Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received the honor of being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night, and in his speech he expressed gratitude for just about anybody you could possibly think of. In fact, he mentioned some names you might have never even considered.
Many think of Jerry as a glory hog; a man whose ego drove Jimmy Johnson away and had him constantly trying to make big moves to look like a genius general manager. Even if there's a little truth to that, Jerry showed last night just how much he appreciates everyone who had a hand in the Cowboys becoming the biggest franchise in sports.
Jerry thanked the men who helped make the Cowboys into America's Team; Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, and Gil Brandt. Jones said he stood on their shoulders in taking the franchise forward.
Jones went on to thank Jimmy Johnson for the work he did in building and coaching the Cowboys championship teams of the 90s. He also made sure to give credit to Barry Switzer, who had the unenviable task of trying to follow in Jimmy's shadow and still brought home another title.
Jerry even took time to thank Herschel Walker for the willingness to be part of the infamous trade that allowed the Cowboys to build their 90s dynasty. I even learned something, not previously knowing that Herschel could have stopped the trade but allowed it to go through.
Next up were special comments about the Triplets and Larry Allen, including thanks to Emmitt, Michael Irvin, and Larry for asking Jerry to present them at their own Hall of Fame inductions. Jerry also went on to list many other big names from the 90s, such as Darren Woodson, Jay Novaceck, and Daryl Johnston.
Jerry then moved into the modern era, thanking Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware for their time with the Cowboys. He also endorsed Witten and Ware for their own very deserving Hall of Fame spots.
These are just a few of the many men who received a nod of appreciation from the sincerely grateful Jerry. He also gave recognition to his personal assistant Marilyn Love, who according to Jerry "runs the Cowboys" after 40 years of working for Jones.
As one would expect, Jerry finished with his family. The Cowboys are indeed a family business, and Jones individually recognized his sons Stephen and Jerry Jr. and daughter Charlotte for their contributions to the team and the NFL.
Gene Jones, who introduced her husband for his enshrinement, was next up. Jerry said she has never missed a game in all of his years of owning the team. He said the best lesson he ever taught his children was the value of a great spouse.
Say what you want about Jerry Jones, but the man used arguably his greatest moment of personal recognition to mention everyone that's helped along the way. He also closed with thoughts about the role of football itself; the game molding him as a man going back to his own playing days.
There's no denying that Jerry's made some bad choices through the years, but he's also made some great ones. Jerry was learning how to own and run a football team while winning Super Bowls, and those three quick championships set a bar that has been hanging over him ever since.
The greatest sin a sports owner can make is putting his own wallet above the franchise and its fans. Jerry has done the opposite; spending whatever it took to try to make the Dallas Cowboys a winner. If anything, Jerry's desperate pursuit of success on the field has been his enemy at times.
It wasn't about profits. The Cowboys are the most valuable team in sports despite all these years with another Super Bowl win. Jerry's moves have always been having a winning team for the sake of the men who work for him and the fans who follow it. He built AT&T Stadium as a monument to the most recognized team in all of professional sports, not to himself.
Jerry Jones became a Hall of Famer by always doing what he thought was in the best interests of the Dallas Cowboys and the National Football League. Even in these years without another Lombardi Trophy, Jerry has been a champion of the game and the fan experience. Without him, the last two generations of Cowboys fans may not have ever existed.
Every bit of gratitude that Jerry showed last night, every Cowboys fan should show it right back.
Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?
Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?
Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?
Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:
Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.
The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.
Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.
Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.
According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.
Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.
Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.
How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week
It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.
With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.
Here are the current standings:
- Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
- Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
- Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
- New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)
The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.
At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.
So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.
Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.
For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.
The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.
Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).
It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.
Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.
Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.
But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.
#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone
In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.
This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.
In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.
For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.
I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.
Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.
Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.
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