There is nothing left of the Dallas Cowboys that Jerry Jones has not replaced.
Other than himself. And that may never happen.
With the construction and pending completion of The Star in Frisco, all that is left of former team president Tex Schramm’s vision and creation are enshrined memories and encased trophies of the franchise’s humble and then dominant beginnings. Beginning with the head coach, continuing with the stadium and ending with the new headquarters, the Cowboys are now a Jerry production throughout.
Other than the record books and some enlarged photographs, no longer is there a physical connection to the days of Tex ’n’ Tom (Landry). No more do players sit where Troy Aikman once sat, or run on the same practice fields as Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Michael Irvin or Deion Sanders.
In touring the impressive and predictably garish digs at The Star, which establish another standard for the NFL and all of professional sports, it’s apparent there is but one item Jerry lacks — a Super Bowl trophy with no traces of Jimmy’s fingerprints.
However many years it’s been since the last Cowboys team to win a Super Bowl (it’s been too long; I can’t do the math, but the season was 1995), this is the one detail that haunts Jerry.
And as wonderfully impressive as The Star is, it ultimately will have no influence or impact on whether he can grab that elusive and fourth Super Bowl title he so desperately craves.
Cowboys veteran linebacker Justin Durant has played for four NFL teams and he readily admits he has never seen anything like The Star.
“This is nothing like I’ve ever been a part of,” said Durant, who has also played in Jacksonville, Detroit and Atlanta. “They have given us everything you can get to possibly get ready for a game. There are no excuses.”
In giant, bold letters the words, “NO EXCUSES” are written at the end of the new locker room, just so everybody knows there are no excuses. What apparently the Cowboys don’t know is that one of the slogans painted on The Star’s walls — “DO YOUR JOB” — is actually trademarked by the New England Patriots.
Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski took exception to this and called out the Cowboys on social media asking, “Cowboys’ new slogan sounds familiar.”
The good news is that No Excuses is not a trademark of Bill Belichik and Co. No Excuses is a theme of the Cowboys under head coach Jason Garrett, which, ironically, the team is full of during his tenure.
With its ample square footage, extensive art work and every toy, bell and whistle available, The Star is a continuation of AT&T Stadium. The two buildings are separated by almost 40 miles between Arlington and Frisco, but architecturally they could be conjoined with no one noticing a difference.
And as big, bold and pretty as The Star is, there is but one small problem for the Cowboys — in the end, it’s just an office building. The Cowboys’ relocation from Valley Ranch to Frisco is akin to Lockheed moving its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth to, say, Azle.
The only people not thrilled about this move are dozens and dozens of front-office employees. The Star is located off two primary toll roads — North Dallas Tollway and the Sam Rayburn Tollway — and, no surprise, employee salaries were not adjusted to include the bloated toll fees that our fearless politicians in Austin have yet to rein in.
The cost to go to work as a Dallas Cowboys’ staffer just increased; basically, the move to The Star is a pay cut.
Alas, that is the cost to move into new offices that are complete with new things and fresh paint. New is always fun, and good for morale, but in the end it’s not going to do much for the product.
The 2014 Dallas Cowboys were in the old, dilapidated and archaic surroundings of Valley Ranch. The team finished 12-4 that season and reached the NFC Divisonal playoff game.
Unlike when Tex ’n’ Tom and Gil Brandt were reinventing the football wheel for the Cowboys in the ’60s and ’70s, every other team has caught up to the many measures Tex implemented that helped make the Cowboys America’s Team.
And what made the Cowboys’ America’s Team was not Texas Stadium, a new office building at Valley Ranch, or a new weight room, but good players. For nearly two decades, there was no franchise better in sports at finding good players than the Cowboys.
Every NFL team is now flush with cash, and every team spends 25 hours a day trying to find a way to create an advantage.
The Star is Jerry’s final completion of making the Dallas Cowboys into his vision. He has done it all, but both he and The Star need just one more item — a Super Bowl trophy without Jimmy Johnson’s fingerprints.
Then The Star will be finished.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.