Yesterday was hectic, as far as football writing in February goes. Jerry Jones didn't say that Terrell Owens was staying, but he might as well have. And the only reason he didn't, probably, is to keep us talking about him and his favorite toy.
The fodder didn’t stop there. Jerry Jones seemed to be rationalizing the Cowboys’ failures in 2008, particularly their supposed (and evidentially supported) inability to play in December, when he remarked Wednesday on the Cardinals’ season.
"There's really only one team that should be satisfied today, and that's the Pittsburgh Steelers," Jones said Tuesday. "The team after that that should feel pretty good was 9-7 and had a tough time in its last five [regular season] games. And yet they were almost the world champions.
Besides being patently wrong (more on that later), these remarks are a terrible harbinger of things to come. We are approaching Al Davis-level madness, and it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Such things happen when your esteemed general manager doesn't believe in team chemistry. It's enough to make one wonder if Jerry saw the Pittsburgh Steelers win, or if he tuned out in the third quarter to catch the end of the "Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet."
But never mind that adorable nonsense; let’s dig in to this comparison.
The Cardinals quarterback is Kurt Warner, who, aside from being a Super Bowl winner, has proven repeatedly that he can effectively command a locker room.
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While I’m not a proponent of the often bandied-about “Romo is garbage” theory, I am also forced to look at the facts. Namely, he is young, he has never won a playoff game, and 2008 was only his second full season as a starter in the NFL.
Will Tony Romo win a Super Bowl? I can’t say, though he certainly seems to have the ability and the weapons. At this juncture, however, Tony Romo is not (listen, Jerry)—is not—on the level of Kurt Warner.
In Arizona, the culture in the locker room is an entirely different beast than in Dallas.
Anquan Boldin had a palpable (and somewhat justified) beef with the front office the entire season, but no one heard much about it until after the Super Bowl.
That doesn’t happen in Dallas. In fact, it can’t happen -- not with an owner who coddles players to the degree that Jones does.
In Arizona last season, any given player was ready to play on any given Sunday, regardless of front office squabbles, ball distribution and, as Boldin showed us, even a broken face.
Yes, Arizona was 9-7. Yes, they slumped somewhat in December.
However, letting a few contests slip with a playoff spot wrapped up is one thing. Being embarrassed by the Ravens and beaten mercilessly and embarrassed by the Eagles en route to choking up a playoff spot is quite another.
Hopefully, Jones is right -- chemistry doesn’t matter all that much and the Boys are a few adjustments from a Super Bowl appearance.
If he is wrong however, these comparisons may be the closest Dallas gets to a Super Bowl for a long, long time.