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Roger Staubach, don't be that guy

11/9/2012

I live, as many of you know, in northern New Jersey, not far from New York City. We get a great deal of local coverage here of the New York Jets as well as the New York Giants. Part of that Jets coverage, for the past couple of years, has included a relentless string of critical commentary of the team and its management by the greatest player in team history, Super Bowl III-winning quarterback Joe Namath. Broadway Joe lambastes the Jets, their front office, their head coach and their quarterback(s) at every turn, sounding far more like a petulant, overreacting fan who happens to have a platform than a former NFL star offering his perspective to help others analyze the game. I have long been of the belief that Namath's rise to media prominence over the past few years -- he has regular paid radio appearances, is active on Twitter and is often interviewed by those who cover the team -- has become a contributing factor to the crushing negativity under which the Jets operate. And if I ran the team, it would infuriate me to have the best player in team history contributing to the negativity.

Why do I bring this up on an NFC East blog? Because I saw this piece about former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who said on Mike & Mike on Friday that he thinks Jerry Jones should think about changing the way he operates the team, maybe pull back a bit from his GM duties and cede some control:

"Jerry is trying real hard," Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach said Friday on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio. "He goes back to the old days when they won three Super Bowls. I think the formula is he's got to find a medium ground and delegate more authority."

Now, when I read the headline on our site that says "Staubach: Jerry Jones should shed duties," the Namath comparison sprung instantly to mind. It's hard enough to run a high-profile sports franchise these days without your Mount Rushmore superstars echoing the same irrational criticism you so often hear from fans angry after a loss. In point of fact, Jones has pulled back and ceded a great deal of the day-to-day control and personnel decisions to both Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett.

But reading through Staubach's comments, you see they're a lot more tame and respectful than what we hear around here from Namath on the Jets. For instance:

"If they're out of it this year, he'll continue to get more and more criticism as far as how he's handling the team," Staubach said. "It's his team. He owns the team. He's passionate about it, and I can't tell him what to do. So I'm just a big Cowboys fan and hoping for the best."

That sounds more like a guy trying to help, who's just expressing his opinion and obviously wishing the team he supposedly loves success rather than piling on in the wake of more failures. And that's fine. If you're a Cowboys fan, or a Cowboys coach or player, you'd surely hate to see Staubach go down the Namath road and start being quoted every couple of days about how rotten things are. That just adds unnecessary noise and chaos and doesn't really do anything to help make things better. That's what these teams have us in the media for. They don't need their own Hall of Famers adding to it.

So what Staubach says here seems harmless enough. Hopefully he doesn't get the itch to keep firing away.