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Is Troy Aikman a Legitimate Candidate for Cowboys General Manager?

In the aftermath of Thursday’s embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears, the entire Dallas Cowboys organization has been called into question. One former Cowboy and a commentator from that game, Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, could barely hide his frustration with what’s happening in Dallas. Now, Troy’s name has been thrown out as a potential savior for the team if he became the general manager.

I know your immediate reaction to that statement is something to the effect of, “Over Jerry Jones’ dead body.” And while it’s true that Jerry isn’t going to give up the GM title lightly, he has to be wondering if he won’t wind up a dead body before the Cowboys win another Super Bowl.

This notion of Aikman taking over in Dallas was first floated by longtime Cowboys reporter Ed Werder of ESPN:

Ed Werder on Twitter

If Jerry Jones is committed to winning, he should be open-minded and discuss hiring @TroyAikman to run football operation. It’s next thing Aikman wants to do in career. He’s no yes-man, knows successful organizational structure, can share decision-making, bring fan credibility.

Ed Werder on Twitter

On a #Doomsday podcast episode last year, this is @TroyAikman on running a team: “Would that be something I think it’d be interested in? The answer is yes. And I’d take it a step further: I think it’d be something I’d be very good at.

We don’t know if Jerry would have any real interest in hiring Troy. Not only does Jones covet the general manager title but his son Stephen is also a major figure in the front office. There is also Will McClay, who many consider the unofficial GM of the Cowboys, that would have to be factored into the equation.

Bringing Aikman in to take over any of those duties would essentially be an admission of failure by the current administration

But even if the Jones family wanted Troy, would Aikman want to work for them? He has been critical in the past of Jerry’s handling of the team, and was especially vocal this week about how he feels Jones has undermined his coaches.

“I think there’s some organizations that truly would do everything possible to win, they just don’t really know where to begin. And there’s different ways to do it. And I certainly understand that. But in Dallas, Dallas knows how it was done. I know how it was done. It was done with a really strong head coach who the players knew that that’s who they had to answer to.”

Clearly, if Aikman were to return to the Cowboys in an executive role, it would have to be with an understanding of where Jerry’s influence begins and ends.

Jones is capable of agreeing to such an arrangement, having reached one with Bill Parcells back in 2003. But how long he stuck to it is another point of contest, though Parcells has never blamed Jerry for why he left the Cowboys four years later.

Even if Jerry and Troy could reach an understanding, there’s also the question of if Aikman would even be good at the job. He has been in broadcasting since his retirement in 2001.

Comparatively, John Elway was involved in team management with the Arena Football League for years before he took over the Denver Broncos in 2011. Ozzie Newsome immediately moved into the Browns’ front office after he retired as a player.

The success of players-turned-executives in sports is as unpredictable as the NFL Draft. For every Elway or Newsome there’s a Matt Millen or Bart Starr. The post-playing success of Jerry West in the NBA led to many failed experiments with the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, as Isaiah Thomas.

Most hirings are a leap of faith, no matter how much you believe in someone’s potential. But would Jerry Jones believe enough in Troy Aikman, or anyone else for that matter, to give over true team management duties and become strictly the Cowboys owner? And would Aikman trust Jerry enough to take the gamble on working for him?

If you think Troy returning to Dallas would be another “yes man” situation between Jerry Jones and a subordinate, then you don’t know Aikman.

Troy Aikman, Norv Turner
Former Cowboys QB Troy Aikman & OC Norv Turner at 2006 Hall of Fame Ceremony

Unlike some of his former Cowboys teammates, Troy has kept a distance from the team since retiring. It has felt strategic at times; wanting to preserve his credibility has a broadcaster by maintaining the appearance of objectivity.

If anything, Aikman has been extra critical of Dallas since joining the media. Many fans have noted Troy’s lack of enthusiasm when discussing the Cowboys while covering their games.

It was also telling that Troy, as opposed to Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, or Larry Allen, did not have Jerry Jones introduce him at his Hall of Fame enshrinement. He instead chose Norv Turner, his offensive coordinator in Dallas and a member of Jimmy Johnson’s coaching braintrust.

This isn’t to say that Aikman has any ill feelings towards the Cowboys or the Joneses. But it does speak to the fact that Troy will be his own man.

I have no doubt that Aikmanis passionate about seeing Dallas return to its past glory. It came through Thursday night and in comments the next day; Troy’s visible frustration spoke to the connection he still feels with the Cowboys.

Could the desire to see the Dallas Cowboys winning championships again bring Troy Aikman home? And would that same desire allow Jerry Jones to finally put aside ego for the sake of winning?

This may be just a fantasy. But if Jerry doesn’t make a change soon, so will be seeing Dallas back in the Super Bowl.

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. Bringing Troy in as GM looks great ” on paper ” – the only thing I’m not 100 % sure of is his ability to evaluate talent – he has been an announcer for a while – but maybe not as well as let’s say Parcells .
    Other than than that , everything else about him , the leadership and everyone is accountable attitude , with no BS is exactly what this team needs .

    Jerry should step aside and let someone else do the job if he is really committed to winning .

    As fans we’re sick and tired of unachievement every year !

    This current formula isn’t working . What’s the definition of insanity – doing the same thing year after year but expecting different results ?

    • No arguments from me. Change for the sake of change sounds great right now given our depression, but there’s no guarantee that Troy would be great at the job. People are already turning on Elway in Denver and he brought them a recent Super Bowl.

      But there’s no question that the current system isn’t working. Coaches and players have all come and gone, but the common denominator is our “General Manager.”

  2. Jones is business brilliant, witness the franchise valuation. That said clearly he does not suffer from wisdom, it having been replaced by pride. It was pride and envy that compelled Jones to resent the adulation poured out upon Jimmy Johnson for Super Bowl victories. Thus, Cowboys fans have endured a 25 year drought of success.

    • Well said. While Jimmy was also to blame for the 90s issues, Jerry’s pride was what ultimately what killed things. And now that same pride is why Jerry is so desperate to be seen as the GM if the Cowboys can ever win another championship away from from the team that Jimmy built.

  3. I like the Idea of Tory Ackman going back to Dallas Cowboys as the G.M along with passed player that played with Teoy to get Dallas back to the super bowl and many more back to back

  4. Anyone has to be better than Jerry. Since Jimmy Johnson’s players retired Dallas has won a pathetic 3 Wild Card games in 23 years. That’s futile. Great owner weak GM. Change is needed give Troy a shot

  5. Jerry Jones pride blinds him to his poor choices and ineffective leadership, and he blames everyone else. I expect Jerry will stop being GM when he goes out feet first. Then we get Stephen and it’s a crap shoot as to whether he thinks he can wear both hats, brings in a friend of the family, or actually hires a good GM.

  6. I’m for it! If anyone has not seen a football life with aikman, it’s a must watch! Cowboys need someone who won’t be afraid to chew some ass when needed!

    • I agree that Troy’s mentality is much needed in Dallas. Would also be great to have someone who understands all of the pitfalls that come with being a star for the Cowboys and can help players deal with it.

    • well said lucas Garza , that’s whats missing from the team they are pampered spoiled lil beeauctches when they steadily screw up on the field! clap clap clappy garret is emotionless . Marinelli and Richard have lost the defense , afraid to hurt the players feelings! so it goes on and on ! TEAR THEIR ASS UP CUT A FEW OF THEM STARTING WITH AWUZIE AND D-LAW

  7. Jerry Jones will never give up his ego or his GM spotlight. He will never hire anyone that is smarter then him when it comes to football. He has to have a yes man around so can control everything.

    • Can’t argue this one. We can only hope Jerry finally gets humbled by the team’s perpetual mediocrity, or that eventually he ages out. But “over my dead body” is probably the mentality we’re up against.

  8. The Cowboys have been my favorite team since they first started, back along when I was finishing high school in Dallas, I am a graduate of Sunset High school class of 1961. This is our most terrible time of
    Trying to follow our team that I have ever experienced. We need change. I think we should try Troy Aikman for a while and give him a chance to do the job well.

  9. “I’m not 100 % sure of is his ability to evaluate talent” OMG, this is such a ridiculous comment. Of course he can evaluate talent SMH. What talent did Jimmy Johnson have coaching in the nfl, NONE.

  10. Until BossHawg crosses over to that gurgling burbling oil well high in the sky, I shudder to even phantom the thought of a different general manager. As long as ‘ol Boss is sucking air, there will be no other general manager but him… Viva El Mediocrity!

  11. I think it will be great to see Troy as GM I believe we will get the right coach in here as Troy being the GM lets go Mr J make the hire we are tired of seeing the direction the Cowboys are going

  12. Troy has a great football mind and would be a good asset to the front. Jerry needs to put his pride aside and give someone else a shot. Why not Troy ?

  13. Jerry,
    We love you.
    We love your passion for the game of football.
    We love everything you have done for the NFL.
    We love your hunger to WIN!
    But for the love of the Dallas Cowboys and its fans,
    Please, Please, Please!!!!
    Consider giving someone the chance to be the GM of the team.
    If you hang on to something you LOVE to tightly you will suffocate the life out of it.
    Set it FREE so it can flourish without restraint.
    If you can do this one thing, all the love & expectation you have will come back to you to reward you.
    It will fill our dreams of success for this team.
    America’s team, the one we all LOVE with you!

  14. It’s not a matter of what is right or wrong for our team. Jerry it’s obvious-as a GM Is what you’ve been doing WORKING? It has not. YOUR TEAM’S PERFORMANCES ,coaching have not met yours and fan’s expectations How can you feel proud of your team? THE BUCK STOPS IN YOUR OFFICE.You should feel shame! You need to let go and get a GM (not your son) and coaches who will DO THEIR JOBS .so you can be proud and fans will respect you

  15. Why is Jones always called “a brilliant businessman”? I mean EVERY NFL Owner is an Oligopolistic Billionaire each and every one of them! So, what does Jones have that makes him so special? Further the NFL is a Monopoly effectively a closed shop with little threat of new entrants [such a process must occur only under strict rules and with all 32 clubs meeting to agree to thus] meaning that any Ownership is operating with minimal to zero competition and revenues increase automatically for all teams due to TV Rents, Sponsorships, Ticket & Merchandise Sales. Stadiums are often renamed tin terms of a particular Oligopoly, usually financially orientated. The NFL is almost a Socialist system run for Billionaires with subsidies everywhere, guaranteed increasing revenue streams and a rigid system of rules all clubs sign up to. The major difference between Jones and the other Billionaire Owners is that he dominates coaching and personnel decisions largely to the detriment of any on-field success.

  16. What is interesting re management is to compare and contrast GM Jones @ Dallas v Florentino Perez the majority Owner, Football Manager, who similarly dominates every important decision [Coaching, Player Personnel, Sponsors etc] at FC Real Madrid, probably the WORLD’S largest Football Club. unlike Dallas NFL Real Madrid FC is a massive globally supported team. Perez WANTS to WIN at ALL COSTS and wants the team to simultaneously play attractive attacking football. Even a reasonably successful coach is often sacked because the play is not good enough or the trophies are too few.Jones conversely is unique is the sense that the club is controlled by him for HIM primarily and under the guise of childish reasons such as “ego and feelings” wherein sustained mediocrity and ordinary coaching is not only tolerated it seems to be welcomed. I have never heard this at other clubs, particularly at such a large football club. If Perez did this he would be hunted out of Madrid within a week or even less. He would certainly be dumped as Football GM and to be honest the man would feel personally embarrassed. Jones obviously has a totally unique mentality and it tends to contradict the standard image of a highly competitive Capitalist operating an an atomistic market and seeking victory at all costs.

  17. Dear Mr Jones, there’s only one person to blame for the way that your team (dallas-cowboys) has played. I’m not talking just about this year but just about every year since 1994.

    “Just a quick refresher: Jones got rid of Jimmy Johnson as Cowboys head coach in March 1994, even though Johnson had just led the Cowboys to two straight Super Bowl wins.”

    Former Cowboys player Darren Woodson says Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson ‘blew it’ in the 1990’s.
    shttps://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/former-cowboys-player-says-jerry-jones-and-jimmy-johnson-blew-it-in-the-1990s/ via @CBSSports

    Furthermore if you truly love the COWBOYS and want another SUPERBOWL, please find it in your heart to stop with your meddling in the day to day operation of the team.

    Hire a good HC and promote Will McClay to GM.

    Keep who ever the head coach likes and can work with.
    (Find a way to keep Kris Richard in some form or fashion)

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