Stephen Jones on Cowboys: "We're hanging around the rim"

Jerry and Stephen Jones are nothing if not salesmen. And they’ve managed to sell everyone on the idea that the Cowboys are true contenders — even if they haven’t gotten to the NFC Championship since 1995.

It’s an amazing feat, really. More amazing than winning a single Super Bowl in any of the past 28 seasons. They’ve kept the Cowboys in position as the most valuable franchise and the most attractive draw in the entire league without the results to justify it.

Earlier this year, owner Jerry Jones declared that the Cowboys are “all in” (in the traditional, chips-in-the-middle-of-the-table sense) for the 2024 offseason. That hasn’t happened. Now, executive V.P. Stephen Jones basically says they don’t need to go all in because they’re already close to winning it all with what they have.

The vibe emerged from a question posed by Adam Schein of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio as to whether the Cowboys believe quarterback Dak Prescott can lead the team to a championship.

“Absolutely,” Stephen Jones said. “I mean, I totally think Dak can lead us to a championship. He does everything the right way. He’s certainly the leader of this football team. He keeps everybody motivated in the offseason. He’s got everybody working out and doing all the things that it takes to put in the work to give yourself every opportunity to win a championship. It just so happens that sometimes that old oblong football doesn’t bounce your way. And we’ve had some tough breaks and tough games there in the postseason. But, you know, we’ve won 12 games three years in a row. I think that’s right at the top in terms of what teams have done over a three-year period. And, you know, we’re hanging around the rim. We’ve just gotta go up there and grab it, to use a basketball term, and dunk it in. We’re hanging around the rim. We just gotta get the job done.”

The 49ers are hanging around the rim, with two Super Bowl appearances and two NFC Championship appearances in the past five seasons. The Cowboys are barely hanging around at the playground when the real games start.

If we’re going to use a basketball analogy, the Cowboys are the top-four seed that gets bounced in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. Every year. They can’t even earn a chance to play in the two most challenging games — the conference championship and then the Super Bowl.

They act like they’re flipping coins and it’s just a matter of time before it lands heads, heads, heads, heads for them after another regular season in which they go 12-5 in heads vs. tails.

That’s not how it works. The attitude trivializes how hard it is to win higher stakes playoff games. And the Cowboys are struggling to even win wild-card games. They’re 5-13 in the postseason since winning Super Bowl XXX.

This goes deeper than the old oblong football not bouncing their way. This is about something consistent and persistent that causes the other team to reliably bounce the Cowboys out of the playoffs. In all, 72.2 percent of the time.

Basically, if they’re truly hanging around the rim, it’s only to end up on the wrong side of a poster.

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