Jones already has 3 Lombardis under his watch, 2012 could bring him a fourth.
The Dallas Cowboys have been getting better over the past few seasons, but it won't be enough for fans until a sixth Lombardi Trophy is at Valley Ranch.
The fact that Pittsburgh has more hardware than Dallas has been keeping Dallas fans up at night for years. After years of waiting, here are five reasons that the Cowboys will be hoisting a fifth trophy in New Orleans.
Jason Garrett may still be calling plays, but another chef in the kitchen will help the team.
Jason Garrett finally hired an offensive coordinator. Garrett has always wanted to do both jobs, but it became increasingly obvious that he was impeding his ability to do either effectively.
Bill Callahan may not be calling plays, but having someone with head-coaching experience to take some of the load off of Garrett is huge. There may not be any flashy or obvious payoff for this hire, but then again, some might say that managing your timeouts effectively is pretty flashy.
Jason Garrett is in control of the Cowboys, and that benefits everyone.
Jason Garrett has made this his team. Garrett is a great leader, and having a head coach that they respect means a lot to the players.
Jerry Jones will always be Jerry Jones, but Garrett is not a puppet head coach. He has full control over everything and has no problem sending messages to the team to drive home his points. In 2010, he benched Marion Barber for one play for not wearing a suit on the team plane to his head-coaching debut against the Giants. This year, he sent Brodney Pool packing after not passing his conditioning test—even though safety is a big position of need.
The point was clear: No one inherits their job, you work for it. Eliminating the entitlement attitude at Valley Ranch was a critical issue, and Garrett has taken care of that.
Sean Lee leads a group of players that are proving Dallas right for drafting them.
After far more draft busts than gems, some recent picks are beginning to lead the team and contribute to the team’s success. DeMarco Murray looks like he could be the running back of the future—a threat both in the rushing and passing game. He may not rush for 200 yards every outing, but he’s clearly the best option that Dallas has had in the backfield in years.
Sean Lee is proving to be an incredible steal in the second round. He can cover running backs and tight ends equally well, and has the ability to collapse the pocket on quarterbacks. This unit may not be the "Doomsday Defense," but Lee elevates it above previous squads.
Tyron Smith was a beast as a rookie, and exchanging sides with Doug Free will improve the entire offensive line. Arguably the best pick by coordinator or Coach Garrett thus far, don’t expect Jerry Jones to let Smith even sniff free agency when that time comes.
Rob Ryan finally has the opportunity to teach defense to his players.
The lockout really hurt the Cowboys. Not just in regards to Dez Bryant violating the Northpark Mall dress code, but in the defense’s development. After hiring a new defensive coordinator with a complicated scheme, the players are given only minimal access to him, and are forced to learn on the fly throughout the season. The defense was never in sync with their coordinator—players were throwing their hands up in confusion multiple times per game, often as the ball was being snapped.
But even with all of those challenges, it was improved year over year. There wasn’t much room to get worse, but improvement is still important. Having a full offseason to absorb the intricacies of Ryan’s scheme, and have the entire team comfortable executing it, will have a very obvious effect during the season.
Dallas’s offense is potent enough that it doesn’t need a legendary unit on the other side of the ball, just one that won’t give up 25 points per game. The Cowboys have finally found an aggressive scheme they like and have made most of the roster moves to execute it effectively.
Tony Romo finally has pressure taken off his shoulders by a rushing attack and aggressive defense.
Possibly the biggest reason that the Cowboys will win this Super Bowl is composed of parts of all the previous reasons—Tony Romo. He has now been presented with the tools in all three phases of the game that will allow him to lead the team instead of carry it. The distinction is important.
In previous years, it was all up to Romo’s legs and arm to end up with a win on Sundays. Now, he has a defense he can rely on, a rushing attack that will actually make defenses adjust how they attack him and a head coach who has taught him that winning is less about great plays and more about not making as many mistakes.
After the Lions debacle last year, Romo’s TD/INT ratio was almost 5-to-1, and he was the reason that the team was still in games late in the fourth quarter—instead of the scapegoat for losses.
This should be the year the Lombardi trophy returns to Dallas.
This Cowboys team has been a long time in coming. Aging veterans have been removed from the roster, and young talent allowed to shine. “Just winning” has been replaced by “win the right way.”
The head coach is teaching the owner that a Super Bowl can neither be bought nor won in one offseason. It can only be earned by years of good decision making, and limiting mistakes.