ROI: Not Good Enough

No one markets the brand better than Jerry Jones, and if there is an opportunity to steal headlines with the famed blue star, Jones will capitalize without fail.

Thus, one might surmise Jerry conveniently tucked away the Parcells' future until the eve of Wildcard Weekend. Nothing like the talking heads at both ESPN and Fox to keep your prized organization in the headlines. From a pure marketing stance, brilliant as usual. However, the delayed announcement may have actually represented more selfishness than sensationalism. The selfishness affixed to someone other than Jones. The shameless and self-promotion smells more than a little "fishy." Tuna-like. In the vast landscape of professional sports, there is certainly no shortage of whiners and individual grandstanding. There might be no finer stage hog than the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, but he's quickly getting a run for his money. In today's "it's all about me" world, say hello to a Hall of Famer in waiting. Two-sported to boot. Football and theatre. The Canton drama queen. Bill Parcells.

Just what is the going rate for media prostitution these days? ESPN's Chris Mortensen sure wasn't afraid to lay it down and put out for Big Bill. These two worked the system better than Redford and Newman in The Sting. Mort, what's your take for a little retirement speculation? There's just no shame in the world these days. The con job was brilliant, and what's not to like about America? Where else can a marginal performer garner a raise by simply floating a few juicy tidbits through a friend? Hood-winking aside, it's time for one very large fish to start swimming the stream of success.

Cowboys fans, you can only hope his desire to win and go out on top is as great as his pursuit of attention. If only the Lombardi Trophy could be pursued as vigorously as the limelight is sought. Forget freeloading around Saratoga Springs as a post-career move, how about the official endorser and spokesperson for Depends? If Parcells were a cartoon character, images of Baby Huey scream to the forefront.

Harsh commentary for the man who will apparently lead the beloved Cowboys throughout 2007? Maybe, but here's the pressing question which needs both an answer and solid backing.

Hey Bill, did you come to Dallas to win or simply satisfy a starved appetite for coddling? There is no bigger NFL stage, and it rivals any venue in all of sports. At the time of the contract extension announcement, quality wins certainly paled in comparison to the production of headlines generated. The three-year, on field evaluation can be summed up in one word. AVERAGE. At best. Look at the overall record. In this case, the numbers don't lie.

Conversely, there's not a single word that would adequately describe the media ringmaster and his high-flying selfish circus.

The Parcells' Big Top Act has been in plain view for three years, and it manifests a one-word descriptor. Tired. Here's just how exasperating it's become. In the three years, Parcells is a perfect three for three in acquiring the playground bully moniker, but when it comes to division titles and playoff victories, he's yet to make an appearance. Instead of staring down hapless kickers and numerous block-in-the-back special teamers, how about knocking heads with the opposition coach? Suffice it to say he has worn out his staff. To the point of having Mike Zimmer reminiscing about the corn fields of Nebraska and Sean Payton thinking to himself, Al Davis couldn't have been that bad, could he? Should each depart this off season, the disruption and upheaval will be felt on both sides of the ball, but for personal and family reasons, here's to hoping a new landscape would bring peace of mind coupled with a touch of humanity and appreciation.

Even in the face of all adversity and criticism, Bill Parcells is still the pick to lead the charge. Who else would you want taking the reigns? Fans can only hope this enormous ego finds itself embedded in the pursuit of a championship. It's high time the performance coincided with the pay. At present, there is a gross disparity. It's still baffling to see Jerry so muted and rah-rah continuous. On several occasions, especially in 2005, there was a tremendous need for the current state of affairs to be called unacceptable. Yet, not a discouraging word was muttered. Jerry has to be exercising an enormous amount of restraint. To the point of wondering if there is a life-sized, blow up Tuna punching bag in the Jones residence. You know the one. Sand-filled bottom and shaped much like Parcells, pear-like. Blast it with a couple of jabs, a roundhouse and upper-cut for good measure, and that white-haired smirk keeps rising from the canvass to strike a vertical pose. There's tremendous admiration for Jerry acquiescing to respect, but there comes a time when the spending of patience will circumvent the expenditure of salary. Skins on the wall certainly account for benefit of the doubt purposes, but when does perceived reputation collide with freeloading?

Are things moving in the right direction? Good question. The only "given" is the upgrade of talent since his arrival. No question, the actual number of bone fide football players gracing the roster has greatly increased. Sadly, that's all that's really known at this point. Three years in and two major issues evade the Cowboys. Stability and consistency. Even a blind man can see another round of changes and shuffling coming in 2006. Coaches and player personnel both. How is congruency achieved when the only constant is change itself? Speaking of change (as in chunk of it), the only consistent flow has been the stream of cash into the Parcells' retirement fund. It's time for Jerry to start seeing a much greater return on his investment.

Parcells may have a been a 5-2 favorite entering the gate back in 2003, but his mount is currently mired in the pack of mediocrity approaching the ¾'s pole. What does the backstretch hold? The Cowboys' nose clipping the wire for the blanket of roses or a staggering nag destined for the glue factory? Ladies and gentlemen, step to the window and place your bets.

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