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Troy Aikman thinks the Cowboys lack a guiding philosophy

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Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback turned TV announcer, says that when he called the Super Bowl on Sunday, he saw a Seahawks team that won a championship by developing a plan and sticking with it.

When Aikman looks at his former team, he sees neither the plan nor the consistency to stick with one way of doing things.

Aikman told the Dallas Morning News that the contrast between the Seahawks and the Cowboys is significant, and illustrative of the difference between a team that wins a championship and a team that’s mired in mediocrity.

“I think with winning organizations there are processes that are in place and there is a way to do things, a philosophy, a belief that you have and everything is built around that,” Aikman said. “If you take Seattle for instance, if you say ‘hey, what is their philosophy,’ you kind of know what that is. They’re going to play great defense, they’re going to run the football and they draft players who fit the mold of what they’re looking for. I don’t know that the Cowboys . . . the Cowboys tend to change their beliefs each year on what it is they need or what they’re about. I find that to be somewhat unusual for a club that has been owned by the same owner for however long it’s been.”

Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones has owned the Cowboys for a quarter of a century, which ought to provide some stability to the franchise. Unfortunately, the only consistent thing in Dallas is an 8-8 record, which the Cowboys have now had three years in a row.

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66 Responses to “Troy Aikman thinks the Cowboys lack a guiding philosophy”
  1. tremoluxman says: Feb 6, 2014 10:48 AM

    The Cowboys’ philosophy is simple:

    “We do things JJ’s way, whatever that is, because he signs the checks and is a football genius.”

  2. thefox61 says: Feb 6, 2014 10:48 AM

    But they’ve got Romo…

  3. speedlimit41 says: Feb 6, 2014 10:51 AM

    Cowboys 8-8 this year

  4. whatjusthapped says: Feb 6, 2014 10:52 AM

    Partly true, the Cowboys lack a GM. If they had a real GM, that GM would come in with a guiding philosophy of his own.

    But try convincing Jerry Jones of that viewpoint.

  5. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 6, 2014 10:54 AM

    It was the same with Al Davis, whom I have the utmost respect for. In his later years, Al was the Raiders own worst enemy.

  6. rr2000k says: Feb 6, 2014 10:57 AM

    C’mon, they have Jerrah. Lol.

  7. seatownballers says: Feb 6, 2014 10:57 AM

    Cowboys will never make it back to another super bowl. I can’t see them beating hawks, Niners, Panthers.
    Jerry treats it like fantasy, needs a yes man as a coach, and a scapegoat for when they lose.
    If ya don’t believe me that’s fine, but watch what happens over the next decade. 8-8

  8. libradad53 says: Feb 6, 2014 10:59 AM

    Mr. Aikman nailed it. There has been no central guiding idea, etc. other than ego. By the players, some coaches and most importantly the owner. Ego does not win games, let alone championships

  9. seatownballers says: Feb 6, 2014 10:59 AM

    When your team needs a top talent safety, and your gm drafts a mid grade center then you know are in trouble.

    I have never seen cowboys fans this low

  10. seatownballers says: Feb 6, 2014 11:01 AM

    Great news cowboys fans;
    To increase cap space, the cowboys have extended and restructured romos contract another twelve years

  11. packerbackernj says: Feb 6, 2014 11:02 AM

    “But according to an analysis of game film performed for the Journal by a college referee who has worked with NFL teams, the Broncos and Seahawks have avoided dozens of penalties this season. Among all 675 of Denver’s pass attempts during the 2013 regular season, the Broncos executed a pick play on 90 of them, or 13%.”
    “According to the referee, 21 of those 90 plays should have drawn a flag for offensive pass interference, which is punished with a 10-yard penalty. But of those 21 plays, the Broncos were flagged only once. On the plays that weren’t flagged, Denver gained a total of 183 yards and scored twice on touchdown passes. Had those plays been flagged, the Broncos would have lost 200 yards in penalties.”
    “As for the Seahawks, a study of every defensive snap the team played in five randomly selected games this season suggests they should have been called for about 26 additional penalties over the 16-game regular season, including 16 for illegal contact—which occurs when a defensive player impedes a receiver more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. In these cases, the offense is given five yards and an automatic first down. But the Seahawks didn’t incur a single illegal-contact penalty all season.”
    “How Denver and Seattle were able to get away with such rampant rule bending is down to a loophole in how games are officiated. The referee who reviewed the film for the Journal said officials are reluctant to throw flags for the same infringement more than once in a game. “Technically, we’re not supposed to referee that way,” the referee said. “But there’s a human element that says: Do I really want to throw the same flag seven times today?”

    Who says cheaters never prosper? If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying hard enough.

  12. midtec2005 says: Feb 6, 2014 11:03 AM

    The cowboys had a consistent philosophy for a few short years, when they had Bill Parcells. Not surprisingly, this is when they got good. Troy is right.

    We know JJ isn’t going to hire a GM, so maybe fans should try to pressure him into hiring an advisor, just to keep the cowboys philosophy consistent. Right now they don’t have a philosophy at all.

  13. 1rockyracoon says: Feb 6, 2014 11:03 AM

    The owner of the Seahawks, Paul Allen, is one of the richest people in the world, yet he knows that doesn’t mean he can build a football team. He hired talented people and let them do their jobs. Jones made himself rich and he thinks that means he can build a football team. That is the biggest difference between the two teams. Meddling owners do t succeed in the current NFL. Just take a look at Fallas, Oakland, and Washington.

  14. bobleblah says: Feb 6, 2014 11:05 AM

    America’s .500 Team

  15. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 6, 2014 11:05 AM

    PFT covered this story before but you can find the strategy at

  16. orivar says: Feb 6, 2014 11:09 AM

    Kind of a reason why the Packers have had problems post superbowl, they are just a mess direction wise with McCarthy seemingly winging it under the notion of, “I have a future HOF QB to cover our mess,” which didn’t become as obvious as it did until Rodgers went down.

  17. ravenmuscle says: Feb 6, 2014 11:09 AM

    As long as Jerrah and Little Danny Snyder think they know anything about football, drafts, or free agents the Cowpokes and Skins will always be watching Superbowls from their couches.

  18. ez4u2sa says: Feb 6, 2014 11:09 AM

    The problems for the Cowboys start at the top. Jerry needs to swallow his ego and hire a general manager. By now it should be apparent he is not up to the job. The new GM needs to hire a coach he can stay with for the long term and then look for a quarterback to replace Romo. Make these changes and the Cowboys will have a foundation they can build on.

  19. chawk12thman says: Feb 6, 2014 11:18 AM

    Been a long time since we heard – How bout them cowboys?

  20. newjerseygiants says: Feb 6, 2014 11:19 AM

    I like the Cowboys just as they are now. Please don’t change.

  21. squatcho says: Feb 6, 2014 11:22 AM

    Go Cowboys!

  22. mn2long says: Feb 6, 2014 11:40 AM

    Understatement of the Century!

  23. wabbitslayer says: Feb 6, 2014 11:45 AM

    Just win, baby.

  24. ErikW65 says: Feb 6, 2014 12:02 PM

    Yes but they lead the League in moral victories.

  25. starchybunker says: Feb 6, 2014 12:18 PM

    of course they have a guiding philosophy…its: “We have no idea what to do since Jimmy Johnson left…”

  26. drsportsjock says: Feb 6, 2014 12:28 PM

    Is Troy Aikman sincere about the Cowboys’ lack of a guiding philosophy?

  27. citizenstrange says: Feb 6, 2014 12:39 PM

    The Cowboys do have a guiding philosophy. It just isn’t any good.

  28. bert1913 says: Feb 6, 2014 12:44 PM

    As long as the cowboys are making money nothing will change. By going to the games and buying cowboy’s gear your sending jerry the wrong message.

  29. hor2012 says: Feb 6, 2014 12:48 PM

    I think things are going to get worse for the Cowboys before the get better. And, the cowboys fans deserve so much more than this

  30. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Feb 6, 2014 12:54 PM

    They are also lacking depth of talent and leadership, none of which is likely to change with JJ in charge. Long live JJ!

  31. realitycheckbaby says: Feb 6, 2014 1:01 PM

    Guiding philosophy of JJ is to expand the playoffs.

  32. baywolfe says: Feb 6, 2014 1:02 PM

    Maybe going 7 – 9 this year will wake Jerry up a little bit. They won 5 of their 8 games inside the division. They’ll be luck to go 3 – 3 next year so where are all those extra wins coming from?

  33. johnnyprc says: Feb 6, 2014 1:12 PM

    Is Aikman saying this to get attention before he offers coaching service to Dallas? Curious…

  34. usmutts says: Feb 6, 2014 1:12 PM

    Given that the word “antipathy” pretty much describes my feeling toward the Dallas Cowboys for my entire adult life, I’m perfectly happy with the current guiding philosophy of “America’s Team,” and truly hope that boy genius Stephen Jones continues another forty years or so.

  35. texansdude says: Feb 6, 2014 1:17 PM

    The road to the Super Bowl heads through Dallas for the next two years.

    I-20 and I-45.

  36. nite2al says: Feb 6, 2014 1:32 PM

    Astute assessment by Aikman.

  37. beardinals says: Feb 6, 2014 1:40 PM

    Maybe Dallas fans should revolt. I would guess if Jerruh doesn’t fill his stadium, he might get the hint.

  38. dodohead418 says: Feb 6, 2014 1:44 PM

    Troy Aikman knows Jerry sucks.

  39. adoombray says: Feb 6, 2014 1:49 PM

    Troy Aikman hasn’t played football in 15 years and knows nothing about the organization since the Jimmy Johnson Era. His opinion is worthless. Just another ex-player running his mouth.

  40. adoombray says: Feb 6, 2014 1:50 PM

    Im sure Troy Aikman would have said “they dont know what goes on inside our locker room” to some player from the 80s criticizing his play.

  41. ghost26 says: Feb 6, 2014 2:03 PM

    They come up short every season & yet the Cowboys still have a massive amount of paying customers who continue to support the team. Oddly there are a bunch of owners who would love to be in Jerry’s position.

    Just b/c a guy’s a billionaire doesn’t mean he knows how to operate an NFL team. Just ask Steven Ross. They buy a team & then they’re arrogant enough to believe that their very presence will miraculously turn the team into a cash cow.

  42. raiderufan says: Feb 6, 2014 2:04 PM

    As a Raider fan I recognize this feeling and feel for Cowboys fans.

    The wierd thing for me is that even when Al was just throwing money around and things didn’t make sense we still defended him….he was still our fearless leader for better or worse…

    That doesn’t seem to be AT ALL the case in Dallas. I can’t remember the last time I read a pro Jones comment on any board…I even see pro Snyder posts SOMETIMES!

    If you ask me it stinks. I think the league is better when the Raiders and Cowboys are solid teams. My Raiders seem like they see a path and want to take it but the path the Cowboys are on seems long and winding….

  43. gsomatt says: Feb 6, 2014 2:14 PM

    Yes they do have a philosophy: The cowboy gunslinger saves us all. They want a Favre but Farve couldn’t do it alone. And Romo is no Favre.

    That’s why they’ll trade up to get Manziel and send an aging Romo with bad back to the Vikings.

  44. bobzilla1001 says: Feb 6, 2014 2:17 PM

    Cowboys are no different than 90 percent of the other NFL teams: Mediocre or below.
    I just watched a season in which my favorite team went from 0-4 to a playoff contender with an EIGHT-AND-EIGHT record. Wonderful!!!
    And I just watched a Super Bowl that featured an alleged offensive juggernaut, even though that so-called high-powered offense had piled up 600 points without having played a single defense that ranked higher than 19th until the Super Bowl. Terrific.
    The NFL is loaded with bad teams, bad coaches and bad owners.
    The Cowboys fit right in.

  45. athwartships says: Feb 6, 2014 2:20 PM

    One would think Jerry being a businessman that he would want as many chances as he can to fill that palace of his. Expanded playoffs doesnt make you any money if your team can’t get there to fight for home field.

    Forget Buffalo or Jacksonville…..move the Cowboys to LA.

  46. weepingjebus says: Feb 6, 2014 2:28 PM

    It’s hard to stay focused when at any moment a 1.2 million pound television could come crashing down on you and your team.

  47. CowboyErik says: Feb 6, 2014 2:36 PM

    Troy must be tired of the broadcast booth!

  48. texasaaa says: Feb 6, 2014 2:39 PM

    Yes it’s bad but at least were not Houston.

  49. wcdunkenfield says: Feb 6, 2014 2:41 PM

    Besides the “Jerrah Issue” there is another thing about the Cowboys that (imho) limits their effectiveness: Jason Garrett does not scare anyone. Not his players, not his assistants, and certainly not his opponents.

    I think the Cowboys were successful under Parcells because, well, he’s scary/crazy. Cowher was scary at Pittsburgh (and Tomlin is just nuts). Bellipuke is scary because, in a dark alley, he might cut you. Gruden was a pressure cooker looking to explode. Even Pete Carroll, from the Dick Vermeil school of “love you guys” does, from time to time, roam the sideline looking to ripe some one a new one. Even the new kid, Chip Kelly, has an attitude on the sidelines.

    Garrett? He’s like an accounting professor from UT looking for his car in the parking lot and got lost and found himself wandering an NFL sideline. I know 6 year olds that aren’t scared of him, let alone 340 pound lineman.

    Dallas would do well to get themselves somebody that’s gonna make grown men cry. That guy should make Romo disappear while simultaneously starting a rumor that he is buried in one of the end zones.

    Then you might see some intensity on that team.

  50. guachosporlife says: Feb 6, 2014 2:46 PM

    Just get some players that can play AND stay healthy, and winning will come. You can forget all this GM, philosophy nonsense talk.

  51. richndc says: Feb 6, 2014 2:58 PM

    Keep comparing Jerry to all other GMs with money. But, how many of them have 3 rings? How many of them were captains on a national champion collegiate team? How many of them pulled off a trade like the Walker trade? If you think their return to prominence in the early 90s was SOLELY due to Jimmy Johnson, you have been listening to the bozos on ESPN and the Jim Rhome’s of the world too long. Don’t be a 30 year old ill informed frat boy or a two bit drunk philosopher–or, if you do, wear some kind of identifying mark so the rest of us never get into a sports conversation with you, please.

  52. jgedgar70 says: Feb 6, 2014 3:03 PM

    The Cowboys do have a philosophy:

    “It’s MY toy, MY toy, MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – Jerry Jones

  53. SparkyGump says: Feb 6, 2014 3:03 PM

    In the business world, you can hire “yes men” to get things done. That’s because a company’s strategic vision is pretty simple and is not subject to the controls an NFL team has such as a salary cap and roster size. If you’re a CEO, you can hire “yes men” and say “go do this” and it’ll get done or the “yes man” will get canned. This model can’t work in the NFL and Jerry’s ego won’t let him admit it. The Seahawks owner, Paul Allen, knows he doesn’t have the “football IQ” even though he’s earned billions from building Microsoft and hires not “yes men” but football men. Until Jerry dies or has an epiphany, the Cowboys will be an average football team because their GM has just an average football IQ.

  54. hunter300win says: Feb 6, 2014 3:17 PM

    Jerry has brought in Will McClay to help him fix this thing. As long as he listens to him it will get better. McClay has a great football mind.

  55. fdugrad says: Feb 6, 2014 3:34 PM

    I think he probably means The ‘Boys do not have a SUCCESSFUL, KNOWLEDGEABLE philosophy, and as long as Jerrah is doing the guiding, it will be ever thus.

  56. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2014 3:35 PM

    I think the problem with the Cowboys is not philosophy. It’s more simple then that.

    Why couldn’t the Patriots win consistently with Bledsoe? Same reason why Romo doesn’t win consistently. They have all the tools, they look good, they make the big plays, but they make too many mistakes. The best QBs don’t make many mistakes.

    Why does the Romo make too many mistakes? Two reasons… his own skill level and bad coaching. Being QB is more than just a strong arm… the brain has to be there too.

    Romo and Garrett are the problem. Both need to go.

    Dallas need a real franchise QB that can win. They’ve blown it by not getting rid of Romo. Don’t be blinded by his good plays. The QB’s that win consistently in this league look totally different than him.

  57. cowboylover says: Feb 6, 2014 4:37 PM

    Bullcharger, I just don’t agree. If you were to take Tony and several of the other really good players on the team, insert them in a team with a winning system, they would be stars. Troy is right; Jerry tries something one year and when it doesn’t produce a SB, he goes on to something else. Heck, even game to game, the philosophy changes! There is no consistency, except in the record and no winning philosophy. Breaks. My. Heart.

  58. tindeaux says: Feb 6, 2014 4:43 PM

    cowboys: a rich team with clown characters, players, qb. completel garbage. hence they haven’t got into playoff in the recent years.

  59. romo2dez88 says: Feb 6, 2014 6:12 PM

    Bull charger is a fool. Get off this website man. If a QB has a 98 + QB rating every year as a starter, he’s not the problem. However, having the 32nd ranked defense and an offensive line that’s got him killed the last 5 years IS a problem.

  60. riverhorsey says: Feb 6, 2014 6:22 PM

    Jerry dropped the ball when he let Jimmy Johnson go. Jimmy was the guy that made the Cowboys of that era a great team. Jerry seems more concerned with public perception of him and seems to make decisions he thinks will please them.

    Not the best way to run a team.

  61. cometkazie says: Feb 6, 2014 6:52 PM

    Jerrah is crying all the way to the bank.

    IMHO, the only time something will change is when the turnstiles stop turning.

    Money talks.

  62. myworldurjuslivinit says: Feb 6, 2014 7:06 PM

    …ummm, interesting, notice he didn’t use Denver as an example.

  63. hendeeze says: Feb 6, 2014 7:42 PM

    Sucking is a guiding philosophy. Just ask any fan of the Oakland Raiders.

  64. BAMNATION says: Feb 7, 2014 6:59 AM

    You think Aikman wants to be the next GM ala Elway? hahah

    Jerrah jones must go – he has been Al Davisesque even when Al was still alive.

    Look at JJ’s face and tell me you don’t see the start of the change into Davis?

  65. mb34 says: Feb 7, 2014 12:31 PM

    Oh, lest not everyone forget, Jerry Jones DOES have a philosophy, it’s called “ChaChing…ChaChing…”.

    And as long as he is hearing that sound, he won’t make any changes.

  66. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 11, 2014 1:59 PM

    It’s a valid point by Aikman. Last year Jerry decided to change from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 after having built a roster for the 3-4.

    And in the draft he took TE Escobar in the 2nd round saying they were going to more multiple TE sets but then rarely used the guy during the season.

    To be successful a team has got to know who they are and what they do to collect the personnel needed to execute.

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