Commentary

Jerry Jones has no grip on reality

Owner and GM is delusional to think Cowboys have talent to contend for Super Bowl

Updated: February 27, 2012, 6:00 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

Jerry Jones volunteered delusions of grandeur last week about the job he has done as the Dallas Cowboys' general manager.

If that comes as a surprise, it means you must not have been paying attention. Not for the past couple of months. Not for the past 15 years.

Jerry has a remarkable ability to see what he wants to believe. It's one of the primary perks of having the most job security of any GM in sports history despite a decade and a half of mediocrity on his résumé.

[+] EnlargeJerry Jones
AP Photo/Sharon EllmanThe Cowboys are 14-18 over the last two seasons, but Jerry Jones rationalizes the 2010 debacle because the Cowboys lost their franchise quarterback to injury.

Of course, that's not the way the Cowboys' owner views the job he has done as a general manager. He sees his smiling reflection in three Lombardi Trophies that he delivered to Dallas every time he steps in his office.

That justifies that Jerry's way is the right way. Jimmy Johnson's role as the real architect of the '90s dynasty is conveniently ignored in this line of thinking.

By that standard, it doesn't sound so delusional to consider a team that has one playoff win in the last 15 seasons and is fresh off yet another late-season fade as being close to another Super Bowl, huh?

"I see the talent level being able to put us in a competitive situation for the Super Bowl," Jones told reporters Friday during the annual powwow on his luxury bus at the NFL scouting combine. "I saw it at the start of that [2010] season and I see it with what we had last year, that there's a talent level that can compete for a Super Bowl."

The Cowboys are 14-18 over the past two seasons, but Jerry rationalizes the 2010 debacle because the Cowboys lost their franchise quarterback to injury. Never mind the 1-5 record in games that Tony Romo started that season.

Cowboys fans' worst fear has come true. The New York Giants' championship run justified what Jerry wanted to believe about his heavily flawed team.

Jerry's opinion hasn't changed from when he stood outside the MetLife Stadium visitors' locker room after watching his team spot the Giants 21 points in a win-and-get-in game and said he expected the Cowboys to make a Super Bowl run until the final seconds ticked off the clock. That misguided optimism has only been reinforced.

Sure, you can make a semantics case that Jerry was just speaking the truth. After all, the last two Super Bowl champions were the last NFC teams to qualify for the playoffs. The 8-8 Cowboys finished only a game out despite choking up three double-digit fourth-quarter leads, including one at home against the Giants.

However, for the boss to make a case that the Cowboys are close after two straight seasons that can be considered epic failures for different reasons sets a terrible tone. You wonder why there's a culture of complacency and entitlement at Valley Ranch?

Plus, you'd think Jerry's hands would be too full trying to plug all the holes on the roster to be applauding the job he has done putting such a talented cast together.

The truth is the Cowboys' talent has been vastly overrated since a 13-3 season in 2007 that looks like a fluke when taking a wider view of this franchise's recent past. The rest of the world seems to have figured that out, as evidenced by the fact that the Cowboys had only two Pro Bowlers this season -- and only three or four other players on the roster could be considered legitimate candidates.

Even with an estimated $20 million in salary cap space and a full complement of draft picks, the Cowboys have too many holes to fill in one offseason, even if this front office had done much in recent memory to inspire confidence. The Cowboys need at least four new defensive starters, an entire new interior offensive line and depth at every single position.

Yet Jerry sees enough talent to contend for a Super Bowl.

If he'd take a close look at one of those old Lombardi Trophies in his office, Jerry should see the reflection of a general manager who has no grip on reality.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.

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