If Troy Aikman was a pot of water, it appears he reached his boiling point with the Cowboys following their Week 9 loss on Monday Night Football.
Aikman's frustration bubbled over Tuesday morning during his weekly appearance on 1310 The Ticket as he bluntly provided his take on what he now sees as a "dysfunctional" organization in Dallas. Spoiler: It includes a suggestion for owner Jerry Jones that includes more than just making a coaching change to fix the 3-5 team.
"I don't think, where (Jones) is at right now, that he wants to go through another regime change," Aikman said, per The Dallas Morning News.
"I think he's very comfortable with Jason (Garrett). I do believe he respects Jason and he's hoping like crazy that good things will happen here down the stretch so that a change doesn't have to take place.
"But I think the one thing Jerry has done over the years, whether it's accurate or not, I think Jerry has done things after seasons to at least give a fan base hope going into the following year. And that will happen again this year, whether that ultimately means the head coach, a change there, or something else."
Something else would mean a change above the head coach, which is where Jerry Jones' son, Stephen, sits, and doesn't seem likely. But Aikman provided sound reasoning for his take.
"Go through the list and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it's been," Aikman said. "It hasn't always mattered who the head coach has been. So to me, if you're asking me, I'd say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization. You can't just can't simply replace head coaches and say, 'Now it's going to be better.' No, it's been shown that it's not better. And you have to address how everything is being done."
Complete overhaul? That would be earth-moving stuff from the Cowboys, who have maintained their power structure above the coaching staff for quite some time, starting with the most visible owner in the NFL.
"And there's been times where I've heard Jerry say, 'OK, look, we're going to do it differently. I'm going to do it differently.' But it's the same," Aikman said. "Nothing changes. And that to me is the bigger issue, beyond, 'Yes, coaching's important, personnel, all those things are important, but how are you going about evaluating? How are you going about running the organization?"
The names of Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips come to mind. Each experienced varying levels of success and failure. None produced a championship.
All the while, Jerry Jones has run operations, from an ownership and personnel standpoint, bringing in his son along the way as COO, executive VP and player personnel director. It sparked a resurgence in 2016 with a seemingly bright future ahead, but hasn't lived up to the billing since. Monday night's 28-14 loss, to a Titans team that appeared lost at sea prior to Week 9, was the latest setback.
Meanwhile, fresh off the loss which Aikman called "terrible" (and one in which Dak Prescott accounted for two turnovers), Jerry Jones reaffirmed Dallas' commitment to the quarterback. The Cowboys don't have much else of a choice, seeing as they just shipped out their first-round pick for receiver Amari Cooper.
Aikman pointed to that as a prime example of why he thinks the Cowboys are in need of a change at more than just the head coaching position.
"There was a belief that what they had at the wide-receiver position was plenty and that they could use guys in a lot of different ways," Aikman said. "That didn't pan out the way that they hoped. They spent a first-round pick in order to bring in Amari Cooper because they acknowledge that they made a mistake."
"When you make those changes, it's not seamless. It basically is an admission that, you know, 'We're screwed up.'"
Dallas managed to quell last season's disappointing result by pointing to the absence of Ezekiel Elliott, but that can't be said about this campaign. There have been some problems with the offensive line, though that hasn't completely hindered the play of Elliott. A coach (Paul Alexander) has already lost his job as a result.
But when evaluating what to do in Dallas, the target again falls on the back of Garrett, a former teammate of Aikman's whose leash has been rather long. As Aikman said, Jones is comfortable with Garrett -- but comfort doesn't always produce success. Right now, it's producing a team that floated to 9-7 last season and appears headed for worse in 2018.
"I talk to people who have been inside the building and have a pretty good understanding of how things are run, and in a lot of ways there's a lot of dysfunction," Aikman said. "And that has to change if this team is going to be able to compete on a consistent basis like the teams you look to around the league that seemingly are in the hunt each and every year."
Dysfunction, a lack of accountability and fleeting success once sent Aikman into retirement earlier than expected. He's familiar with how things can go south in Dallas. How that affects the current regime, though, remains to be seen.