I heard an interesting topic being discussed on The Ticket on the drive to work on Tuesday that got me to thinking. The discussion they were having was based on a hypothetical trade between the Cowboys and some other team. The trade would involve swapping the entire roster with this team – all 53 players on the active roster and practice squad players. The team that you would swap with would be the team of your choice: Pittsburgh, Arizona, New York, etc. Think about it for a second. Would you do it? Would you pull the trigger on a trade that would send Tony Romo and company to Pittsburgh and brought back Ben Roethlisberger and the league’s #1 ranked defense of 2008? Or would you prefer to have Arizona’s dynamic wide receiver duo? It’s certainly an interesting question.
Personally, the only team that I would agree to swapping rosters with would be the Steelers. Their defense was nothing short of spectacular in 2008 and they will have pretty much the same defense in 2009. Though the offense is less dynamic than that of the Cowboys, Roethlisberger is a better game manager than Tony Romo – a trait that is more conducive to actually making the playoffs and then winning once there. But aside from the Steelers, I don’t think there is another team in the league that intrigues me; not Philadelphia, not New England and certainly not the Giants.
It’s pretty interesting that I wouldn’t swap rosters with the runner-up in the NFC, the team with the most Super Bowl titles this decade and the defending NFC East champions (one year removed from a Super Bowl title of their own), respectively. But why is that? Why is it that I would rather hang onto the roster of a team that missed the playoffs in one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory? The answer is simple: Jerry Jones. It’s saddening, frustrating, baffling and maddening, all at the same time, that one man can reverse the fortunes of 53 hard-working souls. It’s even a little disheartening to know that he has potentially already doomed the 2009 season, even though it’s still over four months away.
Now, if you were to ask me which team I would swap GMs with, I would come back with a list longer than Santa Claus’ naughty/nice list. And that’s the biggest issue here. It’s bigger than Jason Williams, bigger than Terrell Owens and certainly bigger than Wade “Duh” Phillips. The reason all of the talking heads and so-called experts repeated ad nauseum that releasing Terrell Owens wouldn’t fix the Cowboys’ problems was all because of one simple fact: Jerry Jones is still the GM of the Dallas Cowboys. It wouldn’t matter if the Cowboys had all the talent in the world on their roster (and make no mistake, the team is plenty talented), the fact that the organization rots from the top down would still lead to more and more failure in December and January.
Raise your hand if you’re tired of seeing Wade Phillips and his completely confused expression roaming the sidelines? Well, it wouldn’t matter if he were to get fired. As long as GM Jerry is still roaming the sidelines, the Cowboys will continue to wallow in their own mediocrity. Some other cupcake head coach would likely follow and we’d be right back where we were when Chan Gailey took over for Barry Switzer – with a roster full of talented players who lack discipline and a GM who makes desperation moves to try to capitalize on a rapidly-closing window of opportunity (don’t tell me you didn’t immediately think “Joey Galloway” when the Roy Williams trade was announced).
Now, in the interest of fairness, let’s say that it’s possible that the issue with the Cowboys does reside on the 53-man roster. Which team or teams would you trade rosters with? Would you like to see Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne wearing a star on their helmets? What about Tom Brady and Randy Moss? Keep in mind that the Pillsbury Duhboy will still be running the show on game day since Jerry, in his infinite wisdom, decided to keep him around for another debacle…I mean, season.