It’s our stance around these parts that Jerry needs to hire a real “football guy” to come in and act as the GM. No one would argue with the idea after seeing Jerry’s hapless record of drafts and free agent pick ups. But how sure are we that having this football mind around will help things?
Around here we’re also big fans of Jimmy Johnson, and many of us believe the Super Bowl seasons of ’92 and ’93 were largely due to Jimmy. However, a certain event from those glory years makes us all wonder if it even makes a difference. We speak of Jerry’s handling of Emmitt Smith’s holdout to start the 1993 season.
Coming of a Super Bowl win and returning most of the heart of the team, the season looked to be shaping up nicely. Aikman and Irvin were fully in sync, and Emmitt had led the league in rushing the previous two seasons in Norv Turner’s run-heavy offense. Emmitt was still playing under his rookie contract and felt, rather fairly in most peoples’ eyes, that he deserved a raise. His teammates and the media assumed Jerry would take care of his cash cow. Jerry had other ideas, deciding to take a hard line with Emmitt and going as far as drafting a running back in the 4th round. Emmitt held out of training camp hoping to get a new deal, but Jerry never gave in.
The distracted Emmitt-less Cowboys lost their first game to the hated Redskins badly. Still undeterred and convinced it would be Emmitt that gave in first, Jerry ignored the ugliness his team displayed in the loss and refused to negotiate with Emmitt. The second game of the year saw the Cowboys lose to the Bills while Aikman attempted a then career high 45 passes with no running game to count on. Afterwards, Charles Haley and his fellow players were close to revolt, and even Jimmy Johnson was dumbfounded.
It took two devasting and shocking losses for Jerry to see the light despite the fact that his “football guy”, Jimmy Johnson, had been practically shining it in his face the whole time. Emmitt was given a new contract before the next game, and the Cowboys only lost two more games the entire season en route to a second Super Bowl victory. The ultimate success of the 1993 Cowboys might lead the average fan to overlook Jerry’s game of chicken with Emmitt, but his behavior can’t be ignored. So it begs the question that needs to be asked should Jerry wise up and bring in some help – how can we be so sure he wouldn’t let it happen again?