Dallas Cowboys: Babe Laufenberg

Aikman doesn't foresee joining Cowboys

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
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IRVING, Texas -- Last Friday, I mentioned Babe Laufenberg’s thought about Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's possible involvement in the Dallas Cowboys’ front office, similar to the way John Elway operates the Denver Broncos.

It’s a terrific thought, but it would never happen. Appearing Thursday on KTCK The Ticket radio in Dallas, Aikman admitted he didn’t think it would happen with the Cowboys with Jerry Jones in control.

“Babe has been kicking the tires on that scenario for a couple of years,” Aikman told "The Morning Musers" show. “I think every guy who's played the position in the NFL and has spent time within the league has had maybe some aspirations, at one point in time, of moving into that capacity. I visited with John [Elway] last summer at length one evening at the Hall of Fame and talked to him about some of the challenges and the things that he had done there with the organization, and he's done a remarkable job. It's been very impressive. They've drafted good players. He's made good decisions, certainly, on bringing Peyton Manning in.

"Right now, I'm happy doing what I'm doing [as a TV analyst for Fox]. At some point in time, would I entertain the idea of intentionally getting involved with an organization? Yeah, I think that would excite me to some degree. Where that may take place, who knows? But the structure in Dallas is pretty much set. I don't anticipate anything like that would happen within the Cowboy organization."

What about the return of Troy Aikman?

January, 10, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- John Elway is in his third year as the Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football operations. It's a fancy title that says, basically, he's in charge of all things football when it comes to the Broncos.

The Hall of Fame quarterback has been able to ride Tim Tebow to a playoff appearance -- and win -- and was able to lure Peyton Manning to the Broncos as a free agent.

[+] EnlargeTroy Aikman
AP Photo/James D SmithBringing Troy Aikman into the front-office fold would help the Joneses generate goodwill with Cowboys fans.
Before Elway took that job, his personnel experience consisted of owning the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League.

The Broncos have gone 26-6 in the last two seasons with Manning as quarterback and are the AFC's top seed in the playoffs for the second straight year.

The Dallas Cowboys do not have an executive vice president of football operations.

They have Jerry Jones as owner, president and general manager. They have Stephen Jones as chief operating officer, executive vice president and director of player personnel. Will McClay is the assistant director of player personnel.

On Sunday, I was fortunate enough to appear on "The Score With Babe Laufenberg." Sportscaster Bill Jones asked what changes could or should the Cowboys make in 2014. I came up with change the defensive coordinator. I mean, how hard is that when Monte Kiffin's defense was as bad as it was?

Laufenberg, the former Cowboys quarterback, sports director at KTVT and Cowboys radio analyst, had an ingenius thought.

Hire Troy Aikman.

Brilliant.

Think about the goodwill that would give Jones, who has long been criticized for being the general manager by just about everybody upset with the lack of success the Cowboys have had. Think of the jolt it would give the franchise.

Last year, Jones talked about sometimes having to do something "inordinate" to get the change you seek. His idea of change was to fire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator and have Bill Callahan call plays. And the Cowboys still went 8-8.

In his role as a Fox analyst, Aikman has been closer to the game than Elway was when he took over. I wonder if a part of him sees what Elway has done and thinks, "I can do that." Is Elway poring over player reports every waking minute and up on all of the salary cap machinations? Not necessarily.

Dan Marino tried to do this in 2004 and it didn't take. He lasted just three weeks as the senior vice president of football operations. Last fall Marino hinted he would be interested in a front-office gig once again, referencing Elway's success.

A lot of this is pie in the sky. We know Jones won't give up the GM duties. Ever. We also don't know if Aikman would ever consider giving up the Fox gig for something a little more grinding than calling games about 20 weekends a year. And we don't know if he could work with (or for) Jones again.

As we sit and wait to see what changes Jones will or will not make in this offseason, it sure is fun to ponder a Cowboys' life with Aikman in the front office.

Thanks for the idea, Babe.

Cowboys leaned on backup QBs before

December, 26, 2013
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IRVING, Texas – With the season on the line, the Dallas Cowboys most likely will have to rely on backup QB Kyle Orton to deliver a victory Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles because starter Tony Romo is battling an injured back.

It won't be the first time the Cowboys have needed a backup up to deliver in the Jerry Jones era.

[+] EnlargeKyle Orton
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsThe Cowboys may look to backup Kyle Orton to keep their postseason hopes alive.
In 1990, the Cowboys faced a win-and-in scenario without Troy Aikman because of a knee injury and turned to Babe Laufenberg against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys lost 26-7. Laufenberg completed 10 of 24 passes for 129 yards with two interceptions, including one that was returned by Deion Sanders 61 yards for a touchdown. Laufenberg was also sacked three times in his first start of the season.

"It still bothers you," said Laufenberg, who is the sports director at KTVT in Dallas and in his 21st year as the color analyst for the Cowboys radio network. "This time of season, it's like the death of your mother when the anniversary comes up. Seriously. It still bothers you. Now that was my last game, too, as it turned out."

If Romo is unable to play, Orton will make his first start for Dallas and the 70th of his career. Orton is 35-34 as a starter but has not started a game since the 2011 season finale with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is in his second season with the Cowboys.

While Laufenberg's memories are not positive, the Cowboys have had backups deliver for them in big moments before.

In 1991, the season after Laufenberg's start, Steve Beuerlein replaced an injured Aikman and won his four regular-season starts as the Cowboys finished 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1985. He also helped the Cowboys win their first road playoff game since 1980 when they beat the Chicago Bears in the wild-card round.

In the regular-season game in which Aikman hurt his knee, Beuerlein connected on a touchdown pass to Michael Irvin in the fourth quarter, and Dallas beat the then-undefeated Washington Redskins 24-21. He finished the regular season with five touchdown passes and two interceptions.

What changed for the Cowboys in Aikman's absence was the increased workload of RB Emmitt Smith. He carried the ball at least 25 times in each of Beuerlein's starts and had at least 109 rushing yards in three of the games. The defense also played its best, allowing more than 14 points just once in Beuerlein's four starts.

In 1993, the Cleveland Browns cut QB Bernie Kosar for "diminishing skills." The Cowboys, led by coach Jimmy Johnson, signed Kosar two days later – and four days later he delivered a 20-15 Dallas win against the Phoenix Cardinals. With Aikman out (hamstring) and the offense sluggish under backup Jason Garrett, Johnson turned to Kosar. Kosar completed 13 of 21 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.

A week later, he made his only Cowboys start, a 27-14 loss to the Falcons. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cowboys would lose only one more game that season – the famous ice game on Thanksgiving against the Miami Dolphins – before winning Super Bowl XXVIII.

Garrett had his moment in the sun in the Thanksgiving game in 1994. With Aikman and Rodney Peete out, Garrett outdueled Brett Favre, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys put up 36 second-half points to beat the Green Bay Packers 42-31.

While that game is often remembered, Garrett also had a 6-3 record as a starter with the Cowboys.

"Shoot, you live for that," Laufenberg said. "I just hate [hearing], ‘Ah, backup quarterback is the best job in the world.' Ask them. Ask Jason. All you want to do is play."

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