Your Dallas Cowboys' guaranteed trip to the NFL post-season prompts Bill Rhoden to visit with Jerry Jones in this sports pages of this morning's New York Times. Much of the content feels reheated; most of the opinions, rehashed. (To wit: "Jerry Jones -- owner, president and general manager -- is the closest thing in pro football to George Steinbrenner.") There's even a sentence that rhymes America's Team with "the substance and illusion of the American Dream."
The point of Rhoden's piece is this: The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since '96, yet the team and its fans carry themselves like "a perennial champion" with a bravado "bordering on the delusional." And that can be traced back to one man:
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The illusory part of the 21st-century Cowboys, symbolized by Romo -- more hype than substance -- has been disconcerting to Cowboys fans and a put-off to those who are not. Jones knows that the only thing that will quiet critics and convert cynics is winning.
"The pursuit of a Super Bowl will make you stretch out to get into the N.F.L.," Jones said. "Winning one will make you spend a billion two on a stadium."