IRVING, Texas - Unconfirmed reports suggest that Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, is considering whether to publicly declare his incompetence. Jones would become the first openly incompetent GM in the league's history.
Speculation about his qualifications has followed Jones since he bought the Cowboys in 1989. After winning three Super Bowl championships in four seasons in the '90s, Dallas began a long stretch of futility, winning only one playoff game in the past 17 years. In 1994, Jones parted ways with head coach Jimmy Johnson after consecutive Super Bowl wins. Whenever his skills as an executive have been questioned, Jones has claimed to be acting in the best interests of the team.
Several NFL executives have publicly acknowledged their incompetence after their careers ended. Matt Millen, a broadcaster and former Super Bowl-winning linebacker, served as president and CEO of the Detroit Lions from 2001 to 2008. The team managed only 31 wins in seven-plus seasons under Millen, who was dogged by rumors of incompetence throughout his tenure. In 2009, he confirmed those rumors in a televised interview. Today, Millen believes the first openly unqualified GM would be accepted by the league as well as most fans.
"If [Jones] or any other active GM were to say he was incompetent, I think the reaction would be largely positive," Millen said. "During my career, at that time, it would have been a distraction. ... All anybody wants to know now is, can he lose games? Can he make the decisions that will lose games? Jerry has already proven that."