It has been over twenty years since the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl. They still play in the massive city of Dallas, they still have supporters around the country, and the famous Cowboys star logo is still imprinted on their helmets. They are a franchise that is deemed "America's Team" because of their flashy style, widespread popularity, and most importantly, their consistent success. Much of their flashiness and popularity still exist today, but all of that means nothing without a consistent level of championship success.
So what exactly has gone wrong with the Cowboys? It all starts with their ownership and management. They have been a franchise that will not settle for mediocrity, to such a degree that they are seemingly always in panic mode. Every year they don't win the Super Bowl, the headlines around the team will consist of rumors of who is getting fired or who is getting traded. Their delusional management's attitude has trickled down to their players, who are constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Off the field issues, fights within the locker room, and a management that allows it all to happen is not a recipe for success. Their constant ineptitude and failure to evolve has made the Dallas Cowboys a show without substance. The circus that is the Dallas Cowboys franchise is now just a shell of the "America's Team" that they used to be. With that in mind, here are 15 Reasons The Dallas Cowboys Are No Longer America's Team.
15 Jerry Jones is Arrogant
Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys had great success in the first years of his ownership. After initially firing legendary head coach Tom Landry, Jones hired Jimmy Johnson, who led the team to two Super Bowl victories. However, Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson had a difficult relationship, and it reached the point where Johnson could no longer put up with Jones and he quit. Just like that, the Cowboys had lost yet another legendary coach. What followed was a series of hiring and firing and multiple failures at the coaching position. Jerry Jones had a very limited football background when he came into the league and has allowed his initial success to inflate his ego to the point that he cannot even recognize his own mistakes. If Jones was ever thought of as "visionary," certainly that distinction is no longer a believable one.
14 Recent Generation Has Never Experienced Success
Think about some of the other legendary franchises in American Sports. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Yankees carry their success through generations. They always have a consitent level of success within 15 years. They build dynasty after dynasty. The Cowboys were doing just that, with multiple championships in the 1970s and 1990s. They had two generations of fans grow up with their team being "America's Team." Teams with multiple championship seasons and legendary Hall of Fame players. This current generation? They've grown up with nothing but constant failure. They know the rich history of their team, but they've only seen them fail to live up to it. There is now an entire generation of Dallas Cowboys fans who were born after their last Super Bowl victory or were too young to remember it. These are the fans most frustrated with the Cowboys as the team's lack of success has caused many fans to sour on Dallas.
13 They've Become a Reactionary Franchise
Football is a sport that is always changing with different offensive and defensive trends. Once a team proves a certain method can be successful in the NFL, many teams will try to copy them. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys' managment have done this to such a degree that they can never lock in their own identity. In the early 2000s, there was a trend of quarterbacks that could run with the ball and it led Jerry Jones to reaching way too high to draft Quincy Carter, a quarterback who was out of the NFL after just four years. After Michael Irvin was able to avoid serious scandals, the team refused to draft future superstar wide receiver Randy Moss, which many fans dissaproved of. After years of drafting big hulking offensive lineman and small, speedy wide receivers, they switched to a west coast offense, which relies on mobile offensive lineman and big receivers; the exact opposite personnel.
12 No Team Chemistry
All of these reactionary decisions have made it very hard for the team to form an identity. Not only have the Cowboys frequently switched their offensive systems, but they have also gone back and forth from 3-4 to 4-3 defenses. This is problematic because those two defensive formations require completely different personnel. It is hard for players to establish roles on their teams when the systems and schemes are constantly being shuffled. A lot of these new systems have come from coaches constantly being fired. Players need to be able to gain a rapport with their coaches. Players also need to be able to get along with their teammates, something that has not come easy for the Cowboys. There have been way too many stories within the Cowboys' organization involving fights in practice and players saying things behind their teammates' backs.
11 Players With Off-the-Field Issues
When people think of today's Dallas Cowboys, they think of players with big personalities who are selfish and take away from the team's success. The Cowboys constantly sign and draft players who have tremendous football ability and can have huge impacts on games, but also carry off-the-field baggage with them that almost always ends up hurting the team. Star wide receiver Terrell Owens was constantly making headlines for speaking whatever was on his mind. They consitently draft players who have a high upside but who's draft stock fell because of character concerns. Obviously, many teams will take chances on these types of players. Yet the Cowboys do it so consistently that it is impossible to have a functional locker room with so many personalities. Most recently, the Cowboys signed Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy who faced domestic violence charges. The experiment went south again because many players did not want to play with Hardy, and he often alienated himself from the team. And let's not forget about Dez Bryant who is constantly under watch for his off-the-field behaviour.
10 Bad Free Agent Signings
Almost all of the Dallas Cowboys big free agent signings have resulted in failure. As I mentioned before, the Cowboys were constantly changing coaches and different styles of play, which makes it hard for a player to establish any kind of solidified role on the team. In the early-mid 2000s, when the Cowboys were trying to estbalish a west coast offense, they signed offensive lineman like Marco Rivera and Ryan Young. Neither of them panned out. Both Young and Rivera dealt with constant injuries and were never on the field. Then there are the high profile players with off-the-field issues like Terrell Owens and Greg Hardy, both of whom's personalities took a toll on their teammates. Finally, there's the flat out ridiculous signing of kicker Mike Vanderjagt. The Cowboys gave a lot of money to Vanderjagt in 2006, who had great success before he joined them. He ended up feuding with coaches, and made 13-18 field goal attempts before he was released after 10 games.
9 Inconsistent Defense
The Cowboys have failed to estbalish a consistent defense in recent years. Again, this starts with drafting and signing players with serious character concerns. After signing Greg Hardy, which received widespread criticism from around the league, Jerry Jones defended the decision. Another defensive player they committed to was linebacker Rolando McClain, who was a high draft pick by the Oakland Raiders but was released by them due to constant off-the-field issues and inconsistent play. McClain was initially very successful for the Cowboys and looked to have resurrected his career until he was recently suspended 10 games by the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. They drafted defensive back Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft in spite of him scoring the lowest Wonderlic Test score ever recorded. Claiborne has not panned out. This constant pattern of signing boom or bust players without trying to build something cohesive has led to a consistently erratic defense.
8 Making Headlines for the Wrong Reasons
Many of America's most successful sports franchises have a reputation of quietly going about their business. You can think of baseball's St. Louis Cardinals or hockey's Detroit Red Wings as franchises that have a culture of winning from establishing a certain standard that is expected of their players. The players quietly stick to just doing their job while management sticks to their established plan for success. Even in football, organizations like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers have a consistent level of success that stems from sticking to the positive culture they've established. The Cowboys always find themselves in the news for all the wrong reasons. Controversial signings, feuds between players and coaches, and people calling out the organization are typically the types of headlines that surround the Dallas Cowboys. When a player is about to join the Cowboys, they now know the stigma that surrounds the team.
7 Not Dominating Their Division
Since 1997, the Dallas Cowboys have won the NFC East four times. That gives them the third most division wins amongst the four NFC East teams in that span. The Redskins sit in last with three wins, the Giants are in second with five, and the Eagles have the most with seven. The NFC East is always a rollercoaster of a division, and it seems the division winner always comes down to the final week of the season. The Cowboys and the Redskins have failed to establish any kind of consistent success. The Eagles had a lot of season-to-season success in the mid 2000s under head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Giants won Super Bowls in 2008 and 2012. Divisional success is always important when trying to build a championship success. Not only are divisional games vital to the standings at the end of the season, but they are important in establishing yourself as the team to beat.
6 Lack of Playoff Success
Did Dez catch it? In the Cowboys' last playoff appearance in 2014, a controversial call overturned a catch made by receiver Dez Bryant in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers that would have all but guaranteed the Cowboys advancing to their first NFC Championship game since their last Super Bowl victory in 1995. Twenty years without even making it to the Conference Championship game is a long period of failure. From 1998-2007, the Cowboys made the playoffs five times. Their playoff record in that span was 0-5. Not winning a Super Bowl for an extended amount of time is one thing, but to not even come close for so many years will really damage a franchise's reputation. Just look at Cowboys' rival Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has never won a Super Bowl but had great success in the 2000s. The Eagles were able give themselves a formidable reputation during those years.
5 Losing Big Games
Obviously a huge part of this is losing playoff games. There are no bigger games than playoff games. The Cowboys have not only failed to win playoff games, but they have failed to win important games in the regular season as well. Constantly losing huge games takes a toll on a team. This is a combination of the two things I mentioned previously in losing both playoff games and divisional games. Not only do the Cowboys manage to do both, but so often in the NFC East the season comes down to the last two weeks, and the Cowboys have been prone to losing in those crucial weeks. There have been many win-and-your-in games in the NFC East and the Cowboys always tend to come up short. From 2008-2012 the Cowboys played in four of these games against divisional foes and they lost all of them. This constant big game failure now looms over the Cowboys and must run through their players' heads everytime they take the field for one.
4 Tony Romo
Early in his career, Tony Romo was a huge part of these big game let-downs the Cowboys always went through. He fumbled a snap in the 2007 Wild Card game that would have resulted in the game winning field goal. After losing to the Giants in a late season elimination game in 2012, Romo's record in elimination games was 1-5. He has since improved on that record, but has still failed to reach an NFC Championship game. A lot of the time quarterbacks are overly scrutinized because they are always under the spotlight. This is partly true with Romo, because he has put up great numbers in the past. No one is asking him to be amongst the NFL's best like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but let's look at some of other middle-tier quaterbacks who have won Super Bowls. In the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl run, Eli Manning threw nine touchdowns and one interception. During the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl run, Joe Flacco threw eleven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Romo is now coming off of an injury plagued season and at 36 years old you have to wonder if Romo will be able to elevate his game to the level where he can help carry a team to the Super Bowl.
3 Inept Coaching
Jerry Jones has little patience for failure, which has led to a lot of instability in the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staffs. He has signed some very high profile coaches in Wade Philips and Bill Parcells. Parcells is a huge personality who has had great success with other teams, yet he and Jones often clashed. Phillips has a reputation for being a great defensive mind and he has had the best record of any Cowboys head coach since Barry Switzer. Yet Jones let him go, and now Wade Phillips recently led the defense of the Super Bowl winning Denver Broncos. Today the Cowboys are been led by Jason Garrett, someone who has consistently made bad decisions that have cost his team. Garret seems to be another product of Jerry Jones' arrogance and he has been reluctant to even criticize a coach that has led the Cowboys nowhere, all because Jones doesn't want to admit he's made a mistake.
2 They Constantly Beat Themselves
All of these problems within the Cowboys' organization have now been so ingrained into their culture that the world now expects them to find a way to mess up every season. The Cowboys seemingly always have a good team on paper. Yet there is always a combination of everything I just mentioned that always leads to their ultimate demise. Off the field, it will be players getting arrested or feuds between players and coaches. On the field, it will be late game blunders or lackadaisical play-calling. They have gone from having a reputation of being a team who everyone envies to a complete shell of their former selves. Fans of other teams still love to hate the Cowboys and now they don't have to deal with their success. They love to hate them because they love to see an overhyped, overrated team lose and fail to reach their lofty expectations year after year.
1 The New England Patriots
Not only have the once high profile, evil empire Dallas Cowboys fallen into becoming a complete mess, they have been replaced by a new empire. That empire is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's New England Patriots. The Patriots dynasty is highlighted by thirteen division titles and four Super Bowl championships since 2001. They have dealt with constant accusations of cheating, and are hated by the rest of the NFL because of their constant perfection and accusations that always surround them. The Patriots are everything the Cowboys once were and want to be today. They have the legendary coach, the pretty-boy Hall of Fame quarterback, the constant controversy, and most importantly, the championship success. To be America's Team, you have to have a large following of people who support you and despise you. You also have to have a level of success unparalleled by other teams in the league. The New England Patriots have all of this and have officially dethroned the Cowboys as "America's Team."