Jerry Jones is all smiles on the sidelines before the Cowboys' game vs. San Diego in September. (USA TODAY Spo …
COMMENTARY | With the recent release of nine year veteran Jay Ratliff, it seems as the media has begun their scrutiny of owner Jerry Jones once again. Why did Jones bring him back if they were planning on releasing him six weeks into the season? We may never know the true answer to this other than Jones' account of the story, but what we do know is he has made some very questionable decisions since 1989.
Here are the top mistakes in Jones' tenure as owner.
Firing Tom Landry
When Jerry Jones bought this team back in 1989, they were the worst team in the NFL. The team was being coached by the innovator of the flex defense, Tom Landry, who had won two Super Bowls in the 1970s and led them to three other appearances. Tom was the only coach the Cowboys had ever known before being replaced by a friend of Jerry's.
This would be none other than Jimmy Johnson, who would soon lead the Cowboys out of the NFL cellar to create a short lived dynasty. With his eye for talent, Johnson would propel them to championships in 1992, 1993 and 1995. While it wasn't a mistake to bring in Johnson, many fans wouldn't forgive him right away with firing the legendary Landry. Many had felt after 29 seasons at the helm, Landry should have been able to leave on his terms.
Egos get in the way of a dynasty in the making.
It is no secret that Jerry and Jimmy both wanted to be known for bringing America's Team out of the cellar. With Jerry's money and Jimmy's eye for talent, this tandem looked unstoppable. However, when you have two people such as them, there can only be one alpha male. Unfortunately for Cowboys' fans, this caused a rift in their relationship. Fresh off their second straight Super Bowl win, Johnson would part ways with Dallas.
Even though Johnson wasn't on the sideline for their third championship in four years, everyone knew that it was the work of Jimmy. Jerry brought in another friend in Barry Switzer to run the team. While he did win the championship in his second year, everyone still wonders to this day what could've been? If Jerry and Jimmy had put their differences aside, how many rings would they have? While we will never know the answer, this remains as one of the biggest mistakes in Jones' tenure.
Trading away draft selections.
There have been so many instances in the last 24 years where the Cowboys have made a head-scratching trade involving draft picks. The two biggest ones that come to mind are the Joey Galloway and Roy Williams trades. The Galloway trade hurt the Cowboys because they gave up two first round selections in 2000 and 2001 NFL Draft. If Dallas had that pick in 2001 they could've selected Cowboy killer Santana Moss or Reggie Wayne. The biggest issue with Galloway is that he blew out his knee on opening day in the 2000 season. He would finish his time in Dallas with 151 receptions, 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. That is not exactly worth two first round selections.
The trade that sticks out the most is the one for Roy Williams. Williams was only one season removed from his stellar season when he accumulated 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns. However, upon arrival in Dallas he never could get back to his 2006 form. In three seasons in Dallas, Williams struggled to get 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns. Shortly after the trade was completed he signed a five year extension worth $45 million. The biggest blunder of that trade was the draft picks given up. Jerry sent Detroit a first round, third and sixth round picks in 2009 and a seventh round pick in 2010. Those three picks could have helped that squad, only four years removed from that draft and not a single player remains on the team.
When it comes down to the business side of football, Jerry Jones is one of the best. When Jerry bought the Cowboys he paid $150 million. According to Forbes, his team is now worth $1.85 billion. When it comes to making football and personnel decisions, Jones makes very questionable calls.
According to this story by Barry Horn from Dallas News, Jones was set to buy the San Diego Chargers back in 1966. If his father would have allowed the purchase, it makes you wonder where the Cowboys would be today.
Patrick Conn has been covering the NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys for the last year. The West Texas native has a Dallas Cowboys Podcast and is the founder of Draft Cowboys. Some of his work has even been published on SI.com.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.
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