concept, a scientific thought, that a single butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo could impact a breeze that would eventually become a tornado in Tulsa.


An infinite number of wingflaps help you win or lose a Super Bowl. It's not just a dubious playcall at the end of a Seahawks-Patriots title game; it's also playcalls in the second quarter of Week 3, or a twisted ankle that impacted a play in Week 7, or the lack of sleep a player got due to a crying baby, or maybe a word of encouragement an assistant coach offers that pushes some button ... some button that will always go unrecognized even by those directly involved.

In 1995, Charles Haley stayed home sick one day, missing practice. It was suspected this was something different, worse, than the flu. Mood-related, let's call it. It was decided that somebody needed to bring him some medication.

The Cowboys employee who decided to play delivery man? Barry Switzer.

Did that afternoon meeting at Haley's home change the Hall-of-Famer's day? Change his month? His year? Did it equal one more sack? Was it the butterfly wingflap that became another Super Bowl? There is no qay to know for certain. But if you are a Cowboys fan, you certainly wouldn't wish to risk undoing that medicine-delivery day, would you?

Last Wednesday night, Dez Bryant informed me he would be making a trip to Cowboys headquarters the next day.

"I'm going into Valley Ranch on Thursday,'' he said.

And so he did, even suiting up in his No. 88 jersey to participate in a few light OTA drills, executing a few one-handed catches, exercising the muscle that is his bond with "his team.''

The appearance defied and likely confounded national media members who had steadfastly predicted Dez -- involved in a franchise-tag contract negotiation -- would "never'' practice with the Cowboys in the spring. The appearance also pleased and delighted his teammates, including Tony Romo, who only one day earlier was only half-joking when he said, "When you have him, it makes things a bit easier. Tell him to come on back.’'

Bryant has yet to sign the franchise-tag tender guaranteeing him $12.823 million this season, and he’s aware the real deadline is July 15 in terms of him and the Cowboys settling on a long-term “Cowboys For Life’’ deal. That visit was at the very least an attempt at a show of unity — even though the sides are not yet unified on his future salary.

And the organization has fairly consistenly attempted to show that same unity in return.

"We love Dez Bryant,’’ coach Jason Garrett said. "Dez Bryant's a heck of a football player. He's the right kind of guy. He’s got great football character and hopefully some of his situations from a business standpoint can be worked out and he'll back in here working out with us.”


After the appearance, one media outlet responded by writing that a "source'' stated that Bryant’s appearance was not tied to negotiations.

I believe a source told a reporter that. I just don't see how the source could possible know that there was no "tie'' and would be no tie and would for certain have no impact on Dez' contractual future here, one way or another. How can one "source'' know what the dozen or so people who might be involved in negotiations are thinking and feeling in response to Dez' appearance? Maybe it softens up Jerry. Maybe it hardens Stephen. Or vice-versa. Maybe it makes agent Tom Condon think differently. Maybe it makes Jay-Z and the folks at Roc Nation place a phone call. Maybe it causes Romo to say something to Garrett, who says something to Jerry. Maybe it makes Dez back down on his financial desires ... or maybe it makes Dez jack up his finances desires.

How can one "source'' be cognizant of all those possibilities? How can anybody be certain that a butterfly flapping his wings at an OTA practice in May won't have an effect on a perfect storm of a contract agreement by July 15?

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