Aikman says leadership, not talent, separates Patriots from Cowboys

Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback who’s now a FOX analyst, says he’s spent plenty of time watching this year’s Cowboys, as well as this year’s Patriots. And he says the difference between the two teams is a lot less than their 1-6 and 6-1 records would suggest.

“I just got done doing New England last Sunday,” Aikman said on KTCK-AM, per the Dallas Morning News. “They’ve got some talented young players. Are they more talented than the Cowboys? I don’t know, but I don’t think they are. But they’re 6-1, they’re pretty good and they don’t make mistakes and beat themselves.”

So if the difference between the Patriots and the Cowboys isn’t talent, what is it?

Aikman says it’s about the players being held accountable by the head coach. And Aikman says that while he and his teammates in the 1990s knew Jimmy Johnson would always hold them accountable — and while the players on the Patriots know Bill Belichick will hold them accountable — that’s not the case in Dallas this year.

“We just knew when we walked in the building, we’d better do what we’re supposed to do or there was going to be hell to pay from Jimmy Johnson,” Aikman said. “Then they got away from that. . . . My point is there’s a model that has been successful for Jerry Jones and that is have a head coach that everyone knows is in charge and the players have to respect that.”

The logical inference, then, is that the players don’t respect Wade Phillips. And that the Cowboys need a new head coach.

61 responses to “Aikman says leadership, not talent, separates Patriots from Cowboys

  1. Troy is 100% correct. This is basically the same contending team from the past years.
    The differences are:
    1) they don’t believe in their head coach
    2) their confidence in scatterbrain Romo is almost gone
    3) no one is stepping up in the locker room.
    Say Goodbye to Wade
    Tune Up Tony
    Somebody kick the D squarely in the behind

  2. Tom Brady> than Romo by a wide margin! Aikman knows that too! I get the point he’s making and agree whole heartedly. Ah shux only takes you so far!

  3. I think we’ve always known it’s been leadership that is the difference in New England.
    It starts at the top with Bob Kraft and permeates down the organization through BB on the side lines and Tom Terrific on the field. Quality leadership and quality people will succeed more than they fail.
    It’s always intriguing to see past winners from the pre-salary cap era evaluate winners in the salary cap era. I mean how great was that? You could keep everyone if you wanted to. Oddly enough I don’t think the Patriots would have been so successful if they could keep everyone. Part of BB’s mystique and discipline is that everyone can be replaced and the whole is more important than any single part. That is what keeps each player engaged and giving their best.

  4. I mean, the only inference I made is that Troy Aikman needs to stop thinking that anyone cares what he thinks, and therefore stop offering his opinion on things. There are many former players who fall into that category.

  5. People should occasionally review their opinions about which players/teams are talented. Dallas is not a talented team. Look at their 53. It is distinctly average.
    Hype is not the same as talent.

  6. Part of the problem is Jerry Jones. He is an egomaniac who needs to take credit for the Cowboys success. It’s what drove Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells away. Everyone knew those two guys drove the Cowboys’ success and it drove Jones nuts.

  7. Name me a “players coach” (Wade Phillips, Norv Turner, etc.) who has accomplished anything in the playoffs.
    Aikman is 100% right.

  8. While I agree that Bellichick would make the Cowboys better than they are. I do not agree that they have equal talent levels. The Cowboys year in and year out have players overrated. Which is hwy some poeple seem surprised when the Cowboys never really do anything noteworthy. GO look at their schedule last year if you want to know why they looked half decent.

  9. Is it just me, or are we in an era of impotent coaches? Seems like there are three or four coaches in the NFL who have more or less lost their teams. We may see a third of the league’s coaches fired the day after the season’s final game.
    Dallas, Minnesota, San Francisco, Cleveland, Carolina…throw in the possibility of Jacksonville, Denver, Chicago….maybe even Houston if the Texans continue to play no defense…

  10. Still, you have to wonder about what new and exotic levels of cheating Belichick is employing. Monitoring and/or jamming the opponent’s radio headset signals?

  11. Would be more fitting to plug the Vikings into that story…tons of talent and crap leadership

  12. Dallas has not had a leader at QB since Aikman retired.
    Tony Romo ain’t the answer.
    Firing Wade is just part of the solution.
    They need a new signal-caller.

  13. Image that. Listening to this guy call a game for the boys is just embarrassing to any football fan. He’s the MNBC of football talk.

  14. What Aikman says is SPOT ON. The problem is no self respecting, successful coach who will command a locker room will work for Jerry without complete autonomy which Jerry wont give.
    When JJ was the head coach Jerry was in the background and he freaked out. He needs to be the pulse of the Cowboys which translates to the disaster they now have.

  15. The owner should hold the general manager accountable, and fire him. The Cowboy talent, is waaay overrated. More celebrities than talented players.

  16. Except at OLB, Cowboys are average or below. They believe the Big D hype. Romo only made Pro Bowl (once) because half of the NFC’s QB’s were injured. Clean house, Jerry. Beg Parcells to come back and this time, no interference. If so, Boys make playoffs in 2011.

  17. Due to a lack of quality coaches available to all NFL teams, Roger Goodell is considering contraction, down to, say, 12 teams. Belichek gets to coach one in the AFC and one in the NFC at the same time. Wade can be a gofer for Bill. But nothing too important. Get my hoodie. Resharpen my pencil. Stuff like that.

  18. i wouldnt say romo is the problem. they have a questionable OL, divas at wideout, and their OC has abandoned the run game, despite still having 2 talented backs.

  19. Yeah, Pervy, we all know MN is the most talented team ever, BrINT will enter the HOF as a Viking while wearing a Twins hat, Jared Allen is the best DL to ever play the game and Sidney Rice is going to make the Pro Bowl. It’s one thing to be a homer but a homer for a really bad team pretty much equals douchebag.

  20. Jerry Jones has backed himself into a corner in Dallas.
    He needs a good, strong leader to coach that team, but he won’t get one unless he GROSSLY overpays in the market…like DOUBLE the going rate. That’s the only way I see it happening.
    That’s the price you pay for being an arrogant, but ignorant, hillbilly.

  21. Not to mention the fact the BB is now the acting DC, which is making a huge difference in the communication and accountability department. Dean Pees might be a smart football coach but he is no BB.

  22. Was Jimmy Johnson a better coach than Wade is? Sure. Absolutely. But Johnson would not have won the Super Bowl in Dallas either if Minnesota didn’t hand over their draft to Dallas for Walker. There were many coaches in that era and many coaches now that could put together a Super Bowl team by, essentially, having an extra draft to use to stock their team. NE’s resurgence is most certainly rooted in their ability to stockpile draft picks. The difference is NE is being extraordinarily shrewd, exploiting many NFL teams and coaches every year, Chilly being the latest example, and Dallas got extraordinarily lucky that Minnesota was run by idiots and won a draft ‘Lotto” one time. Once those drafted players left the game, Dallas hasn’t sniffed the Super Bowl since.

  23. Or they need Jimmie Johnson sending his lackeys into the press box looking for opposing scouts notes.
    axtonian says:
    November 7, 2010 7:01 AM
    Browns to win! Look for coaching to match wits. Mangini will win or lose this, not without Daboll’s help. If the browns look flat, fire coaches, if the browns are HOT, they can take ’em. Coaching is the matchup this week!
    D must take the rock away, and O must move on 1st down. We will see soon- Go Browns

  24. The Cowboys are a billion dollar team with a billion dollar owner who play in a billion dollar stadium run by a 10 cent head coach.

  25. @Citizen Strange,
    I have to wonder how people like you and takeitez manage to tie your shoes or lift a fork of food to your mouth with the limited amount of brainpower you have.

  26. Hey all you idiot Romo haters…name someone that Dallas could get that is better – Give names, just don’t say “Anyone would be better”. The team sucked 2 yr ago when Romo went down for 3 games, and same this year, except the D has sucked all year for them. I’m not saying Romo is a HOF’r, but he’s as good as Eli or Big Ben, and they’ve won championships (because of their D).

  27. Pervy’s Stepdad says:It’s one thing to be a homer but a homer for a really bad team pretty much equals douchebag
    Nice name…I own you for that. All people that know anything about football know the Vikings have talent(which of course excludes you) We were in every game until the last minutes,never have been beat up.Better coaching would have made a difference.

  28. This garbage again? While I agree Phillips has overstayed his time in Dallas, this sorry rhetoric given by analysts to explain why teams are losing makes me sick. He’s not respected? Well, why’d they respect him enough to go 11-5 last year or 13-3 in 2008?
    The truth is that they don’t have as many good players as we’ve all been led to believe.
    The reason they’re losing is a combination of bad drafting (Phillips has nothing to do with), bad offensive line play (again Phillips has nothing to do with signing these players, overrated running backs (again, phillips has nothing to do with picking these players or offensive scheme period), and a bad offensive coordinator (again, Phillips had nothing to do with hiring him since he was there before he got the job).
    This team has more holes in it than a dozen doughnuts, and whoever takes over will see quickly that the hype the media gave this team pre-season was just that, hype. They will need to overhaul at least 3 of the 5 offensive line positions, find another lead RB after getting rid of Barber’s bloated contract (good luck with that), and hire an offensive coordinator who’s experience doesn’t call games like he’s playing Madden and instead gets in touch with the actual strengths of this team. Not to mention, the defensive back field isn’t that good. With all those stated holes, does that sound like a good team just waiting for the right leader to you?

  29. east96st says:
    November 7, 2010 10:15 AM
    “Dallas got extraordinarily lucky that Minnesota was run by idiots and won a draft ‘Lotto” one time. Once those drafted players left the game, Dallas hasn’t sniffed the Super Bowl since.”
    One can also make an argument that once Parcells drafted players has left the game, Dallas wont sniff the playoffs either since they are currently run by idiots.. I am pretty sure Roy Williams would not be on the cowboys and the cowboys would have an offensive line.

  30. No Troy you are wrong. While the Cowboys have as much talent as any 1-6 team (oh, wait they are the only 1-6), they are really lacking in talent. I don’t buy this “they are under performing” crap. The ‘boys are really as bad as they seem. Get used to it. Troy, I sure the Cowboys will win another playoff game sometimes (after all Jerry Jones can’t live forever), but not this decade.

  31. Yes…let’s bring back Parcells! Wait…how many playoff games did he win while he was the Cowboys coach-yeah a Tuna sized zero. As for talent, pure hype. Now that you have a statue at QB, watch the sacks go up and the wins go to zero. Romo kept that line from being exposed because of his mobility and quick release. I know, everyone hates him because he gets hot chicks and is the quarterback for the Cowboys..but if it wasn’t for him they would never sniff the playoffs. Next year when Chuckie gets to town, stand by Cowboy haters!

  32. The Cowboys, that is Jerry Jones, is a man at war with himself. Consider this: he hired Bill Parcells as the new sheriff bring discipline and accountability to the team. Then he turns right around and hires T.O., to undermine the coach and divide the team. There is conflict in the front office. But that conflict is occuring within ONE man! Jones is at war with himself. On one hand, he wants to quench his insatiable desire to be a head football coach. On the other, wants to be loved and admired. This can happen by winning with the Cowboys. Problems occur when “coach” Jerry hires weak head coaches through whom he can coach the team. Parcells told him to stuff it when Jones tried to meddle in what he was doing. He can’t help inserting himself and thereby create turmoil on the team. Jones once famously said that a monkey could coach the Cowboys right before the Johnson era came to an abrupt close. That was the last time the Cowboys were relevant prior to Parcells’ arrival. Then he hires Owens, thereby creating a fiasco that Parcells wouldn’t put up with. Still believing that a monkey could coach his team, he hires a failed and flawed head coach. (Why do guys like Wade Phillips and Norv Turner keep getting head coaching gigs and posting losing records wherever they go?) As much as Jerry wants to be loved and appreciated by the fans of Dallas, he is reviled and ridiculed. He could turn that all around if he could simply declare a winner in his internal war, step out of the spotlight and hire an executive and a coach who know what they are doing. And above all, STFU.

  33. I don’t think Brady has much more talent or charisma than Romo which isn’t to take anything away from his accomplishments. I just think Romo can be pretty good.

  34. Wow, and I thought that the Patriots were only good because Belichick is a cheater!
    Consider; they continued to excel LONG after the Goodell manufactured “Spygate” scandal, even winning weekly during that major distraction. They won after major personnel changes like cuts (Milloy), trades (Seymour, Moss), injuries (Brady!, Ty Law) and holdouts (Branch, Mankins).
    Maybe Belichick knows a thing or two about running an NFL team…unlike Wade Phillips and Brad Childress.

  35. Jones hires a hard ass coach that builds a winner and then he runs him out of town and put a series of yes-men at the top. They win for a couple of years with the talent that they were given BUT the team goes down hill and he can’t bring himself to go back to the formula that made the team a winner until many years of futility later. That cost him a lot of years and no playoffs when he dumped Johnson and I don’t think that he’s smart enough learn from that lesson to avoid it happening again. He needs to hire a tough coach, give him full say in personnel and allow him to choose his own coaching staff. I’d love to see Cowher take over but he’d want to have full say and I don’t think that Jones is smart enough to let go of the reins.

  36. “GBfanForever says:
    November 7, 2010 10:56 AM
    I don’t think Brady has much more talent or charisma than Romo which isn’t to take anything away from his accomplishments. I just think Romo can be pretty good.”
    And I like to think the Patriots won Superbowl 42 and completed the perfect season, but that does not mean much in the real world.

  37. Year in and year out Dallas is the most overhyped team over the last 15 years!Enough of the America’s team crap.All you front runners from 20 years ago need to stop drinking the Kool=Aid…….it’s tainted!!

  38. Pervy…first, you are an assclown. Second, your team got its ass kicked last week, had its ass kicked by Green Bay, is in last place and your quarterback has the 2nd to the lowest rating among starting NFL quarterbacks. Better coaching may have made a difference but you could roll Les Steckel or Bud Grant out as the HC, Brett Favre is still Brett Favre and he has cost your team dearly. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. Your team sucks and that’s all there is to it.

  39. mr.bozojones says:
    November 7, 2010 9:52 AM
    The owner should hold the general manager accountable, and fire him. The Cowboy talent, is waaay overrated. More celebrities than talented players.
    ==================================The owner is the GM and there are no celebrities on the team…Your login name fits you to a tee,BOZO!

  40. “I just got done doing New England last Sunday,” Aikman said on KTCK-AM, per the Dallas Morning News. “They’ve got some talented young players. Are they more talented than the Cowboys? I don’t know, but I don’t think they are. But they’re 6-1, they’re pretty good and they don’t make mistakes and beat themselves.”
    The 1-6 Dallas Cowboys are just as talented as the 6-1 New England Patriots???
    Troy Aikman is officially the new poster boy for the long term damage of too many concussions.

  41. I beg to differ. Dallas has neither. the O Line is old, and without depth and the D Line is not what it was two years ago. the Inside Backers and Safties are servicable at best.
    Did the really need to draft another WR, although good, at the expense of interior linemen.
    It’s at the line of scrimmage that they are vulnerable. Given time, Romo can still be effective. Time is what he least has now.

  42. One more thing, where does the Cowboy fan venom for Romo come from? Quite frankly, you’ll see what a difference he makes when this team finishes at 5-11 or so without him playing. Maybe I missed something or didn’t all of those stiffs between him and Aikman, including Drew Bledsoe, a former number 1 pick, kind of suck?
    Romo’s not a clutch QB, wow, is that the knock on him? A few years back the Raiders and Chiefs made Super Bowl runs with Rich Gannon and Trent Green respectfully, who weren’t exactly leading many 4th quarter comebacks. Even the Great Peyton Manning isn’t exactly john Elway with games on the line.
    It’s like I was saying the other day when people were bashing McNabb for his shortcomings, that’s not the only thing that makes a qB good.
    However, if you have a good QB, which Romo is, you’re in the game. It’s up to management to surround him with enough to win a championship.
    Like mcNabb during his time in Philly, the Cowboys have not, which is funny because they’ve sabotaged him in the opposite way with a bad offensive line and mediocre RB’s, while Philly had average to bad skill players around him in the passing game.

  43. “Mr. Lagoo says: I’m not saying Romo is a HOF’r, but he’s as good as Eli or Big Ben, and they’ve won championships (because of their D). ”
    The above statement is pure proof what happens to your brain on drugs!

  44. It’s not just the head coach. It’s the idiot owner.
    Al Davis, Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones.
    Meddlesome, unermining the coach.

  45. edgy1957,
    Don’t you mean that he hires a couple of coaches (parcells and Johnson) adept at player evaluation and roster building, let them leave, and then screws the roster up in their absence.
    Jerry Jones, like Dan Snyder, is a fan just like us who has never professionally scouted players or done anything for that matter in football professionally, which is why they need a coach or personnel executive for that expertise. Unless he hires someone in that role to oversee the coach or hires a coach with personnel expertise, they’ll continue to miss more than they hit on in player evaluation.
    As for those thinking that Jon Gruden is the answer, just ask tampa fans about his evaluation skills when he came there and slowly eroded that talent base into a mediocre mess. Only way he could work out there is if there is a good personnel mind in place for him to work in tandem with or independent of because he can’t be trusted to build a roster on his own.

  46. When Troy played, the division they played in was the worst division in the league. They were a shoe in for the playoffs. They had more talent at ever position then any other team. The Niners did the same thing in the Eighties. If you don’t have the horses you are not going to win. So, Troy shut the F up!

  47. Mr. Cowpatty,
    Exactly, but I’msure he doesn’t remember it that way. From the accounts of those teams, I doubt if Johnson would have had “control” of them had they not been winning.
    For God sake, Michael Irvin was reportedly chasing people around with scissors, not to mention the White House nonsense.

  48. Romo’s not a clutch QB, wow, is that the knock on him?
    The lack of accomplishments may factor in as well.

  49. Cowboys have had very limited depth the past 4 seasons, and it caught up with them. The NFL is full bore, and if you aren’t rotating guys in and out on D, your juiced by the 4th quarter. Also, O-Line is atrocious. The fact that Kyle Kosier’s presence makes such a marked difference is a big deal. Romo gets a bad rap, when he isn’t running for his life, he makes the plays.

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