If you are searching for a piece of evidence to indict Jerry Jones’ the GM, which is never hard, look no further than his beloved Ring of Honor.
The best players, not just in the history of the Dallas Cowboys but that of the entire sport reside in the Ring, and among them is one Jerry guy.
On his Tuesday morning show on 105.3 The Fan, the Pro Football Hall of Fame owner and general manager Jones reiterated that retired quarterback Tony Romo will one day go into the Ring. It’s Jerry’s right, and while Romo is now a guarantee I maintain if he goes in, so too should Danny White.
Romo’s inclusion into the Ring, whenever that day comes, will mark a clear dividing point between different eras of drafting in the Cowboys’ timeline.
Those lines are none too flattering for Jerry.
Since Jerry bought the team in 1989, he has inducted six players who played in his era into the Ring of Honor: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Charles Haley, Michael Irvin, Allen and Darren Woodson.
Four of those men were added to the team under coach Jimmy Johnson.
In Jerry’s era as owner/GM he has employed three coaches who had a clear, definitive direction on player acquisition: Jimmy, Bill Parcells and Jason Garrett. Their fingerprints are all over their respective rosters, and draft classes.
The problem becomes when Jerry hires a nice man who is so excited about having the job, and so amenable to Jerry’s desires, he will go along with anything. If Jerry wants to take a big swing, they nod in agreement.
That would include coaches Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo and Wade Phillips. Player additions under those coaches usually had no rhyme or reason, other than Jerry’s fearless ambition to take big risks, to go with his gut, or whatever the last person told him he should do.
When you look at the 13 draft classes under those men, there is one Ring of Honor inductee: Guard Larry Allen. He was a second round pick in ‘94, Switzer’s first draft class. LA went on to become one of the best players in the history of the franchise, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The next best Jerry Guy is defensive back Deion Sanders, who Jerry famously money whipped in 1995. Deion was a great player, but his legacy is more as a hired gun more than a direct affiliation to any of the five teams he played.
Jerry’s true hit is arguably defensive end Greg Ellis. He was selected with the eighth overall pick in the ‘98 draft. The reason Jerry took him was because he was scared away from selecting receiver Randy Moss, whose off the field problems concerned most teams.
Moss changed the game, and joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.
Ellis is a Ring of Honor human being, and was a good player for many years on some bad teams. For another franchise, he may be a Ring of Honor player; for the Dallas Cowboys, no argument can be made.
It was not until 2010, Wade’s last season as coach, did the Cowboys have hits with two more Jerry Guys with the first and second round selections of Dez Bryant and Sean Lee.
In that draft process, teams were terrified of Dez, despite his talent, which is how he fell to the 24th pick. The Cowboys managed that wild stallion for several productive seasons. Lee is a great player, provided he is healthy, which he just can’t seem to maintain.
Neither will go into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.
JIMMY, BILL AND JASON GUYS
The trio of coaches who have had the most success in adding players in the Jerry era are Jimmy, Bill and The Process.
It is the single biggest reason why you should want Jerry to retain Garrett as coach: The drafting of players and player evaluation under him has been far better than that of his predecessor, Uncle Wade.
While there is an exception or two, namely the addition of receiver Terrell Owens and defensive ends Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory, the respective personnel moves were done primarily at the behest of the head coach in that time. They were generally slow and steady.
Cowboys staffers like to poke and chide Parcells for his ability to draft, but notice the top players this franchise have had this century were all added in his tenure: Romo, tight end Jason Witten, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Terence Newman.
The first three will go into the Ring of Honor.
And when they do that will bring the total of Cowboys in the Jerry era to nine in the Ring of Honor.
They are all Cowboys, and all were brought here when Jerry Jones was the general manager of the team in title, but only one is a true Jerry guy.