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Troy Aikman is not shy about speaking his mind. But his strongest opinions are generally saved for harrumphing players having too much fun at the expense of his delicate football sensitivities.
On Tuesday, he took on a real target. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Aikman: ‘There has to be a complete overhaul’
The Fox football analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the Cowboys shared some ideas on how to fix the “dysfunction” in his former team and pointed to changes needed at the top.
“Go through the list [of coaches] and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it’s been,” Aikman told 1310 The Ticket. “It hasn’t always mattered who the head coach has been. So to me, if you’re asking me, I’d say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization.
You just can’t simply replace head coaches and say, ‘Now it’s going to be better.’ No, it’s been shown that it’s not better. And you have to address how everything is being done.”
Aikman points directly at Jerry Jones
Ninth-year head coach Jason Garrett is on the hot seat following a 3-5 start while staring down a likely seventh season without a playoff berth.
But Aikman pointed to the parade of coaches that includes Wade Phillips, Bill Parcells and Chan Gailey who have also failed to find playoff success since the glory days in Dallas of the early ’90s.
In short, there’s a rot in the Cowboys’ organizational core, according to Aikman. Dallas has done a lot of losing, and through that losing, there’s been one constant.
Aikman did not shy from calling him out by name.
“And there’s been times where I’ve heard Jerry say, ‘OK, look, we’re going to do it differently,” Aikman said. “I’m going to do it differently.’ But it’s the same. Nothing changes. And that to me is the bigger issue, beyond, ‘Yes, coaching’s important, personnel, all those things are important, but how are you going about evaluating? How are you going about running the organization?”
Aikman, Jones have a lot of history
Aikman and Jones shared some of the best times in the history of American sports in putting together a dynasty with one of the NFL’s glamour franchises.
But it appears that two-plus decades of ineptitude following those great Super Bowl runs have pushed Aikman to the brink.
Aikman’s run was built during the Jimmy Johnson era, which was dissolved when clashes between Jones and Johnson pushed Johnson out the door. The Cowboys have not found championship success since.
Aikman: ‘There’s a lot of dysfunction’
Jones is not only the owner but the general manager of the Cowboys. While he leaves much of the personnel decisions with his son and Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, the buck stops with Jerry.
Decisions like letting Tony Romo go in favor of Dak Prescott and failing to fill a glaring wide receiver void in the offseason before overpaying in a trade for Amari Cooper are products of Jones’ leadership in Dallas.
“I talk to people who have been inside the building and have a pretty good understanding of how things are run, and in a lot of ways there’s a lot of dysfunction,” Aikman said. “And that has to change if this team is going to be able to compete on a consistent basis like the teams you look to around the league that seemingly are in the hunt each and every year.”
There’s a saying that makes the rounds with frustrated fan bases watching teams mired in mediocrity year after year.
You can’t fire the owner.
In the case of the Cowboys, you can’t fire the general manager either.
Aikman stopped short of using that f-word on Tuesday. But the sentiment is clear. Changes are needed at the top in Dallas.
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