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Heavyweight Boxing, Wine Coolers, the Center position in basketball; all things prominent at one time, and all nearly dead to a world they at one time called their oyster.
Tony Romo is restructuring his contract. Did you hear? Of course you did, after all, the Cowboys are “America’s Team,” Tony Romo is an elite quarterback, and Jerry Jones continues to dazzle as the premiere executive in a league they sit atop. Right? Not quite.
The aforementioned suggestions, like the boxing, booze, and “big man,” had their day, but now ain’t it. The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won their division or made the playoffs in nearly five years, haven’t been to the Super Bowl in almost 20, and are 112-112 since the year 2000. They have a good, but not great quarterback in Tony Romo, an overvalued roster of marginal talent, and one of the league’s best owners who, unfortunately for them and their fans, doubles as one of the least effective general managers in today’s NFL game. However, in spite of what epitomizes mediocrity regarding the Cowboys and their play on the gridiron, they continue to be the story both on and off the field…worthy or not.
I understand how this works, people; ratings dictate what we see and hear, and the Cowboys – like it or not – are popular amongst the masses. Whether it’s the star on the helmet, the history going back to Roger Staubach in the 1970’s, or their success during the beginning of the NFL’s meteoric rise in popularity in the mid-90’s, with Hall Of Fame players like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, the Cowboys offer sanctuary for fans of the game who dwell in a city without it. Like baseball’s Yankees, basketball’s Lakers, and English soccer’s Manchester United, kids and casual fans flock to what they see and hear most about, and no one regularly gets more attention than the divas of modern-America’s favorite game.
If they’re playing well, we hear about it. If they’re playing poorly, we hear about it. And if they’re not playing at all, we hear about a trivial business decision that occurs frequently every NFL offseason, usually by just about every NFL franchise.
Tony Romo did restructure his contract this week, and in doing so Dallas freed up roughly $10 million in cap space. Headline news? Not in terms of legitimate impact, but in the world of mainstream appeal, the Cowboys work and they work often. Normally, Romo’s deal in addition to the space freed up from restructuring Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick’s contracts, would allow the Cowboys money to use on potential free agents capable of improving the depth on a team lacking such. If so, the addition of upgraded personnel would be news. After all, they need help and any influx of talent to a team lacking an adequate level of it would be beneficial, as well as interesting for even the casual fan. But in this case said maneuvering was done in an effort to get near or beneath the cap they’d breached with deals past. They still have decisions to make regarding veterans DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, which could result in the necessary flexibility to make potential moves, but in spite of what they do and when they do it; the moves will find their way to the ticker at the bottom of my screen.
“So what’s your problem, Wade?”
I haven’t a problem, but more so an issue based on simple deduction. It’s not that the Cowboys aren’t newsworthy, but merely that they aren’t any more so than 80 percent of the NFL.
When people harp back to their success in the era of the “Triplets,” I have to remind them that this isn’t the era of the “Triplets,” nor has it been for nearly two decades. We’re not in the midst of a Super Bowl run or dynasty talk, but rather an era of annual disappointment, front-office ineptitude, and unwarranted hype normally associated with has-beens in the hangover stage of a really good night. Or in this case, a couple good runs in two of the last four decades.
The Cowboys aren’t good. Saying that doesn’t make me a hater, nor hesitant to acknowledge their appeal to long-time or casual fans. What it does make me, is someone capable of understanding the difference between relevant and popular. Much like Heavyweight Boxing, Wine Coolers, and Centers in basketball, the Dallas Cowboys used to be relevant in a conversation pertaining to success in their field. But, just like the aforementioned relics of yesteryear, Jerry’s “boys” the way we knew them are gone, and the present-day Cowboys just aren’t that interesting…in spite of people’s effort to make them just that.
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