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Quote Trivia: Jerry Jones Being the Eternal Optimist

Jerry opened his mouth. Again.

Jerry opened his mouth. Again.

Jerry Jones will make news no matter what he says or does not say. That is just reality.

Today’s quote about the team’s chances in 2014: “Better than 8-8. We can get better than 8-8. We are hell-bent to change that.”

Good. Great. Just do it.

Anyway, for quote trivia today, we look back at a previous dark time during the Jerry Jones era. We will even look at two quotes.

Here’s the first one:

I couldn’t operate and couldn’t make decisions if I got up in the morning and thought that we were going to have a losing record. When I’m making decisions – even though we want to look long-term – I want to make decisions that help us win games this year, as well. I think we can do both, and that’s why I think we’ll win more than half our games.

Question #1: Jerry said this in June of what year?

Question #2: How did the Cowboys end up doing that year?

Jerry predicted a 10-6 record for the Cowboys in the season described above. A linebacker on the team made the following quote:

Actually, I feel like he shortchanged us a couple of games. He says 10-6, but we’ve got to believe we’re a 12-4 team.

Question #3: Who said this?

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Quote Trivia: Jerry Jones, the Liar

Jerry opened his mouth. Again.

Jerry opened his mouth. Again.

As usual, Jerry Jones opens his mouth, leaving fans of the Dallas Cowboys, once again, to figure out his priorities.

The latest controversy has focused on a statement Jerry made where he appears to brag about the Cowboys having high television ratings. This led an ESPN writer to write that Jerry is sending the wrong message by accepting mediocrity. Here is my Facebook post on this subject:


This leads us to today’s quote trivia. Jerry at one time had to deal with a player facing suspension, but Jerry was less than forthcoming about the facts of the player’s case. Jerry made the following statement:

What I have said, very consistently and very firmly over the last two weeks, is that if there was a suspension, I would be the first to know, because that’s the way I have it set up with the league. But me knowing cannot and did not go beyond notification of suspension. Outside of what I read in the papers, I knew nothing about this until late Tuesday afternoon.

Trivia questions:

(1) Which player was suspended?

(2) During which year was this player initially suspended?

(3) Which area writer called Jerry a liar in print?




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Looking Back: A Bad Scheme with the Wrong Players

The Cowboys might still set NFL records for futility on defense, given the team’s inability to stop anyone on defense. This did not stop Jerry Jones from giving Monte Kiffin a firm vote of confidence after the Cowboys could not force a single punt against the Bears on Monday.

This led to a host of comments, including:

As an Eagle fan, I hope that Jerry lives forever.

A bit of a debate has now begun about whether the root cause is the lack of talent on defense or the scheme. A short summary of the arguments:

It’s the Players: The no-names on the defensive line do not provide enough pressure to make the Tampa 2 work. The team just is not getting enough pressure from the front four.

It’s the Scheme: The Cover 2/Tampa 2 has been going out of favor for several years because of how offenses have responded to it, and the Cowboys’ use of the scheme just proves how ineffective it’s become.

I don’t have an answer to why the defense is so bad, but this reminded me of coordinator hires in 2000 and 2002 that had similar results.

In 1999, the Cowboys finished 16th in the league in total offense while running Chan Gailey’s offense. Jerry decided to make a change in schemes and hired Jack Reilly to run the timing-based system that the Rams had used to win the Super Bowl in ’99.

With the team’s talent level taking a severe hit thanks to salary-cap problems, the Cowboys’ yards-per-game average sank from 302.5 in 1999 to 279.7 in 2000 and 275.1 in 2001.

The Cowboys still did not upgrade the offense in 2002 in any significant way, but Jerry decided the answer to the problem was to install the West Coast Offense. The team hired Bruce Coslet, who at one time was considered one of the leading minds regarding the West Coast system. However, the team did not have the talent in place to run that system, and teams at that point were already starting to move away from the way they had run the West Coast during the 1990s.

The result—the Cowboys averaged just 273.4 yards per game, continuing the trend of the offense averaging fewer yards than the year before. The team ranked 30th in the league in total yards and 31st in points. Only the ’60 and ’89 squads were close to as bad on offense. The Cowboys followed two 5-11 seasons with yet another 5-11 season.

Fast forward to the last few years on the defensive side of the ball. In Wade Phillips’ last full season in Dallas in 2009, the Cowboys allowed an average of 315.9 yards per game, which ranked 9th in the league.

The team fell apart in 2010, allowing 351.8 yards per game. Jerry hired Rob Ryan for the 2011 season, and the defense improved slightly by allowing 343.2 yards per game. However, in 2012, the team allowed 355.4 yards per game, and the problems on defense led Jerry to fire Ryan and turn to Monte Kiffin.

Without upgrading the defense in any significant way thanks to salary-cap problems, Jerry expected Kiffin to install the Tampa 2 to achieve  better results. The result has been that the team has allowed 426.8 yards per game, including four games where the defense has allowed more than 500 yards.

Does Jerry learn from mistakes? Of course not. This team that has been no better than mediocre for most of the past 18 years is once again mediocre and could be headed for yet another 8-8 season.


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If the Cowboys Miss the Playoffs Again…

With the Eagles’  24-16 win over the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys at 5-5 now sit a half-game out of first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are also a full game behind the 49ers, Bears, and Cardinals for the last wildcard spot. Even if Carolina loses to New England tonight, the Panthers would still have a 6-4 record.

9013775-largeDallas now has to travel to the Meadowlands for a rematch with the resurgent Giants, who have won four straight. In fact, none of the remaining games are going to be easy for the Cowboys, and it is possible that Dallas will have to beat the Redskins on the road and Eagles at home in the final two weeks of the season to reach the playoffs.

On the positive side, that is exactly what the Cowboys did in 2009, the last year the Cowboys made the playoffs.

On the negative side, should the team fail, the Cowboys will have the third-longest playoff drought in franchise history.

The longest period where the Cowboys missed the playoffs was the first six years of the team’s existence from 1960 to 1965.

The next longest period was the five years from 1986 through 1990, which included the final Landry years and the first two years under Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones.

The current Cowboys have missed the playoffs three straight years. That was the same number of years the franchise missed the playoffs under Dave Campo.

Yes, the current Dallas Cowboys could have a longer streak of missing the playoffs than the teams led by the rotating of quarterbacks that included an aging Troy Aikman, an aging Randall Cunningham, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, and Chad Hutchinson.

Jerry gave more money to Tony Romo last off-season than any other player in team history, yet one more season without the playoffs means that the Quincy Carter (et al.) era may start looking better than what we are seeing now.

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Jason Garrett’s Signature Losses are Piling Up and Getting Old

I planned to write a long post about my lack of faith in Jason Garrett. I’ll just leave it at that, though.

Instead, we’ll have some fun with Ranker. Here is a list of the team’s worst 10 losses since he took over in November 2010.

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What-If Wednesday: What if the Cowboys had hired Mike Shanahan after the 2008 season?

In the weekly What-If Wednesday posts, we review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on Mike Shanahan, who became available as a head coach after the 2008 season.

In real life…

The Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders in 2008. The team had gone 13-3 in 2007 before losing to the eventual champion Giants in the playoffs. The team a deep pool of talent in 2008, and many predicted the Cowboys would take the next step in their evolution.

Mike Shanahan

What if the Cowboys had hired Mike Shanahan after the 2008 season?

Some fans and some in the media called on Jerry Jones to fire Wade Phillips after the playoff loss in 2007 because he had allowed players to vacation during the off week.

When the ’08 Cowboys lost 44-6 to the Eagles in the final week of the season and missed the playoffs, few could believe that Phillips would return. And when Mike Shanahan was fired as the Broncos head coach, many thought Jerry Jones should fire Wade and bring in Shanahan.

Instead, Shanahan took a year off before becoming head coach of the Redskins.

What if the Cowboys had fired Phillips after the 2008 season and hired Shanahan?

The argument in favor of hiring Shanahan was that the team needed a high-profile coach to coach the high-profile Pro Bowl players. Shanahan had won two Super Bowl titles in Denver, so it stands to reason that he would repeat his success in Dallas. Right?

1. The Cowboys under Shanahan would have no better success in finding and developing talent.

Between 1996 and 2005, Shanahan had great success, including two Super Bowl titles and seven playoff appearances.

Between 2006 and 2008, the team had no playoff appearances. The team had some talent with quarterback Jay Cutler, receiver Brandon Marshall, and the likes of Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil, but to the extent Shanahan was involved with personnel decisions, the team was not improving its talent significantly in the last few years.

The Cowboys still had talent in 2009, but several key players were starting to age. The team needed to rebuild its line, find new skills players, and so forth.

It’s hard to believe that Jerry would give up the right to make personnel decisions, so Shanahan likely would just had a voice. And unless his voice made the Cowboys change their draft strategy in 2009, the results probably would have been the same.

2. Shanahan’s magic would not rekindle in Dallas.

The Broncos fired Shanahan after the team started the 2008 season at 8-5 but lost the final three to finish at 8-8. The Broncos missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

So the Cowboys were going to solve their annual December woes by hiring the coach of a team that had blown its playoff chances by losing three straight?


A big part of the reasoning behind hiring someone like Shanahan is that a coach who has been to the top before will know how to get there again. And, to be sure, managers in baseball, coaches in basketball, and even coaches in college football have been able to repeat success elsewhere.

For whatever reason, that has rarely happened in the NFL. No head coach has won a Super Bowl with multiple teams.

Sure, Shanahan’s Redskins beat the Cowboys to make the playoffs in 2012. His record in the other seasons in Washington, though, is 12-24, and he has made a number of questionable decisions during his tenure.

3. The Rams would have hired Jason Garrett has head coach and fired him three years later.

Jason Garrett nearly left the Cowboys after the 2008 season to become the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Instead, he stayed in Dallas and eventually became head coach.

The Rams were a mess in 2009, finishing at 1-15.

Garrett is smart, but Garrett would not fix that mess. He would have been back on the street after the 2011 season.

4. The Cowboys would have another head coach by now—Jason Garrett.

It is entirely possible that that Jerry would have grown tired of 8-8 seasons under Shanahan had fired him after the third season in 2011.

In hunting for a new coach, Jerry turns to…

Jason Garrett, who was recently fired as head coach of the Rams in our alternative universe.


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The Weekly What-If: What if the Cowboys had beaten the Broncos at any point in the past 15 years?

In the weekly What-If posts, we review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on the last four games against the Denver Broncos, who have not lost to the Cowboys since 1995.

I managed to fall behind this week, so I did draft a What-If post on Wednesday. For one week only, I’ll call this the Weekly What-If.

In real life…

The Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl seasons in 1992 and 1995. However, Dallas has lost to Denver in four straight games dating back to 1998.

None of the losses was huge, but it is worth reviewing the losses to see how any of them might have changed the Cowboys’ fortunes, both short term and long term.

Here were the actual results

1998: Denver 42, Dallas 23

2001: Denver 26, Dallas 24

2005: Denver 24, Dallas 21

2009: Denver 17, Dallas 10

What if the Cowboys had won any of these games?


The Cowboys won their first game under new head coach Chan Gailey but had to travel to Denver to face the defending Super Bowl champions.

A win would mean that the 1997 season was an aberration for the Cowboys. It would prove the dynasty could still be alive. It would mean that Gailey’s offense would give new life to the Triplets.


The Cowboys lost Troy Aikman to a broken collarbone. A redhead named Jason Garrett took over for the next five games, leading the Cowboys to a 3-2 record. It showed, to a degree, that the Cowboys could win without Aikman. However, the loss to the Broncos proved that the Cowboys were not real contenders at that point.


The 2-7 Cowboys could have derailed the Broncos’ playoff hopes by beating Denver on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys overcame a 26-3 deficit in the fourth quarter, and an extra push would have given coach Dave Campo and team a season-defining win.

And perhaps, Jerry Jones would have praised quarterback Ryan Leaf, who was the team’s fourth starting quarterback of the season.

Of course, a win would have ruined the Cowboys’ chances to have a top-five pick in the 2002 draft. Quentin Jammer would have been available.


Um, sure. I remember the loss, but I had to look up who started at QB for Dallas that day. It was indeed Leaf.

Jerry’s actual comment after the game: “[W]e’re in new territory, for me, because I’ve never had to find a quarterback before. That’s OK. I’m hell-bent on finding some consistency at the quarterback position.”

Um, sure, Jerry.

Anyway, Quincy Carter returned the following week and led the Cowboys to two straight wins. Dallas finished with a 5-11 record.

Incidentally, the Cowboys’ five wins pushed them back to the eighth pick, where they took safety Roy Williams.


By beating Denver on another Thanksgiving Day game, the Cowboys could have won their fourth consecutive game and had an 8-3 record heading into December. Dallas pushed the 8-2 Broncos into overtime, and a good break here or there could have given the Cowboys the win.

Dallas would have almost certainly made the playoffs in 2005 with that win. Bill Parcells’ club would have managed to make the playoffs twice in his first three seasons.


Ron Dayne ran 55 yards early in overtime to set up a game-winning field goal by Jason Elam. Dallas fell to 7-4.

Then Dallas lost to the Giants, falling to 7-5.

Then Dallas lost two of their final four and missed the playoffs. Again.

The loss was one of several frustrating defeats that year and had several fans, including me, start to questions whether Parcells had any magic left.

He didn’t have much.


The Cowboys were still rebounding from a disappointing 9-7 season in 2008, when the team, yet again, missed the playoffs.

A win by the 2-1 Cowboys over the 3-0 Broncos would have been huge for Wade Phillips and his club.


We’re talking about Wade Phillips and his club.

Actually, we’re talking about Jerry Jones and his club. Think about it—the Cowboys had just recorded a big win at home and had a chance to show progress with an even bigger win on the road.

Of course the Cowboys lost. A 10-0 lead disappeared, and the Broncos came away with a 17-10 win.

The 2-2 start was the worst up to that point in Phillips’ short career in Dallas. Every loss led to a call for Phillips’ head.

The team eventually rebounded to win the NFC East and a playoff game. Nevertheless, the loss was another ugly one in a game the Cowboys should have won.

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Giants Have Slight Edge in Every Simulation

Miles Austin caught a touchdown in the Madden simulation of Sunday’s game, but Dallas still fell to the Giants.

There should not be any question that Jerry Jones is a Sean Lee fan. Jerry was not willing to consider this team as anything less than a Super Bowl contender until the Cowboys lost Lee for the season. Jerry now says the team is “going to have to adjust for him” and that he may have lower expectations.

Even with the injuries, most simulations have the Cowboys giving the Giants quite a game. However, none of the simulations predict a Dallas win. Here’s a summary:

What If Sports: N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas 23

AccuScore: N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas 25

NumberFire: N.Y. Giants 25, Dallas 24

Team Rankings: N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas 23

Madden (ESPN): N.Y. Giants 29, Dallas 24

* * *

Very few commentators think the Cowboys will win. Of 12 commentators on ESPN, 10 think the Giants will win. One of the two who think the Cowboys will manage an upset was Nate Newton. Michael Irvin also predicted a Dallas win on the NFL Network’s pregame show.

* * *

Tony Romo’s name showed up on a poll of NFL players about the league’s most overrated player. Romo was tied for second by receiving 8 percent of the votes.

The leader was Tim Tebow, who received 34 percent of the votes. Michael Vick and Ray Lewis also received votes.

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Seattle 27, Dallas 7: Not Special at All

The 27-7 loss to Seattle wasn’t Romo’s fault, but he will still bear plenty of weight.

Jerry Jones didn’t have a great weekend. His Arkansas Razorbacks were worse than some Division 1-AA (or whatever they’re called now) schools in a 52-0 loss to Alabama on Saturday.

On Sunday, former Razorback Felix Jones returned the opening kickoff for the Dallas Cowboys against the Seattle Seahawks. He fumbled. Seattle recovered. Seattle kicked a field goal. Seattle didn’t trail again.

There was more fun on special teams. Jones returned the second kickoff 16 yards, and the Cowboys managed to gain five yards. On a punt attempt, Seattle’s Malcolm Smith raced up the left side of the Dallas line and managed to block Chris Jones’ punt. Jeron Johnson recovered the loose ball and scored, giving Seattle a 10-0 win.

I mean lead, not win. My apology.

The Cowboys moved the ball on its next drive only to have Romo throw an interception while trying to throw the ball across the field from his right to his left. Seattle couldn’t capitalize, and the Cowboys were able to move the ball on their next possession as well. Romo hit Miles Austin on a 22-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7 with 12:09 left in the second quarter.

Dallas had momentum and managed to hold Seattle to a three-and-out. The game never got closer, though.

The Cowboys punted the ball right back to the Seahawks, who drove for a field goal. Dallas had a chance to drive for another score in the final two minutes. Felix took the Seattle kickoff eight yards deep and decided to run it out.

He made it to the 15.  The Dallas drive stalled at the Seattle 40. Halftime score: 13-7.

Nobody has provided a good reason why Felix is still getting time on the field.

Anyway, former Arkansas Razorback Jimmy Johnson said the Cowboys were going to dominate the second half. I cannot think of any analogy that would express how wrong he was.

The Cowboys had the ball on four drives in the second half, and the team gained 81 yards. Meanwhile, Seattle and its rookie quarterback completely controlled the Dallas defense, which simply could not make stops when it needed to. Seattle had one 90-yard drive followed by an 88-yard drive to put the Cowboys out of their misery.

* * *

After last week, three teams in the NFC East were 1-0, and two of those teams were the Cowboys and Redskins. The third was an Eagles team that barely beat a bad Cleveland team.

At one point today, the Giants trailed Tampa Bay by a score of 27-13. The Eagles trailed Baltimore 23-17 in the fourth quarter.

Of course, the Giants and Eagles have had a bit more success than the Cowboys and Redskins in the past few years. And, of course, both figured out how to win those games.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys went through the motions in Seattle, while the Redskins lost a 21-6 lead to the hapless Rams on their way to a 31-28 loss.

Anyway, I suggested last week that this was definitely a new year. I meant that literally.

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