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Dispelling the Myth: Grading Jerry the GM - Part 1

I have grown weary of listening to the local and national media verbally beating Jerry Jones, Owner and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys as if he was a piñata from just south of the border. As most Cowboys fans know, Jerry has been blamed for a myriad of problems faced by America's Team since he purchased the team in 1989:

Dallas has only won one playoff game since December 29th, 2006 (that win was against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 9th, 2009).

The Cowboys have been a middling 120-120 since the beginning of the 1997 NFL season (121-126 when including playoff games).

Despite having drafted some of the greatest players ever to play their respective positions in NFL history (DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten), Dallas has failed to win championships, and is wasting the potential of others: Tony Romo, and Jay Ratliff, among some.

Jerry Jones has fired every coach the Cowboys have ever had, and has turned one of the most stable franchises in the NFL into a coaching turnstile of failures.

The Cowboys are currently in the midst of the longest championship drought in team history: 17 seasons (the previous long was 14 seasons between the 1977 season Super Bowl victory against the Broncos, and the 1992 season Super Bowl win versus the Bills. As a matter of fact, Dallas spent 12 years from when the organization was established in 1960, to the culmination of the 1971 regular season, when they beat the Dolphins for the team's first championship).

Of course, Jerry Jones was the General Manager of the Cowboys' dynasty of the early 90's. That Jerry won three Super Bowls with two different coaches in four seasons is a fact that seems to be overlooked all too often.

There are several facts that most casual observers do not realize:

Since 1989, there have been 18 NFL teams that have spent a combined 162 seasons operating sans a General Manager. That does not include the two teams (the Cincinnati Bengals and the Oakland Raiders) that have owners assuming the position of General Manager into 2011. The Bengals and Raiders have combined to make one Super Bowl (Oakland in 2002 season) since 1989. Cincinnati and Oakland have a .415 winning ratio in the regular season and a .400 winning ratio in the post season.

Compare those arcane numbers with the league averages for teams with a General Manager versus those that do not fill that position:

Teams operating with GM's

Teams operating without GM's

Total seasons

450

162

Regular season win ratio

.497

.504

Post season win ratio

.490

.507

Conference championships

30

13

Super Bowl wins

14

6

Seasons between conference titles

15.0

12.5

Seasons between Super Bowl wins

32.1

27.0

Contrary to popular belief, NFL teams that do not employ a General Manager outperform their counterparts in all major winning categories (as summarized in the chart above). Now compare those numbers to how the Dallas Cowboys have performed with Jerry Jones as the General Manager:

Jerry Jones the General Manager

Total seasons

23

Regular season win ratio

.538

Post season win ratio

.591

Conference championships

3

Super Bowl wins

3

Seasons between conference titles

7.67

Seasons between Super Bowl wins

7.67

As the numbers bare, Jerry Jones is well above the league average in the afore mentioned winning categories. In fact, Jerry Jones' record as a General Manager since the Cowboys last Super Bowl win is still better than the league average during the regular season:

Jerry the GM post 1995 Super Bowl

Total seasons

17

Regular season win ratio

.508

Post season win ratio

.222

Conference championships

0

Super Bowl wins

0

Seasons between conference titles

17

Seasons between Super Bowl wins

17

The obvious problem has been the lack of post season success experienced by the Cowboys since winning the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh following the 1995 regular season. But take Jerry's entire body of work, and the Cowboys still rank as one of the most successful teams since 1989.

How do the different General Managers compare individually to Jerry in the regular season? How about the post season?

Which General Managers are better than Jerry? How many are there around the league?

Would Dallas likely be better off with a "football guy" as the GM?

So why is Jerry Jones the target of so much vitriol?

These topics and more will be covered in the upcoming posts on Jerry Jones, the General Manager of your Dallas Cowboys. I look forward to the feedback, as I expect it to be across a very wide spectrum.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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