Dear Mr Jones,
My name is Fred. I am an avid Cowboys fan of approxiamtely 40 years. Let me tell you why. I was born in Syracuse NY and was a Buffalo Bills fan back in the early 70's as OJ Simpson was the best player that a child could watch. He was electric. Then, something funny happened. I watched a game on TV (and there weren't many on TV in those days). The Cowboys, led by Roger Staubach, came roaring back in the 2nd half of a game (my memory tells me Roger the Dodger got knocked out of the game early) to win. I was thrilled. Roger Staubach, the leader of the Dallas Cowboys, just showed me why I should dump the Buffalo Bills, my hometown team, in favor of what was to be termed later "America's Team". Anyway, you recently said it is going to get "uncomfortable" at Valley Ranch. Really? Did losing your last game get you there? Why not the last 15 or so years. Let's look at my personal history with the Cowboys so that you can gauge my level of comfort.
I watched the Cowboys fight against the Steelers for NFL supremacy in the late 70's and early 80's, trading off Super Bowl wins (God, I hated Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swan). I hated the Washington Redskins as they remain Dallas' chief rival (still do to this moment). In addition to Roger, I always loved Randy White, he was a beast. Anyway, I built my love for the Cowboys at that time.
The "uncomfortableness" (sorry if that is not a word) started in the late 80's with a resounding thump as we go 1-15 (note, that one victory was against the hated Redskins). You had just bought the team recently, hired Jimmy Johnson (who I hated since he came from Miami and I a Notre Dame fan). As an owner/gm, terrific move (in hindsight). But, I wanted to see what would happen to my favorite pro football team. Well, Mr Johnson did wonderful things. He traded one player for a king's randsom. He built a process where a balanced attack and tough-mindedness resulted in a winning program. He built the team back into relovance and we go on to win two Superbowls under his leadership.
Then, the bad things started to happen. Things became very "uncomfortable" at Valley Ranch. You parted ways with the man who was mostly responsible, from a football perspective, of creating a dynasty. Sure, as the owner, you deserve some of the credit as well. But, as an owner, you need to let the football minds run the operation. Johnson presumably wanted to remain the main football mind, which he earned. However, he leaves (or gets shown the door) as you presumably didn't like the idea of sharing in the spotlight. Then Bary Switzer takes Johnson's team and wins another Superbowl. Wow, the Dallas Cowboys are a dynasty! Not so fast.
The late 90's and early 00's were an embarrassment. The QB's that you trotted on to the field were all jokes. Only when a stroke of luck occurs and Tony Romo falls into your lap does the team start to get better. But, horrendous moves by the GM (i.e.: you) resulted in giving up our future for players that did not have anything left in the gas tank. My goodness, as a Cowboy fanatic, I was extremely "uncomfortable".
Fast forward to today as I don't want to talk more about the product that you, the GM, put on the field in the late 90's and early 00's. Without a football mind at the helm, we have not done well. The Dallas Cowboys, while being worth A LOT OF MONEY, are not a proud franchise any longer. Yes, they make you money, but it is very obvious that this is a business to you ONLY, and not an organization that should be playing for titles every year. Money has clouded your judgment. Yes, you spend money, but you are more interested in trying to succeed because of you. This is extremley narcissistic. You MUST get a football mind to run your team and then you can focus entirely on the ownership end in which you are fantastic.
More on today's world, I am exceptionally "uncomfortable" every time I run into a Steelers fan as their team continues to run a good product on the field on a consistent basis and has now jumped in front of my beloved Cowboys as the team with the most Lombardi trophies. In the past, I was always secure in discussions with fans from any other teams by always having the last words "sure your team won today, but who has won the most Super Bowls?". Not the Dallas Cowboys any longer.
Back to the present. We have a team that was in the midst of a 3-year plan, as we had been told. In comes Jason Garrett as the head coach. Not a bad move, a lot of teams wanted him. But, as a GM, you HAD to recognize that this guy shouldn't be allowed so much responsibility as he had never been a head coach of a POP Warner team, let alone America's Team. A legitimate General Manager would never had allowed that.
Year one of the plan resulted in taking out the trash (getting rid of aging, expensive and sometimes, troublesome players). Nice moves. Garrett trying to install the "Right Kind of Guys" on this team. Positive moves.
Year two you had the opportunity to do one of two things, improve the secondary or the Offensive Line (couldn't afford to do both). In my opinion, you did the right thing IF you truly have a 3-year plan. You went out and signed the best Free Agent CB at the time and then made a bold move to jump up in the draft and grab the best defensive player available. Beautiful, I applaud that. It was curious how you signed two individuals for the offensive line that were not at the top of their game when spending a similar amount of money on one player would have improved the offense immediately, but I digress. You also bring in a coach to help with the offensive decisions, although, this has not gone well.
Now we are in year 3 of the plan. Please, for the love of God, or if it is more important to you, for the love of money, take care of the offensive and defensive lines. It seems that you like to see what works and then emulate that. I agree in this case. Look at what you did in year 2. You rebuilt the secondary and it appears to be a very good unit. You need to employ the EXACT same methodology for the Offensive Line (and to a lesser degree, the defensive line). Please consider signing one of the best free agent offensive linemen that are available. You know you can create cap space to make such moves (please reach out to me if you need assistance). But, if healthy, a Jake Long type would immediately improve this team. Then, you use the first pick in the draft to take the best offensive lineman, regardless of position. Then, with what you have already on the team, your offensive line would be dynamic. Your/Our quarterback would have time to throw, there would be larger holes for the running backs to maneuver. But again, I digress. Anyone that watches the game of football knows that you start building a team with strength up the middle. A football mind would know this.
The last thing that I will say is that while I will always watch the Cowboys via any media outlet I can (either on TV, my phone, or on my computer), I am getting sick and tired of playing Monday morning quarterback. I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania so I am square in the middle of Eagle/Giant/Steeler territory so you can just imagine how "uncomfortable" it is at the "water-cooler" the next day. All of sudden, Redskin fans are crawling out of the wood-work. If I get any more "uncomfortable" I may stab one of them!
I have wanted to go to a Cowboys game in Dallas my entire life. I have never been able to afford it as I have a family to consider and that would cost me a lot of money between the ticket, the flight, the hotel, etc.. But, if I am to spend a few thousdand dollars on a game, I would be embarrassed to see the product that you put on the field right now? I need to be comfortable going to a game in Dallas and not seeing 17,000 Steeler fans in there or 20,000 Bears fans. Talk about "uncomfortable"!!! (see stabbing comment above)
Do the right thing Mr Jones. Instead of inserting yourself into the media process, go out and remove yourself from football operations. Hire a legitimate GM. Hire a legitmate offensvie coordinator. Remove your family from any decisions that have to do with football operations. Please, before you lose the fans that jumped on board during what they percieve as the "hey-day" of the 90's. They don't always know, like me, that there is MUCH more to the Dallas Cowboys than just the triplets and Jimmy Johson. They see the floundering of this team in the last 15 years. You will eventually lose those people to other teams. You will eventually lose revenue to other teams. In an interview recently, you were asked what would you do to a GM if they had your record over this timeframe. You said you would fire them. Please heed your words.
Please, before it is too late, make this team relovant again. Start the process by removing yourself in favor of a legitmate GM, and let that football mind take America's Team back to dominance.
ps - I can be available at any point to discuss this letter or to assist your organization. I welcome your feedback.