Campo's Future in Dallas is More Important than the Past

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IFebruary 8, 2008

One thing can be said about both the Dallas Cowboys and Dave Campo: Neither hold a grudge.

The team could rightly view him as the least successful coach in franchise history, while he could in turn rightly claim that he was appointed captain of a sinking submarine.

But they've mutually decided to make past grievances historical, instead focusing on what they can offer each other in the present.

Hiring him to return to his secondary coach position is an interesting move in that they're bringing a man back to the subordinate role where it seems he functions best.

The time Campo spent in Dallas, not as boss, coincided with happy moments for this squad.

Most notably, he won a Super Bowl ring as the team's defensive coordinator, although, like Larry Brown, he may owe a portion of his achievement to the hideously inaccurate Neil O'Donnell.

Throw in the two he picked up in his first incarnation as secondary coach, and Campo's initial stint in Dallas was glorious up until his final promotion.

It was his work as chief that's stuck painfully with Cowboys fans.

The nicest thing to be said about Campo's head coaching reign was that he was consistent, although it turns out that finishing 5-11 each season isn't a good thing.

Questions about his in-game decision-making abilities have circulated since, well, the decisions were made.

But, at the same time, the team was almost fated to decline at that moment in its history.

Their '90s stars were either leaving or waning, causing an understandable dip in performance that can't be entirely pinned on a coach who famously didn't always know the most appropriate time to, say, kick for points.

As for what he had to work with, Troy Aikman had a particularly substandard performance in 2000, his final season and Campo's first.

It wasn't a fluke that the most public face of their recent triumphs was finishing his career as the new coach started his task.

That, along with having to deal with relatively inferior talent compared to what this team had to work with in the previous decade, meant that Campo didn't hurt this team on his own, even if he didn't do the best job helping it.

Honestly, even his most recent experience as an assistant didn't lead to particularly outstanding results.

As secondary coach in Jacksonville, his guys finished 15th in the league in pass defense, surrendering a middling 213.5 yards per game through the air.

But Campo is back to the site of his greatest achievements, even if he displayed why he's best used as a cog in a machine.

That's not an insult: some are best qualified to execute orders rather than give them, including, according to some, the current Dallas head coach.

The fact that both sides in question dropped bygones is significant in itself, but more important for the Cowboys is that they added a secondary manager who brings years of experience.

The fact that much of his former time was spent working with the company where he's spending his current time makes this a fascinating hire for reasons beyond football.

Still, the key part of the story has to do with the Cowboys bringing back someone who's previously done the same job for them proficiently, and that's what makes it potentially promising news for this team.