Troy Aikman says luxury of Dallas Cowboys facilities, popularity of team impedes winning

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Reed Hoffmann/AP
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Troy Aikman wondered whether the Dallas Cowboys are the victim or their own success.

The Hall of Fame quarterback said on his weekly radio show on KTCK/1310 AM “The Ticket” that he thinks it’s hard for some Cowboys players to keep a motivational edge playing for what is considered the most high profile, most valuable sports team in the world.

“It’s an organization that it’s hard, I think, in order for them to keep an edge. And I think that’s important,” Aikman said. “The facility that they practice at is amazing. It’s the nicest in the NFL. There are tours that come through constantly. You’re constantly reminded that you’re a Dallas Cowboy and you’re really popular.”

Aikman compared the current atmosphere around The Star with what he experienced playing for head coach Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s.

“I know when I was playing for Jimmy I don’t know that we ever felt like we accomplished anything, to be quite honest,” he said. “The more we won, the tougher he got. There’s something to be said for that.”

The Cowboys were eliminated Sunday with their 23-17 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Aikman suggested that it’s tough for coach Mike McCarthy to cultivate a sufficient edge for his players with so much spotlight directed at the team whether they’re winning or not. Aikman’s comments come a day after former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said the perks of the organization “ruins some players.”

“You lead every sportscast, at the top of the show they’re talking about the Cowboys whether the team is good or not good,” he said. “Whether it’s ESPN or NFL Network or all those Sunday morning shows, there is a segment every week, usually at the top, that talks about the Cowboys.”

The Cowboys have played a record 11 playoff games without reaching the NFC Championship Game. The last time Dallas reached the NFC Championship was the 1995 season, the year they won their last Super Bowl.

“They know it’s America’s Team, the players are the most popular, they’re selling the most jerseys for the most part, because of all of the attention they get, so trying to pull that in and then give a team an edge and say, ‘Hey, we’re are the underdogs.’ That’s not an easy task. So I think that’s the challenge for Mike McCarthy and it’s the challenge for the players to try to keep that.”

Aikman said the current Cowboys team doesn’t lack for talent.

“When you look at them stacked up against the other teams in the field, they, talent-wise, can play with anybody. We know when they’re playing their best, they can beat anybody,” he said.