Unfortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, the Jimmy Johnson Era expired well before the date printed on the carton. Fans were left to milk every bit out of those early, indelible memories.
But his firing isn't the only moment fans regret. There's a laundry list of instances Cowboys-faithful would love the chance to get a "do-over" on. There are always two sides to every coin (at least one's not involved in hustles or magic tricks), but occasionally one side is just bad while the other is really bad. Sometimes, things just kind of suck. We'll occasionally try to paint a pretty picture out of mud and poop, but it's still going to suck. We've had more of those than I'd care to remember... but I do remember them.
Of course, Cowboys history extends much further back than Jerry Jones purchasing the team from Bum Bright. Ask any truly long-time fan and they will envelop you in a trip down memory lane with treasures tucked in every fold. A time when franchise quarterbacks were the norm before they were labeled as such. Star power oozed out of every locker as aging All-Pro's were replaced with future Hall of Famers; including those that deserve the accolade but never reap its rewards. The franchise has 12 former players enshrined by busts in Canton, Ohio. This August, Larry Allen ascends while countless others wait patiently while having credentials that would qualify if cast under a different light than that of The Star.
Ahh, the good times. Times when season's ended with more than hope and optimism. Times when high-reaching expectations were contingent on continued performance, not "if this, that and this guy can just..." and "we should have been..."
There have been hard times in Dallas before. Notwithstanding the rough years that pretty much any expansion franchise experiences, Dallas had been down on it's luck before. After making the playoffs every season from 1965-1983 (more remarkable every time my fingers type that), Dallas only made it one more time before The Triplets came into their own during 1991. A six year drought preceded and that stretch included what can be remembered as the worst of times for the organization.
Of course, it faces stiff competition from the years after the Triplets hey day. Dallas' front office was unable to navigate a new world of football free agents and salary implications and the early 2000's brought about three 5-11 seasons. Bill Parcells arrived to right the ship and he did return Dallas to the playoffs although they never reached a Super Bowl with him.
After their first three head coaches all reached and won a Super Bowl (Landry, Johnson, Switzer), current HC Jason Garrett is now the fifth straight to yet to achieve what most fans had been accustomed to. Entering into his third full season in charge, Garrett's fighting just to return the club to the playoffs.
Suffice to say, there have been many reasons why Dallas hasn't duplicated the success of the franchise's Glory
Hole Days. Bad draft choices, bad trades, bad coaches, inopportune injuries, combinations of them all... many, many reasons why Dallas hasn't done what the fans have bought into. Oh, and have they bought in hook, line and sinker as a franchise with limited recent success remains the most profitable NFL club and by a wide margin (almost half a billion as of last September).
But what's the worst transgression of them all?
If you had a choice, what would you say was the absolute, undoubtedly worst moment or maneuver in Cowboys history?
I took to Facebook to get a jump start on some responses and wanted to share them here. I expect our comments sections to light up with examples that will turn most of our stomachs. With the draft less than two weeks away, I think we can all spot a cautionary tale when we see one, but don't limit your answers. These could be brain-numbing in-game decisions as well. Players that shouldn't have been released but were, players that were signed as free agents and never panned out, coaches that were in over their heads.
Here are a couple FB responses to get things started (and don't forget to go like us!)
- Troy Pelletier giving up 2 first round picks for Joey Galloway..what a waste..
- Kathi Haacke Morehead Deion Sanders. He cost us a fortune monetarily which translated into a lack of ability to get good position players.
- Brantley Hamby Jimmy Johnson leaving would have to be #1. Bill Parcels not taking Stephen Jackson the best RB available was probably the worst recent move. Had they taken Jackson, there would not have been Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and now Demarco Murray. Think what they could have done with those picks instead and still have Jackson! Fans and media need to get over Randy Moss. That was not a mistake on Jerry Jones part! There was NO way Dallas could have taken Moss that year no matter how badly Jones wanted too because of the perception of the Cowboys at the time due to the legal troubles of Irvin, Lett, E. Williams, and ect. Dallas was the only team being hammered at the time with problem players, and they couldn't risk taking Moss. Jerry wanted him, but he would have been crucified by the media if he had. Galloway may have been a worse deal then Roy Williams ever was.
- Craig Massey The Galloway trade and the Campo hire happened within weeks of each other -- not exactly Jerry's finest moments. But I think the Roy Williams trade was the worst move in recent history. While the Galloway trade happened when Dallas was slipping badly, the Williams trade happened when Dallas was rising. If they don't do that stupid trade and pick good OL in the first two rounds of the 2009 draft, then I think the disappointment of the last three seasons wouldn't have happened. Going back to 1979, Dallas passing on Joe Montana in the third round when he was their top-rated guy would be a nice re-do.
- Christine Edwards Murcia Not signing Romo on for six more years. Sorry, I just don't get it. I don't know what people see. I don't wanna hear it either...I've heard it all and don't care.
- Rodney Wm. Hartwig Hiring Wade Phillips.
- Travis Jones Letting Jimmy go was worst of all time. Roy Williams trade was worst most recent move. The worst "non move" was passing on Aaron Rodgers for Marcus Spears.
- Ford Johnson The Joey Galloway trade and passing on Randy Moss in a tie. Galloway= two #1 picks, his contract, and although he was serviceable he was never close to the value that was lost in the deal. Moss, he was a headache, but early in his career he was a terror....and we passed on him for Greg Ellis.
- Raymond Cletis Etcitty Releasing Jimmy Smith, a Cowboy 2nd round pick, who ended up with Jaguars and had Hall of Fame career.
- Mike Dougherty The ONLY answer to this question is I wouldn't have sold the team to Jerry Jones.
- Eddie Humphrey Reading these responses is embarrassing, it is easy to see that most of the idiots commenting are the bandwagon fans that know nothing about the team prior to Jimmy Johnson and two the morons that said selling the Team to Jerry Jones was a bad move, keep in mind that prior to Jerry buying the team, the cowboys were awful but won 3 Super Bowls after they were sold to him. Holy Cow, this is why people laugh at Cowboys fans, most of them are bandwagon idiots.
- Randy Werntz Yes the fireing of Jimmy Johnson. I have been a cowboy fan for ever. The one thing that totally pissed me off was the way Jerry Jones handle the way of fireing of Tom Laundry. I know coaches get fired but it was the way he did it. Coach Laundry was a legend. May he rest in peace.
- Mike Wiltse Jackie Smith dropped pass that cost us a Super Bowl.
- Ronnie Gipson Those dam three turnovers to start 94 championship game
So what say you, BTB? Which moment in Cowboys history, would you like to get a magical "do-over" for?