NEWSFLASH: COWBOYS AREN'T CONTENDERS
By mark rogers
October 4, 2009
This is something that I've come to realize over the last two weeks (or three games).
The Cowboys don't have what it takes to win an NFL Championship.
And it's not the personnel. Our players are extremely talented...above average at nearly every position.
It's not our scheme. Jason Garrett is a fine offensive play-caller. Wade Phillips always puts together a good defensive game plan. Our players are usually in good position to win games.
It's our attitude. Plain and simple. The Cowboys players who have the task of leading this team to a championship simply don't know what it takes to win it all. They don't care.
I'm talking about the players in leadership positions: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Andre Gurode, Marion Barber, Flozell Adams, Demarcus Ware, Terrence Newman, Marcus Spears.
Now, I'm not saying our players don't care about the team, the coaches or the season. They put in the work in the offseason. They go through a grueling training camp. They watch film and practice every day. They care in the sense that this is what they do for a living. They care about their teammates a great deal.
But they don't care they way you're supposed to care if you want to win it all and go down in history as one of the all-time great teams.
And all the players I've listed are great players. Great players. And I'm not saying they don't deserve to win or they don't work hard or they slack off or anything like that.
But if you go down the line, each and every one of those guys are low-key, mostly quiet guys.
Barber may go crazy after big runs, but if that guy wasn't an NFL running back, he'd be working the night shift at the graveyard. Ever wonder why you never see him doing any interviews for the cameras? It's because he never does interviews...he's just a shy guy. You get the sense that he absolutely hates being around people. Trust me, I've seen him on the field and in the locker room after games.
And there's nothing wrong with that...nothing.
Witten's a pretty quiet, down-to-earth guy, too. Romo's the same. DeMarcus Ware isn't an in-your-face, talk-trash kind of guy. Neither is Roy Williams for that matter.
And all those guys are great people. They work hard. They play hard. They're good players.
You just can't have a team made up entirely of guys like that and expect to win championships. Period.
We don't have a Michael Irvin or Emmitt Smith personality.
We don't have a Ben Roethlisberger.
We don't have a Tom Brady or a Randy Moss.
We don't have a Brett Favre or Reggie White.
There's no one on our team like John Elway or Jerry Rice.
You can match up our players' stats and accomplishments with those guys at similar points in their careers. You can argue numbers and tangibles all day. I get it.
But the thing that we don't have is the thing that each of those guys had that you can't define.
It was their swagger, their confidence, their "I'm going to beat you today and there's nothing you can do to stop me and I'll yell it in your face while I'm doing it" attitude.
It's what people call having "it". Other people refer to it as intangibles...things you can't measure.
You could take 97% of our team and build a champion. We have great players. The only problem is...none of them have "it".
Our head coach is the same way. And you know what? Maybe that's OK in the grand scheme of things. All those guys know that there are more important things in life than football. I get that, too. And I agree.
But the ones who separate themselves in the NFL...the ones who end up in the Hall of Fame...the ones who up-and-coming stars will be compared to for all time don't have that perspective.
To them, winning a championship is the most important thing in life. They're the kinds of guys that you absolutely HATE if they don't play for you. You know, Bruce Bowen, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Rodney Harrison, Larry Bird, Ray Lewis or Bill Laimbeer. You know what all those guys have in common? Right...
Not always a good perspective...but it'll win you titles if you combine it with raw talent, hard work and good, solid management.
I don't know...call me "old school" but I think the powers-that-be are making it harder and harder to have that kind of attitude. All the penalties they call now for personal fouls and "illegal" hits that are absolutely, perfectly normal, aggressive hits are absolutely ridiculous.
They do it in college, too. And I like that fact that the Powers are trying to make it more safe. That's great. But they're also in danger of taking away an aspect of the game that drew people to love football in the first place...the ferocity, the violence, the passion.
But I digress...that's another article. Back to the Cowboys.
I like Tony Romo as a person. There is not a person in the league more honorable and good than Jason Witten. DeMarcus Ware is a really solid guy. But unless we get somebody on this team that has "it", we'll never win an important game.
Bradie James is the closest thing we have. If his attitude were in Romo, our problems would be solved.
Did you see Keith Brooking go crazy when he made that play on fourth down today? That is what I'm talking about.
Instead, our coach and QB look like they'd rather be playing Go Fish than winning games on Sunday.
Something's got to change before we get back on top. Jerry Jones knows who has "it" and who doesn't. He'll find the right guys. Sometimes "it" doesn't show up in college so you have to rely a little bit on luck. Sometimes guys don't pan out like you think they will.
But he'll find the guys, and we'll eventually be the best again.
And, man, I hate to sound like a pessimist, but it just won't be anytime soon.