Coaching Head-Aches

Except for the rare occasion when something is destined to be a Ripley's exhibit; everything born to this earth has one head. This paradigm is pretty much followed in life. There has to be one supreme leader for any organization. Else it would never have been Diana Ross and the Supremes.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a unique position in that they don't follow the conventional wisdom of nature. They are a multi-headed organization. Unfortunately it shows in the results the team enjoys on the field.

Dave Campo is the titular head of the football team. He serves as the leader of this motley crew and at the pleasure of Jerry Jones. Dave, the shortstop from Connecticut, guides the team in daily drills on the practice field, which is one step up from physical trainer, Joe Juraszek. The only perk being Dave gets to face a hostile press after every loss. And in some cases a more hostile press after the wins, as well.

Yet in the larger scheme of things Campo provides a nice speed bump in times of crisis. He slows the players down just enough to save the wear and tear on the $100-a-yard carpet in front of Jerry's office. Because when conflict strikes, the team knows where the buck stops in this enterprise.

Jerry Jones runs this team. This isn't late breaking news for anyone that pays even remote attention to the franchise. My silver-haired Mother, who has never in her entire life watched a game of football, even mentioned this to me the other day.

"Is that Jerry Jones fellow going to be the head coach of the Cowboys," she said during a commercial of the Lawrence Welk show as she took a slug directly from the bottle of Geritol.

After I picked myself up off the floor I thought about this. It has bothered me the entire week and I couldn't figure out why, until…

Until it dawned on me this is precisely what needs to transpire to heal this storied franchise. This one move will right the ship that has drifted more off course than the Nina, Pinta and Santa Marie.

Dave Campo is a wonderful man. He is pleasant and bright and the guy you'd love to have living next door. He would watch your house when you were on vacation and loan you his weed eater when yours is in the shop. But if you happen to invest in a National Football League franchise, Dave may be on the short list of candidates you don't want head coaching your team.

His tirades don't impress the players, or even the other coaches and his effectiveness as the Dallas Head Master is in grave doubt.

Part of this has to do with his demeanor. While Dave can lace a Knute Rockne speech with four letter words, he isn't convincing the Academy he deserves the Oscar for his performance. The players just don't buy into his shtick.

As I stated before, Jerry Jones runs this team. When Deion Sanders had a problem he didn't waste time going to the coaches office. He knew where the real power was and walked into Jerry's digs at Valley Ranch. Same with all the influential players. When a situation arises that needs some action, they skirt Campo's office an end up where they know their complaint will do the most good.

What is the real job of the head coach? To organize the team's activities. To direct the team's efforts toward a winning end. To coordinate the coordinators and galvanize 53 men into a unit that overcome adversity each and every Sunday.

Almost sounds like a cruise director on the Cunard Line of pleasure ships. Yet the men who are most effective at this endeavor are of iron wills and unfettered determination. Men that can sell a program with their charisma or motivate the doubters with their leadership. Something Jerry Jones has shown in his professional life on more than one occasion.

Jerry made his first million in the insurance business. He glad handed people all across the state of Arkansas and convinced them to buy into a racket that is a form of legalized gambling which pays off with less regularity than Vegas when the bettor wins. Just ask any homeowner in Texas who bought Farmer's Insurance.

Then Jones moved on to the oil business. Another high-risk high reward field, Jerry led teams of engineers and geologists looking for that black gold. His demand of excellence and holding people accountable rewarded him with the type of money, which allowed the purchase of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones is an organizer and motivator. He is best at delegating to others then following up to guide the results. As foreign as this might sound that is exactly what Jimmy Johnson did when he controlled the Cowboys.

His day-to-day duties were not to devise some brilliant scheme to thwart the efforts of the other team. He was not a mad scientist working in a lab of bubbling equipment, but a guy that delegated authority then made damn sure his orders were carried out.

This fits Jones to a "T." He didn't make the Cowboys one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports by not possessing these qualities.

But what about general football knowledge, you ask? And I say the head coach's real job is guiding, cajoling, and intimidating the players and coaches to succeed. Other than making a decision on whether to punt or not on fourth down late in the game, what other function does the head coach provide?

In most cases the coach has a chart that tells him when to make what decision. A chart Campo seems to have misplaced in more than one game over his tenure.

But play calling is the responsibility of the coordinators. The results lies at their feet and it's the head coach that grades the result and makes decisions from there.

Jerry leads this team. Dave is a marionette that dances on the strings pulled by Jones. But the hierarchy of this franchise is muddled as long as players feel they can sidestep the coach and go to the real power.

If Jerry wants to lead then he needs to do it on a daily basis from the catbird seat. He needs to take the ship's wheel in hand and be the captain and not just the navigator.

There has to be one vision and a clear voice that directs the Cowboys back to greatness. That voice should come from Jerry and not be filtered through Dave's vocal chords.

This is a bold move but one borne of nature. There has to be one leader. And that should be Jerry Jones.

Or someone needs to add Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard's name next to Diana Ross' on a lot of 45's I have in my garage.

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