-- So Jerry Jones believes that Greg Hardy is a highly respected leader who's deserving of a long-term, multi-million-dollar deal in Dallas? Really? Let's put that into perspective.
About a year ago, Jones focused his football knowledge and keen insight into the human condition and came away with the brilliant conclusion that Johnny Manziel would "guarantee [the Cowboys] relevance for 10 years."
It was an odd, ill-timed, unnecessary and absurd Texas-sized boast from the Dallas owner. In other words, it was exactly the kind of nonsense we've all come to expect from Jones, who during the last 20 years has produced no great football but a ton of great quotes.
So when I hear that in Jerry's World, Hardy isn't a cowardly, unhinged basket case -- or the worst example yet of the NFL's talent-trumps-all sliding scale of morality -- but a respected leader of men worthy of wearing the star for years to come, well, I try to focus on the source. Like how earlier in the season when Hardy made a stupid crack about supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who's married to Tom Brady, Jones laughed off the incident by saying, well, ya know, geez, she is really smoking hot. Like how the assessment of Hardy comes from the same GM who in 2010 compared someone named Tashard Choice to Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith; who, in 2001, referred to Quincy Carter (career totals: 32 TDs, 37 INTs) as a once-in-a-generation kind of quarterback; and who once offered this expert evaluation of Cowboys No. 1 pick Troy Aikman: "He looks good in the shower."
Honestly, the only thing I find shocking about the mess in Texas is how anyone can still be shocked after 20 years of dysfunction. There's a reason the Cowboys never really seem to be negatively affected by Jones' words. It's because they're already so negatively affected by his work as a GM.
I'll give you an example. Yes, in 1994 Jones made the outrageous statement that "There are 500 coaches who could have won the Super Bowl with our team." But you know what's far more damaging to the Cowboys? The fact that during the last 21 years, with $4 billion at his disposal, he still hasn't been able to locate a single one.
Still, if we're keeping track, until Sunday's latest bout of mouth diarrhea in Dallas, I personally would have ranked 2013 as Jones' greatest season as an oracle. I know, I know, most people lean toward 2012, an 8-8 season Jones opened by yelling the catchphrase "I want me some glory hole!" This is the season where I first compared America's Family, the Kardashians -- rich and famous but without a single noteworthy accomplishment during the last decade -- to America's Team, the Cowdashians, who have the same exact track record.
The next season, according to a list of Jones' greatest quips compiled by the Dallas Morning News, Jones started out the year bragging about how CAT scans revealed he had the brain of a 40-year-old. (Which begs the question: Which 40-year-old? Lloyd Christmas?) A few weeks later, Jones called a 51-48 loss to the Broncos that dropped the Cowboys to 2-3 a "moral victory for us." Then, after the Cowboys had gone four seasons without a winning record, Jones referred to his own performance as "some of the best work I've done."
To top it all off, by the end of 2013, after the Cowboys had gone 18 years with just a single playoff win (fewer than the Jaguars, Redskins and Dolphins during that same stretch) Jones was asked if he was embarrassed at all by his performance as an owner. His answer tells you everything you need to know about Jones, his warped sense of accomplishment, what matters in the NFL and how we measure success in our culture.
"Would you get embarrassed if you were standing in this stadium? Seriously?" he replied, alluding to AT&T Stadium, Jones' crowning achievement that, uh, was built with more than $600 million worth of public financing. "The answer is no."
That's pretty much the answer to every question in Dallas these days. In a pass-happy league with the great but fragile Tony Romo under center, did the Dallas GM have a serviceable backup quarterback on the roster just in case?
Did Hardy learn anything when he was cut from the Panthers and suspended by the league after he was accused of strangling a woman, threatening to kill her and throwing her on a futon full of loaded weapons? Or after coach Jason Garrett talked to him about an insensitive tweet referencing 9/11? Or when he talked about returning to the field "guns blazing?" Or after his sideline altercation with an assistant coach and teammates during Sunday's mistake-filled 27-20 loss to the Giants?
After 20 years, does Jones worry at all that he's constantly undermining his coaches, that he's essentially given Hardy more respect than Garrett in this situation, and that, ya know, maybe there's a reason no other sports owners operate this way?
Will all Hardy's "passion" and pass rush skills and the return of Dez Bryant be enough for Dallas to rebound from its worst start since 2010 and avoid finishing last or next-to-last in the NFC East for the 11th time since 1997?
And if this mess continues in Dallas, will Jerry Jones have anything to show for his last 20 years as an NFL owner, other than a handful of headlines?
I'll let you figure that one out on your own.