Dallas Cowboys are “All in” (the family, that is)

The term “All in” only has five letters, but it means different things to different people.

After the 12-5 Dallas Cowboys were embarrassed on national television by the 9-8 Green Bay Packers 48-32 in a first round playoff game which wasn’t as close as the final score, boisterous Cowboys fans were stunned into silence.

For the 27th consecutive year, the Dallas Cowboys did not advance to play in either the NFC Championship game or, of course, the Super Bowl.

Since the last Dallas Cowboys title on January 28, 1996, thirteen other NFL franchises have won a Super Bowl:

Green Bay (1997 and 2011)

Denver (1998, 1999, and 2016)

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2000 and 2022)

Baltimore (2001 and 2013)

New England (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019)

Tampa Bay (2003 and 2021)

Pittsburgh (2006 and 2009)

Indianapolis (2007)

New York Giants (2008 and 2012)

New Orleans (2010)

Seattle (2014)

Philadelphia (2018)

Kansas City (2020, 2023, and 2024)

Fans of “America’s Team” are painfully aware that the team’s fortunes have sunk after the departure of former coach Jimmy Johnson after winning his second Super Bowl on January 30, 1994.  Yes, former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer led Dallas to the 1996 Super Bowl but it was with, essentially, Jimmy Johnson’s players.

Since then, a generation of young football fans has never seen Dallas play in another championship game.

Yet Dallas Cowboys fans still believe 

After having the second seed in last season’s NFC playoffs and watching their team get run off the field by Green Bay, Dallas Cowboys fans still believe.

After learning that head coach Mike McCarthy was not going to be fired after losing early in the playoffs for the third time in his four seasons as top man in Dallas, the Cowboys fans (somehow) still believe.

After the NFL’s free agency period ended this spring without Dallas making any significant player moves, the Cowboys fans still believe.

After April’s NFL draft and Dallas selecting, by most reasonable observers, an “average” group of young players, Cowboys fans still believe.

With the clock ticking on the 2024 off-season and several key players heading into the final year of their current contracts, somehow, Cowboys fans still believe.

Why do the loyal fans of the Dallas Cowboys still believe in this team?

One of my best friends (I call him “Mr. Cowboys”) has always been a true blue die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.  He loved the Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s led by former coach Tom Landry.  Though he isn’t a big fan of current team owner Jerry Jones, he still retains a perpetual optimism for his Dallas Cowboys – including the coming 2024 season.

You probably know someone like “Mr. Cowboys”.  They are quite unique in their willingness to believe that Dallas is on the verge of breaking through again for the first time since January, 1996.

On the football field, Jerry Jones remains his own worst enemy

Why do Dallas Cowboys fans even listen to their 81-year old billionaire owner anymore?

As covered here in the past, the problems in Dallas start and end with their egotistical team owner.

In Jimmy Johnson’s excellent book called “Swagger”, the former Cowboys coach laid out an entire chapter detailing how Dallas team owner Jerry Jones (who initially agreed to run the financial side of the team) wanted to become more involved with the media and in the team’s clubhouse.  I highly recommend this book as a Father’s Day gift for any long-suffering Dallas Cowboys’ dad.

Once Jimmy Johnson finally had enough of Jerry Jones’ increasing meddling with the football team, he left.  Since that time, Jerry Jones’ personal influence has only increased throughout the football team’s operations.

Meet the Jones Family Cowboys

The team’s website indicates that every executive level officer for the Dallas Cowboys is a family member of team owner Jerry Jones.   Here is the list:

Stephen Jones – Chief Operating Officer and in charge of player personnel.

Charlotte Jones – Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer

Jerry Jones, Jr. – Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

Since taking home the 1996 Super Bowl trophy to Dallas, the Jones Family Cowboys now have a pitiful record of 5-13 in the NFL playoffs.  The Cowboys haven’t won back-to-back playoff games one time in the past 27 seasons.

Last year’s 2023 Dallas Cowboys looked poised to finally make a run at the NFC title.  The schedule was favorable, and the team posted a 12-5 regular season record to obtain the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs.  That meant home field advantage for their first two playoff games.

Instead, the Dallas Cowboys were outcoached and outplayed by a mediocre wild-card Green Bay Packers team in a first round playoff exit.  Instead of firing the head coach in charge of the playoff debacle, team owner Jerry Jones opted to keep Mike McCarthy for the final year of his contract.


By doing so, Jones didn’t have to write a multimillion dollar exit check to send Mike McCarthy home.  Sources indicated that the Dallas Cowboys head coach would be due somewhere between $4-7 million for the final year of his contract.

In addition to paying-off McCarthy, Jones would have to spend even more money if he actually wanted to recruit a proven winner to coach his team.  The five highest paid NFL coaches earned between $12 million (Baltimore’s John Harbaugh) to $18 million (Kansas City’s Andy Reid and Denver’s Sean Payton) annually.

Bill Belichick was fired by New England last season.  He was available.  The former Patriots head coach probably wanted more control and money than Jerry Jones was willing to give up in Big D.

Don’t forget that former Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh was briefly available, too.  He was hired by the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Chargers are already showing improvements heading into the 2024 season.

Many fans of the Dallas Cowboys have long suspected that Jerry Jones has harbored a desire to coach his own football team.  Since he is now 81, Jones is relegated to hiring a subservient puppet to act as the team’s head coach.  That unfortunate person must be willing to follow orders from the owner, lay low when speaking with the media, and be happy to receive a middle-of-the-pack NFL head coach’s paycheck while in Dallas.

It’s ALWAYS been about the money with Jerry Jones

Based on results on the field, the Jones Family Cowboys won’t pay to retain the best coaches or top tier players.  Though a failure with their fans, the Cowboys ownership team has wildly succeeded at their primary goal – making the most money in the NFL.

As team owner Jerry Jones laments with Cowboys fans about his team’s continued long absence from the Super Bowl, he (and his family) find solace in knowing that the team’s financial picture is the envy of the NFL.

The Jones Family Cowboys have done a great job in generating profits each season.  The value of the Dallas NFL franchise remains tops in the league with an estimated worth of $9 billion.

While the Jones family builds more generations of wealth, millions of Dallas Cowboys football fans continue to hope for a chance to see their favorite team back in the Super Bowl before they die.

In 2024, Jerry Jones is trying to sell more hope to legions of loyal (but gullible) fans

After last year’s hard landing in the playoff loss to Green Bay, Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones is now telling fans that THIS year will be different.  His team is going “All in” in 2024.

At late January’s Senior Bowl game, the team owner was on-site to assist Dallas Cowboys team scouts and coaches in evaluating college football talent prior to the NFL draft.  The 81-year old Jerry Jones met with the assembled media for a lengthy question and answer session.

“We will be all in,” said Jones. “I would anticipate we will be all in at the end of this year.

After the Senior Bowl, it was time for the NFL’s annual free agent signing period.  Dallas Cowboys fans had hopes of the team making a few significant free agent moves after JJ told them he was “All in”.

Nope.  Dallas may have lost more key players than they acquired during the early season free agent market.

Next, it was April’s NFL draft.  Once again, Jerry Jones found more cameras and microphones around to emphasize his “All in” mantra once again:

“We feel great about what we’ve been in free agency,” Jones saidAll-in. All-in. All-in. We’re all-in with these young guys. We’re all-in with this draft.”

Au contraire!  Most draft experts believe Dallas had an “OK” draft in April.  The team didn’t make any trades nor did they acquire any immediate impact players despite the owner’s “All in” push in 2024.

There has been one significant free agent signing recently.  Former Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott was released by the team a year ago, played in New England in 2023, but has been re-signed by the Cowboys on a one-year $2 million contract for 2024.

Is that going All in?

The results have not matched the rhetoric thus far in 2024.  Take a look at how little has changed with the Dallas Cowboys football team after being trounced by Green Bay in the first round of last season’s playoffs.  Talk is cheap.

Give Jerry Jones an “A” for generating profits

Lest we forget, owner Jerry Jones’ initial role in Dallas during the coach Jimmy Johnson era was to manage the team’s finances.

With so little movement on the player front thus far in 2024, he seems relatively happy to effectively leave the roster alone at this point.

Here’s why.  The contracts for his team’s top three star players will be expiring after this season.  It will cost Jerry Jones a lot more money to keep one or more of those top players in the future.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is in the final year of a 4-year $160 million deal.

The contracts for talented pass rusher Micah Parsons (4-year deal for a total of $17 million) and improving wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (4-years for a total of $14 million) are in their final season, too.

NFL players and their team earn money from jersey and other merchandise sales.  During the 2023 season, Micah Parsons’ #11 jersey and CeeDee Lamb’s #88 jerseys were ranked #2 and #3 respectively in sales for the entire NFL.  Quarterback Dak Prescott’s #4 jersey came in at a respectable #13 in 2023.

For as little as Dallas owner Jerry Jones may know about coaching and evaluating players, you can be sure that he knows how much money each of his key players are putting back into his pocket via merchandise sales every season.

By waiting for the 2024 NFL season to play out, Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones can decide whether roll out the dough if his team makes it to the Super Bowl.

If Dallas fails to reach the big game this year, expect one or more of the team’s top players to be on another NFL team’s payroll in future seasons.  Jerry Jones will blame the players and head coach (whose contract also conveniently ends this year) for the team’s failures.

Either way, Jerry Jones is setting himself up to win.

Follow the money

Dallas Cowboys fans would be wise to watch the financial moves of the team while assessing how “All in” they really are this season.  Based on the early results, team owner’s comments about “All in” should be interpreted as meaning “All in – the family”.