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Is Jerry Jones the New Al Davis?

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Is Jerry Jones the New Al Davis?
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Serving as both owner and general manager—and calling all the shots in between—Jerry Jones is the face of the Dallas Cowboys. While everything is smoothed over with wins, this team has failed to consistently compete recently—raising questions about the direction this organization is headed.

With news breaking Friday of a contract extension with quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys have at least signaled their immediate course of action (via NFL.com).

Jones will never be faulted for an unyielding approach and how he views his Cowboys among the NFL landscape. It is the lack of results, however, that have brought into light his ability to make intelligent football decisions.

Sound familiar?

It was toward the end of Al Davis' tenure with the Oakland Raiders when fans became weary of his leadership abilities. He, too, was the team's owner while serving as the final say on the roster and coaching personnel until passing away during the 2011 season.

Davis will forever be entrenched in the development of the NFL and how it is seen in its current form. He was instrumental in bringing this league to the forefront of the sporting landscape, not to mention the success of the Raiders leading up to their Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2002 season.

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Oakland has won more than five games just twice in a season since, making zero playoff appearances and finishing no better than third place in the AFC West. It was Davis' stubbornness to adapt to the evolving NFL that ultimately caught up with him.

While the Cowboys haven't quite reached this level of futility, the descent of Jones' reputation has already begun.

Don't expect Jones to dismiss himself as general manager anytime soon, however (via Todd Archer, ESPN.com):

I pretty much go with what I did the night I bought the team. When I bought the team, the night I bought it, I said I was going to be the GM. I couldn't be involved to the degree I had been involved in ownership and not do the things the GM does in spending the money and all of those kinds of things. It would be a façade if someone else were sitting in my shoes and someone thought they were spending the money. It would be deception.

While his resume certainly speaks for itself, Jones must feel the pressures of not living up to his own standards for the better part of two decades. The Cowboys haven't appeared in a Super Bowl since 1995, only winning two postseason games since—including just one in the Romo Era.

Jones is committed to his quarterback, however, further obscuring the image of this franchise while drawing direct comparisons to Davis in the process.

Romo's career isn't necessarily one you would call poor, as he has never thrown for fewer than 26 touchdowns or 4,184 yards in seasons he has played and started in all 16 games. He has a 55-38 record as a starter and a career 95.6 quarterback rating, which is fifth-best all time.

The NFL is all about winning in the postseason, however, and Romo's inability to carry on the Cowboys' torch could have been a sign that a change of direction was necessary. Instead, Jones stuck by his man with a hefty financial commitment.

Though he will forever be linked to the Cowboys, it is clear Jones must begin to loosen his grip for this franchise to prolong its claim as "America's Team." But with the fans having final say, it appears to be too late.

 

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