DALLAS -- Everywhere you look around Super Bowl XLV Jerry Jones can see signs of the last time the Dallas Cowboys won a Super Bowl.
A larger-than-life advertisement of Emmitt Smith is draped on one of the downtown buildings. Troy Aikman will call the game for Fox. Daryl Johnston answered questions at Media Day inside Cowboys Stadium. Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders were doing their part on NFL Network. Right tackle Erik Williams, using a cane, walked around Radio Row to reminisce. Even Oronde Gadsden, a practice squad wide receiver on that team, has been hanging around.
"It's getting to be a long time," Jones said. "It is a long time. Too long."
As the de facto host of Super Bowl XLV because of where the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are playing Sunday, Jones held a nearly 45-minute press conference Tuesday inside the Sheraton. Television cameras from local and national outlets lined the back of the room. Reporters from New York, Washington D.C., Tampa, Los Angeles and as far away as Denmark listened to Jones speak.
Earlier in the day Aikman, who delivered Jones those three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, said the Cowboys need to win another championship soon to remain an elite NFL franchise.
"Stadiums are important, but the most important thing is to win the Super Bowl," Jones said.
The Cowboys suffered through a miserable 6-10 season in 2010. Inside the Alamodome on the first day of training camp Jones said, "what's not to like," about the Cowboys.
Turns out there was plenty not to like. Jones fired Wade Phillips after a 1-7 start. Some players the Cowboys expected to build on good 2009 seasons, like Anthony Spencer and Mike Jenkins, regressed. Others that had played well for a few years, like Terence Newman and Leonard Davis, took steps back.
Jones said two head coaches of teams that beat the Cowboys in 2010 told him the personnel was among the best in the NFL, but Jones would not pinpoint all of the blame on Phillips or the staff.
"Certainly we didn't play, didn't coach, didn't general manage and didn't own up to our expectations," Jones said.
"We read our press clippings," Jones said. "I'm going to try to get our players to understand that real good."
As Jones and coach Jason Garrett plot the Cowboys' return to competitiveness in 2011 -- forget Super Bowl XLVI -- they will have the benefits of the No. 9 pick in the first round, the good feelings of the 5-3 finish under Garrett and the return of Tony Romo from a broken collarbone. But plenty of questions remain on how to fix all that needs to be addressed.
The roster will not be blown up, but it will not stay the same either. The return of the salary cap will mitigate some of what the Cowboys -- and every team -- can do.
"The right question would be: Are you going to have key players back?" Jones said, "and usually your contracts dictate a lot of that."
It's early February and Jones does not have all the answers. No owner or general manager would. His dream of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium long since dashed, Jones has gotten over the disappointment.
This week he is more interested with being a good host. Next week he will get back to making sure the Cowboys are closer to playing in a Super Bowl for the first time in 17 years in 2012.