Shell Shocked

Confession time. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Cowboys Nation, I'm thoroughly confused.

Granted, that doesn't take much at this age or in these whirlwind economic times, but our beloved organization is at a critical standstill. That could be a good thing or it might be bad, but the point is we just don't know anything. Unfortunately, neither do the decision-makers. How could they? How would you explain this feeling of floating helplessly on a raft, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with no inkling of safe ground or a rescue boat? Does "helpless" about cover it?

While it's been professed for years there's great danger in the "comfort zone," there's also tremendous risk operating without a game plan. Agreed? Not knowing exactly where to start, I went to the building blocks and foundation. I just got done leaving Jerry Jones a message on his office phone. Seriously, I did. Call Jerry's boss, Marilyn Love, she'll tell you. If Fort Knox ever recruited for "security," their search could begin and end with Jerry's gatekeeper. If you can get past Marilyn, then consider yourself to be one of the very few who ever slipped a puck past Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy or Bernie Parent. It ain't easy. So with a free pass to the message system, what was conveyed?

While I expect absolutely no response, I simply asked Jerry if there was a formal introduction or organizational orientation all rookies and free agent newcomers go through when they arrive at Valley Ranch for the first time. Now that you know the marbles are loose in my upper floors, you have to be asking, "What is he talking about?"

Let me ask you this, "Does this monumental organization have history?" How much? The answer is tons! How much of it do you think the current players and coaching staff knows by heart? Do you think it's important that they do? I deem it so important that I think a test should be administered and passed before implementing the greatest aspect Bill Parcells brought to this vaunted football organization. So, why do I feel all this is so important from the moment a new face walks through the hallowed doors?

For the sole fact the doors are "hallowed" should tell you all you need to know. I firmly feel the revered "Blue Star" is losing its once-brilliant luster and meaning. I really do. I think today's athlete and their look-at-me; me-first egos could care less what it took to get this organization off the ground in 1960. Its high-time all understand, thoroughly, Eddie LeBaron is not some cartoon character. Pettis Norman and Frank Clarke were not Cotton Bowl janitors. While the name Bob Lilly might be briefly seen in the Ring of Honor during pre-game stretches or as a player sprints for the end zone, is anyone acutely aware of Bob Lilly's desire to win and year-after-year frustration with being "Next Year's Champion?" Have any of these current players and coaches seen the "helmet launch" this same Bob Lilly displayed after losing the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Colts in 1970? If the answer is "no," the next question is "Why the heck not?"

These type of moments need to be ingrained in the heads of potential future Cowboys upon their first steps on Valley Ranch real estate. Will it change their style or effectiveness of play? Don't know, don't care! Before that helmet is pulled on for the very first time, I want a history lesson learned and passed. I want it to truly mean something when that cranium protector is actually pulled on for the very first time. I want a player to feel "it." It simply is the sacrifice and hardships faced throughout the historic ride and success of this franchise. Too many damn current-day Cowboys have no regard or thanks for what allows them to earn multi-millions while wearing some cosmic symbol on their selfish heads! Sorry folks, it makes me sick to my blue and silver heart. I cannot stand entitlement, and this current organization, to include the brass, is chocked full of "I deserve it" personalities. This brings us directly to the Parcells' factor. I freely admit I was on the "Parcells must go" bandwagon prior to Wade's arrival, but I'm also the first to recognize and call attention to the many Parcells' contributions to the Dallas Cowboys. The first being the "core" base and talent this team currently enjoys, but the best might have been equipment protocol. How about when all newcomers showed up on the practice fields with merely shimmering silver helmets? Absent what? The STAR. That's right, the STAR. And why was that?

A simple statement. You haven't EARNED anything yet. Prove it and we'll see about getting you the privilege of donning the famed "Blue Star." Darn right. Make it mean something! Why? Because it does mean something. One of the most recognized symbols in all of sports is hallowed ground and a prized possession. These things are not treated lightly and dispensed like candy out of a Pez. Where is the blood, sweat, tears and SACRIFICE that earned you that STAR? How many players run around on Sundays of recent past like that symbol means something to them? Did you get to the fingers on your second hand? I didn't.

Here's another thing Jerry was left with. After the test has been administered and passed, how about inviting in the likes of locals Charlie Waters and Drew Pearson. How about a little tough love talk from the mouths of these two about how much their hearts and souls want to be in the Ring of Honor? Let them expound on how a little bit of them dies every year that they are passed over for consideration and honor. Let them show these prima donnas you don't just roll the ball out there and say let's play. If this organization isn't careful, the 90's are going to be a thing of the distant past. Could any benefit be derived from having Bill Bates around campus on a regular basis? What benefit would it be to have Billy explain just what he had to do year in and year out to be one of 53 players to "make it." Do you think he worked a little because he knew what donning that STAR meant to his heart and soul?

Let me throw something here that hopefully strikes a nerve and maybe some reflective measure. There's a person on this team, believe it or not, that truly understands what the organizational symbol means. At least he did at one time, and now it appears if he may have forgotten what he once knew in the early part of this decade. Maybe he needs a Harvey Martin, Ed Jones or Charles Haley head slap to have his monumental head reminded. Heck, it took an Emmitt Smith counter and a George Teague "I can't stand it anymore" chuck to dislodge the clown from the most-prized piece of real estate in Texas. Yep, the one and only Terrell Owens once knew what that symbol meant and stood for. So much so that as an opposition player, he sought to disrespect it in the most arrogant and horrific way possible. See, his blatant disrespect was actually a sign of the utmost respect. Strange, huh? Think about it, it'll make sense.

I still profess this guy wants to win a Super Bowl while wearing the STAR. I have always thought that, and there are many reasons behind it, but unfortunately none of it pertains to what I'm talking about. Honoring the past by present day play. It didn't happen last year when the Giants came calling in January, and it certainly didn't sink in when the Ravens came to Texas Stadium in December or when the beloved Cowboys decided to leave their hearts and souls in Dallas while the team traveled to Philadelphia to finish the season with the most lame of efforts ever witnessed in the history of the organization. Truth be told, if I was Jerry, I would have met every damn player at the mouth of the tunnel and stuck out my hand. The first player to hand slap or high-five me would have been terminated on the spot.

The purpose of the outstretched arm and open hand? To collect the STARS that each of those guys thought they were entitled to while strutting their "look at us" selves on the Lincoln Financial turf. I would have clearly and distinctively said, "You don't deserve these, and you won't get them back until you do." Simple as that. Now, that would have been the type of "change" this organization professes but doesn't deliver. Instead, we get Uncle Wade and his good ol' Texas boy demeanor, instructed to hit the podium while professing he will change his ways. At the very same time, that non-deserving 53 and the entire Cowboys-hating world was laughing their hind ends off. I mean laughing. Laughing because the current day player, coach and administration have allowed this beloved franchise to become a punch line. And you laugh as I call for the likes of Troy Aikman to become the General Manager of your Dallas Cowboys. Do you think that guy shutters every time someone approaches him in an airport or a grocery store and leads with "Knock…Knock." I have to believe it sickens his Cowboys-driven heart and soul. If Jerry isn't careful not only will he have built the biggest and greatest sports venue known to modern man, but he will also be the Owner of the biggest joke ever told. I prefer something be done before Guinness calls and wants to incorporate the Cowboys into their collection of world records.

That phone/voice mail message I referenced a few paragraphs back; here's how it ended. While absolutely shocked it didn't cut me off after 30 seconds or so, I told Jerry this. He's in print of late saying, "Everyone's mad. The world's mad. At everything." He attributes it to all things, especially the economy. I felt compelled to tell Jerry, "I'm not mad. Not mad at all. I'm pissed as hell, and you better do something about it." Hey Jerry, if need be, I'll put that orientation program together, as long as you promise to implement it! Let's get back to the basics, shall we?

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