Who Dey?

Will the real Dallas Cowboys please step forward?! The mysteries and endless charades continue out the Valley Ranch way.

Is this the week a statement is made, or do the masses continue to wallow in average existence and mediocrity? This team is the classic example of what a playoff caliber team is not. They're the model of inconsistency and the poster children for penalty implosion. Overstating the obvious, playoff teams don't mangle the basics. It's high time, for organizational reassuredness, they string together some success patterns. With maybe the exception of one vital cog, the watchful eyes know nothing more than they did when the Oxnard gates opened in late July.

Tony Romo may, and "may" cannot be stressed enough, be the one and only bright spot to a thus far very bland 2006. The Romo bandwagon is in high gear and close to standing room only, but contrary to popular belief, the jury is still tightly sequestered. There has been no decision or judgment rendered, and rightfully so. To NFL professionals across the League spectrum, he still remains a relative unknown, but the film projectors are humming in team complexes, and defensive coordinators are formulating their counter moves. Three weeks in is usually the apex, and the mystery is typically solved shortly thereafter. This would be the week for total discovery.

While Tony Romo's playing identity is about to be revealed, it's Jerry Jones that remains a complete unknown. It's either a tremendous exercise in restraint or it's complete Laissez faire inattentiveness. So, which is it? The Monday night game against the Giants had the makings of sunomic waters, but Jerry eventually let it go as a mere whisper of disappointment. There are experts who making a living analyzing return on investment. Jerry, the eternal optimist, will profess returns are in the black, but the win-loss ledger and playoff participation levels dictate the Parcells' era has been substantially less than profitable, and the cash flow statement bleeds red. The mere fact that Terrell Owens continues to go publicly unchecked is a glaring sign of organizational instability. No one seems willing to rock the boat or shake things up.

So, you have a team which beats up on inferior opponents and the NFL's bottom feeders while grossly underperforming against the bone fide contenders. Doesn't that scream "average?" This team contains way too much God-given talent to operate and produce at mediocre levels. What is wrong with the CEO claiming this is unacceptable behavior??!! If you're paying a "has been," and he is, a $5+ million dollar salary with the promise of remaining in the supportive background, don't you also have the right to express dissatisfaction and demand more? Especially when no one in the chain of command ranks higher than the check writer himself. Jerry's silence either speaks volumes, or it's as confusing as Mike Zimmer's refusal to apply pocket pressure with blitz packages.

Parcells is soft, Jerry is silent, and this organization is simply happy with beautifying Arlington with stadium construction and Super Bowl host talk. Cowboys' Nation, don't you feel it? Don't you feel the slightest bit cheated? The level of expectations and demand for organizational excellence has greatly diminished in the past decade. The same level of commitment and pride is vanishing quicker than the North Texas water supply. Go ahead; stick a gauge or thermometer in the Cowboys' hatred turkey. What's the reading? A notch warmer than frozen? Certainly not much more. This organization's success has always been measured by the amount of hatred in the non-Cowboys' world. Even that faction is currently on sabbatical. Expectations have declined in direct relation to the talent level manning the side lines as it relates to the team's head coach.

Yes, Tom Landry had run out of gas. Out of pure respect, both deserved and truly earned, the organization allowed the downslide to continue much longer than necessary. Right, wrong or indifferent, it's most difficult to dismiss an icon. Organizational mainstays continue to debate the merits of Landry's dismissal, but truth be told, it took the renegade nature of Jerry Jones' arrival to stop the performance bleeding. Otherwise, just like Corporate America of today, it would have taken half a decade of committee meetings to decide how to properly pink slip The Fedora. Was it smooth? No. Was it effective? Is the early ‘90's highlight film really necessary to supply the answer?

Thus, it's time to pay the piper. Not only is Sunday's showdown with a future HOF inductee, it's also the fulcrum for future organizational identity. This thing either continues to flounder while hovering dangerously close to the Mendoza Line, or it further solidifies the need for end of the season field management changes. Unless the Cowboys completely shed their current costumes to reveal competitive nature, this team is not championship prepared, tested or ready. It's hoped not even a playoff appearance, especially with the state of affairs in the NFC, brings back the Parcells' regime. Again, other than the quarterback position, this entire entity is shrouded in mystery and mediocrity. How much longer will the masses continue to accept an inferior product?

Sunday sets up to be most interesting, and potentially highly entertaining, but it also holds the keys to many futuristic doors. Cowboys' fans have to hope and pray a few of those doors actually get opened. As things sit right now, all those door hinges need oil, and no one seems to know which of the doors actually leads to a trip back to the Promised Land. Tony Romo has allowed many to take a step closer to the doors, but it's going to take much more to barge through the success barriers.

So, what's it going to be? Who are these Dallas Cowboys? Isn't it high time for the true identity to reveal itself? Come out, come out wherever you are, and let's get on with the next trip to the hardware store!!

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