In discussing his former team’s playoff futility, Troy Aikman levied the ultimate football insult upon the Dallas Cowboys.
“Changing the coach is one thing, but you have to look at how things are run out there,” Aikman said last week on 96.7 The Ticket, via USA Today. “I talk to people in the building and from what I hear is that there’s a lot of dysfunction. …
“If you don’t do anything in the postseason, then you’re really at the end of the day, no different than the Jacksonville Jaguars or the New York Jets that didn’t get in (to the playoffs).”
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Aikman: Coaches, Players Both Responsible for Loss
Much of the consternation stems from Dallas’ loss to the 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game, a brutally disappointing end to a 12-win campaign, underscored by the Cowboys tying an NFL postseason record with 14 penalties.
But while head coach Mike McCarthy is, deservedly, receiving the brunt of blame, Aikman believes the finger also should be pointed at the players — the ones actually committing the infractions.
“The coach is held accountable for everything, but I think the players also are responsible for that,” he said on 96.7 The Ticket. “Those are difficult conversations because unless you’re in the building, you don’t know exactly what’s tolerated and what’s allowed.”
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Irvin Shares Similar Sentiment
A pair of legendary Cowboys appear to be in lockstep over the state of the organization. During a January 20 radio interview, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin addressed the potential firing of McCarthy, explaining that the club needs an elite coach — say, Bill Belichick — to get back into the championship cross-hairs.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, with all the things that — and it’s not just him being furious with Mike McCarthy and the disappointing end to the season, it’s also what he should be doing,” Irvin said on 105.3 The Fan, via Inside The Star. “His job is to evaluate and see if there’s any way we can get better. So, that’s why I said and I’ve been saying on the air… No! Unless I’m sure I can bring in something better — a Sean Payton or Bill Belichick or Kyle Shanahan or Mike Tomlin. But, we get emotional. We get emotional and we want someone out. We’re not thinking about the other side of it. Who are we bringing in? …”
Irvin, like Aikman, was critical of those who took the field, as well. Without naming names, the outspoken analyst dinged quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott for coming up small against the 49ers.
“Dude. Emmitt [Smith] and I stood in that tunnel before every game. We looked at each other. We called ourselves ‘double trouble.’ By land or by air. And we said before we hit the field, if we don’t show up, we got no shot. Period,” Irvin said. “That’s the whole reason we did that. Because we knew if we didn’t show up, we got no shot. [Against the 49ers, the Cowboys’] stars didn’t show up. We had no shot. Wherever you’ve got disorder, you’ve got disfunction. We can’t have our stars putting up role-player numbers like 31 yards rushing, or one catch for 21 yards, or a 69 passer rating. … Trying to make our role players stars and our stars role players, that’s a disorder and the team dysfunction’d. …”