Troy Aikman has had plenty to say about his former team’s struggles this season.
The three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback has been rightfully critical of what he called “a really strange team to try to figure out,” which he’s attempted to do in a game on multiple occasions as part of his job as FOX’s lead game color commentator. If he were ever to leave such a role for something more challenging, he could see his next destination existing somewhere within the NFL.
Just not in Dallas.
Aikman was asked by 1310 The Ticket hosts if he could envision himself taking a player personnel role in the Cowboys‘ front office and quickly shot down the idea, saying it’s unlikely Cowboys owner Jerry Jones brings anyone in in such a capacity, citing Jones’ being “real stubborn and steadfast in that he’s the one in charge.”
“I think in a lot of ways, until that changes, this team’s going to have some problems,” Aikman said.
Aikman isn’t off base in mentioning Jones’ steadfast nature about his role as owner of the Cowboys. On Tuesday, Jones took 105.3 The Fan hosts on a winding road of an explanation of how he’s the one running the show (and responsible for the results that follow) in Dallas.
It’s not surprising that Aikman would be wary of going to work for Jones again after spending his entire playing career in Dallas, which included three Lombardis, but also plenty of frustration at the end of his career, so much that it self-admittedly drove him to early retirement.
But what is interesting is Aikman’s aspirations to do something more than watch from the broadcast booth.
“It’s something that I guess I’ve always somewhat entertained,” Aikman said. “I’ve had a chance to talk with [Broncos general manager] John Elway in previous years. I’ve visited with [49ers general manager] John Lynch, and the decision that he made to take on that job in San Francisco, and I’ve said many, many times, I still believe there’s another frontier for me — maybe there’s not — but I believe that there is, and I think that might very well be it. It’s something that I think would be very challenging. I’d be giving up a lot to leave the job that I have to take on a role like that. It’s an all-consuming job and I certainly recognize that, but I think the challenge would make it worthwhile.
“Now whether or not I’m ever afforded that opportunity, we’ll see, but with each year that passes, the likelihood of it happening becomes less and less. I understand that more and more teams want to go young and kind of groom somebody that’s gonna be there for the long haul, but relatively speaking, I’ve got a lot of great years left and I feel that having been in a championship locker room and knowing what that looks like, what that feels like, and then I guess my job now as a broadcaster, I’ve been in those organizations.”
That sounds a lot like a sales pitch to a team in need of a general manager. Lynch and Elway have produced mixed results, with Elway riding Peyton Manning to a Super Bowl title but struggling mightily in player evaluation and selection, and Lynch utilizing a longer road to build a team that appears to be a legitimate contender for the first time since Jim Harbaugh was patrolling its sideline. There’s no guarantee Aikman would make a good GM.
It’s intriguing that he’d want to move beyond his excellent gig working alongside Joe Buck in a tandem that has improved over the years as FOX’s go-to crew. There’s always a lingering bit of an athlete’s ego that both drives them to on-field success and directs them to off-field challenges, to mixed results.
It’s all speculative, of course, but before we go, there was one more interesting bit from Aikman’s interview related to the Cowboys that might speak volumes to some. When asked if he’d still do a weekly radio show as hypothetical Cowboys GM, Aikman firmly said no, explaining he believes only one person should have such a platform: the head coach.
“Ultimately, we all understand that the owner, whether it’s here in Dallas or any other franchise, the owner ultimately makes the decisions,” Aikman explained. “Ultimately, he’s the one who signs off. You can always say ‘well, as the owner I can do this, I can do that,’ there’s no question that that’s true, but I think there has to be one voice and one person that the players answer to.”
Though the decision won’t involve Aikman, we’ll see if that person is still in Dallas come January.