What A Bummer

off-season, so will all this talk of Parcells' future with the Cowboys, which he says will not be impacted by the Cowboys' 9-7 record or the team's inability to qualify for the playoffs. 

But, you know what, call me crazy, but it should. When Parcells arrived here in 2003, he basically implied his goal was to put the Dallas Cowboys, the organization he compared to the New York Yankees, back on sound footing. To establish a solid foundation. And he said you don't measure success on one winning season or one playoff season or even one Super Bowl season. 

Parcells preached how success is judged on consecutive seasons of success. The Cowboys have not established that - yet. Sure, they went 10-6 his first year. But then backed up to 6-10 last year, following up with 9-7 this year. The foundation is being laid, but it is not complete. The success is not consistent. 

The job he signed up to do is not complete. 

When asked again about his future with the Cowboys, having one more year left on his four-year deal, Parcells said, not qualifying for the playoffs would have little effect on his decision, implying he does have a decision to make. 

"I don't know what I'll do," Parcells said. "We'll see. Just got to get back and get away from it for a while." 

For his part, Jones deftly deflected questions about Parcells' future. During the ESPN broadcast, he would not put a percentage on Parcells returning, and would say, it would take no more than "15 or 20 minutes" for the two to sit down and settle this matter. 

And afterward, Jones again said, "I won't get into that. I have to think about what I want to do," as if he too had a decision to make. Hmmmm. 

Jones talked about how positive things have been working with Parcells, and that how "we all want to be on the same page as we go forward." 

Well, to me, this almost sounds as if Parcells is angling for an extension, that maybe he does not want to work next year on a one-year deal. Maybe he believes that's not good for recruiting free agents, and that this will continue to be the center of discussion next year if everyone knows he's in his final year. 

Then, too, if you're going to get an extension, maybe that comes with a raise, too. Hey, Parcells might be a football coach, but he's also a business man. Maybe he's looking for a little more money, knowing this likely is his last coaching stop - which he actually said on Friday, answering with one word, "yeah," when asked if this would be the last place he coaches. 

All this retirement talk coming from some of the folks close to him might be leverage. And since Jones does not seem to be overreacting to any of this, maybe he his shielding himself from being leveraged, and maybe why he made a point of differentiating between 9-7 and 10-6. 

So this is how the Cowboys head into the good night of the 2005 season. Better, but bitterly disappointed. Improved, but with a lot of work to do. Encouraged, but with a lasting bad taste in their mouths. And with this cloud, real or manufactured, hanging over the coaching position once again. 

Just a downer all around.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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