Your 2011 Dallas Cowboys: The Five Stages of Grief

Jerry Jones still hasn’t gotten past “denial,” but everybody else who lives and dies with America’s Team is trying to move on. 
Fri January 6, 2012 8:00 pm
Tony Gutierrez | Associated Press

The Texans are in the playoffs. The Giants are in the playoffs. But the Dallas Cowboys, of course, have missed the playoffs now for two straight seasons and have also gone sixteen years without winning the Super Bowl, a record that’s particularly grating for Jerry Jones’ wealthy and high-expectations franchise. And unlike Rick Perry, the Cowboys can’t just show up at the next spot on the schedule and hope to catch a break.

So all a Cowboys fan can really do is grieve, which as pop psychology aficionados (and The Simpsons cultists) know, happens in five stages (as originally outlined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross).

1. Denial
#FireJerryJones is only a Twitter hashtag; the Cowboys owner has every intention of continuing to be the Cowboys’ general manager. The only universe in which Jones could get fired is the one where people mistake stories in the Onion (“Dallas Cowboys Release Jerry Jones”) for reality.

“The thing you’ve got to realize is that when you have an owner that is full time as the owner, then you create a situation where you have as much turnover at GM as you do at coaching level,” Jones said in a radio interview with KRLD (as Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the  Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported). “And I think that just deters from the mix.”

In other words, if Jerry Jones the owner wasn’t also Jerry Jones the general manager, he’d have to hire and fire the general manager as recklessly and inconsistently as Jerry Jones the general manager has hired and fired coaches. 

2. Anger
Writing for ESPNDallas, Ben Rogers of 103.3 FM ESPN’s Ben and Skin Show  isn’t feeling very warm towards head coach Jason Garrett (whom he compares to Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting) or defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (“because of his completely unsubstantiated and never-backed-up swagger, we believed”).

“The 2011 Dallas Cowboys season died a cold, wet, miserable death (Sunday) in the far-away Meadowlands,” Rogers wrote. “But in truth, this franchise has been on life support for a decade and a half. Jerry Jones is the worst GM in football, but he is going nowhere. And because of that, nothing will change.”

3. Bargaining
“The team’s window of opportunity is closing, and it’s just about time to

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