Jerry Jones takes his share of criticism, and perhaps some of it is deserved. The Super Bowl rings have layers of dust, something critics point to when noting the owner and self-appointed general manager made his money to buy the team in oil and gas exploration, not talent evaluation. Jones started a debate this offseason by saying the window for this Cowboys team might be closing, which of course came off like a not-so-subtle threat, a classic rhetorical jab from the man writing the checks.
Should the Cowboys become a playoff team in 2012, surely some will applaud Jones for "lighting a fire" under his team. Or perhaps they'll credit some new ways of thinking -- Dallas coach Jason Garrett attended the MIT-hosted Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and Jones quietly hired a senior analytics manager and director of football research.
But more likely the credit could go to further strides from what has been a potent offense led by the oft-maligned Tony Romo, a QB due for a few good breaks in the campaign to come. With Romo directing the attack, Dallas could wield a truly exceptional offense in 2012.