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|Jerry Jones has seen his team fall short of the NFC Championship Game for 18 straight seasons.|
For the 18th consecutive season Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be viewing the NFC Championship Game -- this time it's San Francisco versus Seattle -- on TV.
That's if he can stand to watch it. Jerry might prefer to put his head into a pillow and scream instead.
America's Team has been transformed into America's laughingstock with its 136-136 record since 1997.
Jerry can blame only himself since he's the owner/GM presiding over the longest streak in franchise history without an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
Tom Landry's Cowboys played in each of the first four NFC Championship Games after the American Football League merged with the National Football League prior to the 1970 season.
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The Cowboys wound up playing in seven NFC Championship Games in the '70s, three in the '80s and four in the '90s, the last occurring after the 1995 regular season.
The Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions are the only other NFC teams with a longer absence from the NFC title game.
Just so you know, 12 teams have made at least two appearances in that span and six teams have been one game away from the Super Bowl three different times.
The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers have made it four times and the Philadelphia Eagles have done it five times.
The sad part, if you're a Cowboys fan, is that there's zero tangible evidence that things are going to change anytime soon because the Cowboys have one of the most dysfunctional organizations in professional sports. Jones clearly thinks his way is the best way to run a franchise, although it's clearly been unsuccessful for nearly 20 years.
The Cowboys are about $31 million over the league's projected salary cap, which means contracts for older players such as Tony Romo and Jason Witten must be lengthened to reduce their cap figures or former stars synonymous with the franchise such as DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin must take significant pay cuts or get released.
Success in the draft has been sporadic, with every successful high pick such as Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith negated by a Mike Jenkins, Felix Jones (neither of whom is with the team) or Morris Claiborne.
We're talking about an organization with just four playoff appearances and four 10-win seasons since 1997. The Cowboys have had six head coaches in that time span -- a figure exceeded only by K.C., Buffalo and Oakland -- an indication the GM still believes any one of 500 coaches can lead his team.
It's clear he has little respect for the position, even if he respects the man who holds it. That's why Jones demanded that Jason Garrett fire Rob Ryan after the 2012 season, replace Ryan with 73-year-old Monte Kiffin and turn the play calling over to Bill Callahan.
It didn't work. It never does for the Cowboys these days.
This is same team that decided on draft day to take yet another tight end in the second round, while passing on Sharrif Floyd, a player the Cowboys rated fifth on their own draft board.
Good teams don't operate that way.
Look around the NFL at the league's most consistent winners and you'll see it's all about the organization.
The New York Giants. The Baltimore Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers. The New England Patriots. The Green Bay Packers. Sure, they have a bad season here or there, but they regroup and get back to winning because their organizations are structurally sound.
You could say the same thing about the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and MLB's New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Poorly run organizations find ways to lose or remain in the abyss of mediocrity, like the Cowboys, no matter how many high draft picks they receive or coaches they hire.
Bad organizations have systemic issues that can't be solved by one high draft pick or one coach.
These Cowboys join Green Bay and the Houston/Tennessee Oilers as the only teams in NFL history with three consecutive .500 seasons.
Green Bay went 4-12 the next season; Tennessee went to the Super Bowl. You know, the Cowboys are considerably closer to Green Bay's fate than Tennessee's.
Look at the teams playing in the NFC championship. Each has a clear identity.
San Francisco and Seattle both have physical run-first offenses that complement their rugged, nasty defenses.
Seattle and San Francisco know exactly who they are and how to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers.
The Cowboys' identity is to pass until they must run. They go long stretches without getting the ball to their best players. Defensively, they're a disaster.
It's hard to win like that.
Unless Jones changes the systemic issues that have made his franchise the poster child for mediocrity, who will be surprised if it's another 18 years before the Cowboys play in another NFC Championship Game?