DALLAS – The omnipresent thing about the iconic Roger Staubach’s discussions about the Dallas Cowboys is that they are still “his Cowboys.” That while he is decades removed from being on the field, he still refers to players one-third his age as “we.” That he’s supportive … but not blindly so.
“I’m a Tony Romo fan,” Staubach said during a recent appearance on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I’m pulling really hard for Tony because I really believe he is one heck of a quarterback, and that’s a feeling from somebody that I didn’t say that about any other quarterbacks except for Troy Aikman. I think Tony is the right quarterback, and we’re lucky to have Tony Romo. … I think Tony Romo is a championship quarterback.”
Staubach holds an opinion of this year’s Cowboys – and of most years’ Cowboys – that I often share in this space: This NFL is an 8-8 league. Romo needs to be better than an 8-8 quarterback and Jason Garrett needs to be better than an 8-8 coach and the half-a-hundred people around them need to do the same, but …
“There are 10-to-12 teams this year that have a shot at it, and Dallas will have a shot at it,” Staubach said. “When you’re 8-8, you can be 10-6. The Giants a few years ago were 7-7 and ended up 9-7 and got to the Super Bowl. Last year, Baltimore was kind of hurting at the end of the year. … Dallas has got the talent to be competitive with the league. We have hope that we can get to the playoffs and once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen.”
There’s that “we” again, an attitude that helped Staubach bridge the gap between the old guard and new owner Jerry Jones 24 years ago, an attitude that creates a bridge to today’s game – a game the Hall-of-Famer believes is complex enough to relieve the head coach of playcalling duties, as is now the case with Garrett.
“I’m on the side of the head coach not calling plays,” Staubach said. “If you call plays, that means you’re studying film all the time. You’ve got to be in touch with the other team’s film and watching their defense. You’ve got to really work at it. Therefore, you don’t have a handle on the rest of the team, not that you have to micromanage the rest of the team, but you have to have an overall feeling like the CEO of the company. You got to have the right feeling and make the decisions when you have to, but you’re in tune with all aspects of the team. … I’m a fan of Jason Garrett, and it’ll give Jason a chance to do other things and see what’s going on and make decisions that maybe he hasn’t made in the past and have a feel of what’s going on and not just the offensive playcalling.”
Staubach obviously has a feel for what’s going on, too. As a legend. And as a fan.
“We were in the hunt last year at 8-8,” he said. “We weren’t 2-14 or something. So as a Cowboys fan I do get excited, and I truly believe we could be in the playoffs this year.”