Another Wednesday is upon us, which means that its time once again for the weekly FanPost Awards! This edition should be short and sweet; I'd like to single out two FanPosts, one largely for its extreme pertinence and the other for its abiding excellence. I know you are all on tenterhooks, so, let's get to it!
Honorable mention this week goes to last week's winner, Hank Hill, whose recent posting frenzy hasn't dropped off, either in quality or quantity. One of his posts this week takes a gander at the toughness--or lack thereof--of the Cowboys, particularly their defense. Hank writes:
The Cowboys are soft. This isn't just something that I noticed last season, this has been a common issue for this football team for the past several seasons. We need to get much tougher both physically and mentally as a football team. This team, and this defense in general, doesn't strike fear into anybody. Even when this defense was having a good season a couple years back, I don't think it ever intimidated the other team.
When I was watching the Steelers and Ravens defenses play such physically (and for the Steelers, mentally) tough games last weekend, I thought aloud "when is the last time we saw a Cowboys defense play this way?" Its been a long time, folks--there were times during the Jimmy Johnson years, particularly in the playoffs, and brief windows in 2003. But for the most part, this organization hasn't seemed to prioritize that level of toughness and physicality. Here's hoping Rob Ryan brings a little of that flavor to Big D. As Hank opines, "I think that a change of attitude will go a long way for the Cowboys in 2011." Indeed.
This week's winner is a poster who I've long admired for the lucidity with which he articulates his thoughtful, forceful analysis--at the same time I have been saddened by the fact that he doesn't post nearly as frequently as I would like! I'm talking about TimSchultz36, who returns to the fray this week by offering an insightful look at Jerry Jones' penchant for falling in love with his players (particularly with those he's acquired at high cost, be it dollars or draft choices, or both). Tim suggests that the Cowboys front office suffers from a "familiarity bias":
Familiarity does not actually breed contempt, at least not if you really like someone. Instead, warm personal feelings make it tough to evaluate people based on cold, hard facts. Humans’ hard wired preference for the familiar probably helps the survival of our species. (It definitely helps the survival of my marriage). But the downside is that familiarity can create habits of thinking that result in faulty decisions. Are there things about the Cowboys culture that could lead to this distortion? I believe so, and it’s not a part of the team culture that is typically criticized.
He then goes on to say:
Jerry Jones runs his $1.8 billion football empire like a family store, and I mean that as a compliment. His two sons and daughter are impressive people who seem to perform ably as team executives. In an age when team owners treat their coaches and players as depreciable assets, Jerry extends familial warmth. Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith didn’t choose their beloved former coach to introduce them, as five Landry-era Hall of Famers did. They chose Jerry Jones. Dave Campo wasn’t fired with a press release; he shared a press conference with Jerry, who thanked him for his service to the Cowboys. When players have family emergencies, Jerry summons his personal jet.
This is a recipe for a great workplace. It’s also a recipe for Familiarity Bias.
The result of such bias, according to Tim, is that the Cowboys over-value their players. The solution? I suggest you read the entire post to find out.
In the comments section following Tim's post, our own O.C.C., with whom I am always happy to agree, wrote, simply:
Once again, O.C.C. tells it right. Congratulations, Tim!