IRVING, Texas -- It is difficult for fans of the Dallas Cowboys to feel good about much these days.
I will try to offer up something: At least the Cowboys are not the Cleveland Browns.
It seems 'dysfunction' is not a word the Cowboys can claim exclusively.
For as screwy as the structure at Valley Ranch can seem under owner and general manager Jerry Jones, at least you know it is screwy from the get go.
On Tuesday, the Browns announced CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi have been replaced and named Ray Farmer as general manager. This came after a coaching search that took forever and saw several coaches turn down the job. Even more interesting, Farmer was not in the head coaching interviews that landed Mike Pettine as the replacement for Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after one year. So how secure does that make Pettine feel?
Perhaps Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who interviewed for the Browns’ vacancy that went to Pettine, was able to see some of the Cleveland dysfunction.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said being an owner does not come with a manual and he "underestimated" the job. Jones was an outsider when he purchased the Cowboys in 1989 and worked without a manual, too.
He had some missteps in how he handled the Tom Landry firing, but he got it right by hiring Jimmy Johnson as head coach.
By 1992, the Cowboys won their first of three Super Bowls in Jones' first seven years as owner.
It’s been nothing but .500 football for the Cowboys for more than just the past three seasons. They have two playoff wins since winning Super Bowl XXX.
Jones has made several head-scratching moves over the years and over the past few months. Keeping offensive coordinator Bill Callahan after Scott Linehan was added as passing game coordinator to call the plays is one. So too is inventing a position for demoted defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who is now the assistant head coach/defense.
The one decision just about everybody wants Jones to make -- Hire a football guy, Jerry!!!! -- he will not make.
Jones can look at how Haslam has handled the Browns as an example as to why the Cowboys’ structure works best. Very little happens at Valley Ranch without Jones’s OK.
So as you try to fight through another 8-8 finish and see your team unable to do much in upcoming free agency because of salary-cap trouble, just remember it could be worse. You could be rooting for the Browns.
But don’t look too closely. The Browns had six players in the Pro Bowl, have about $45 million in cap space, according to reports, and have five picks in the top three rounds of the May draft, including two first-rounders.
Maybe things aren’t so bad in Cleveland.