Cowboys give fans playoff tickets, not hope

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones, who ranks among the NFL’s best marketing men and worst general managers, has seemed determined to dial down expectations for the Dallas Cowboys during this training camp.

As if the longest playoff drought of Jerry’s ownership tenure hasn’t accomplished that already.

Jones refused to say the Cowboys had to improve their record – 8-8 in each of Jason Garrett’s three full seasons as a head coach – for Garrett to keep his job after his contract expires at the end of the season. Jones has repeatedly stressed how young this Dallas roster is, a pleasant way of saying the franchise is in a rebuilding process, at least on the defensive side of the ball.

Heck, we’ve gone more than a week of camp without Jerry saying “Super Bowl” in any context, words that are usually on the tip of his tongue as he puts on his promotions cap at this time of the year.

So it’s certainly surprising that Cowboys fans received playoff tickets with their season-ticket packages, a first in the NFL, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports.

It subjects the Cowboys to some ridicule, but it’s not as if it would be the first or worst playoff promise broken since Jones built his $1.2 billion football palace. Remember all those tickets sold for Super Bowl XLV for temporary seats that didn’t get safety clearance? At least disappointed fans won’t have grounds for a lawsuit in this case.

The easiest prediction in all of sports is that the most entertaining mediocre team in football will find a spectacular way to miss the playoffs. It’s happened the last three years in the final week of the season, when the Cowboys lost win-or-go-home de facto NFC East title games.

It's hard to believe that this season will be any better, with the Dallas defense in a state of disrepair and franchise quarterback Tony Romo coming off a couple of back surgeries.

The Cowboys might not be able to give their fans hope, but they sure can provide some cool souvenirs.