Well, another football season is plowing towards the playoffs, and it’s time to reflect on how the year has played out. Every summer, 32 teams start training camp with high hopes of playing for the Lombardi trophy in February. Of course, only two teams end up with the opportunity to play for the trophy, and only one will be crowned champs in the end.
Some teams will exceed expectations, and some will fall painfully short. The NFL is the most unpredictable of all the sports leagues. There are so many variables, so many things that can go wrong, you would need a crystal ball to tell how things are really going to play out.
There are two teams though, that over the past 20 years or so, that consistently disappoint their fan bases. Those teams are the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. These teams have consistently not lived up to expectations. No matter who the coach is, who the quarterback is, or how much the owner spends, these teams disappoint.
Normally, there are a myriad of issues that prevent teams from living up to expectations. In these cases, each team is stricken with the same affliction: poor ownership. Now, these owners aren’t cheap. They spend money. You can accuse these guys of many things, but spending funds is not one of them. The main issue is neither man has hired a football man to run the organization. Or, more aptly, has hired a football man and LET him run the organization.
Jerry Jones is a rich oil man who played college football at the University of Arkansas. When he first bought the Cowboys, he fired the legend Tom Landry, and hired his college teammate Jimmy Johnson. They struggled the first few years they were together, but eventually Johnson was able to turn the franchise around and the team won 3 Super Bowls in 4 years(the last one with Barry Switzer). The reason Johnson wasn’t the coach for that last Super Bowl was Jones couldn’t accept the fact he wasn’t getting any of the credit for the Super Bowl wins. After that last championship, the Dallas head coaching job has been a carousel. There has just been one coach after another. The only one who left any kind of mark was Bill Parcells. And even Parcells couldn’t take Jones ego any more and left. Jones is the owner AND GM of the team, and it just doesn’t work. Yes, there are some stars on the Cowboys. But, these are guys that ANYBODY could pick out as good football players. The one find on the current roster is Tony Romo, who was picked up by Parcells. The Cowboys used to be known for their undrafted free agents, or their late round finds. That’s how they built the depth of their teams. The current team, though, lacks depth. Especially on defense, and it’s killing them this season. This is just another season that they are letting slip away, and the fans will be disappointed once again.
The problems with Dan Snyder are different in DC. Snyder is too much of a FAN. He loves the Redskins, and has always been a huge fan of the team. And that is what holds this team back. He becomes friends with the superstars. He gives them preferential treatment, and that breaks down team chemistry. Snyder also treats the Redskins as a fantasy football team. He is always trying to make the big splash, signing the big free agent. The thing is, that’s not how you build a successful franchise. They always lack depth, which you need in such a physically demanding sport. Yet, each year, the Redskins have injuries, and the players they have stepping in just aren’t very good. This also goes into who Snyder hires as the head coach. Besides Jim Zorn, he has hired big name coach after big name coach. The thing is, he hasn’t let these coaches make the decisions and build his team the correct way. And the proof of this is in the standings. The Redskins have made the playoffs 3 times in the past 15 years, and haven’t made an impact. They have had some hot starts, and then collapse at the end. Just shows how poorly the teams have been built.
Until these two owners learn from the Robert Krafts of the NFL, these franchises will be stuck in mediocrity, or worse. And the fans will have to suffer through another long winter, spring, and summer, wondering what if.