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The primary reason Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is because of his 1990s dynasty in which the team won three Super Bowl titles from 1992-95. 

One of the biggest drivers in those teams' successes was Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leader in rushing yards (18,355) and rushing touchdowns (164). Smith is like many Cowboys fans today, disillusioned with the state of affairs surrounding Dallas following its 48-32 wild card round loss to the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers despite having the NFC's second seed and home field advantage.

"Our team just simply seems to be lost," Smith said of his Cowboys on CBS Sports' "Maggie and Perloff" radio show on Thursday from the Super Bowl radio row in Las Vegas. "I just cannot put my finger on why it looks so, so bad."

Many fans of the team wanted head coach Mike McCarthy fired for that faceplant after McCarthy's Cowboys became the first team to win 12 games in three straight seasons and fail to make the conference championship in any of them after losing three of their four postseason games in this run. However, Jones decided to retain his head coach, whose 42-25 (62.7% win percentage) regular season record gives him the highest career win percentage of any coach in team history. 

That record made Jones confident enough to say in a statement that, "This team is very close and capable of achieving our ultimate goals, and the best step forward for us will be with Mike McCarthy as our head coach."

When co-host Andrew Perloff asked Smith why he thought McCarthy was retained for the final year of his Cowboys contract, he made it very clear he and Jones do not see eye to eye on this subject.

"Because I'm not the GM," Smith said. "To be honest with you, I thought that move would have been made because of how bad it looked."

Smith believes Jones and the Cowboys are prioritizing style over substance when it comes to Dallas' on-field results, citing an apparent mental block in between the franchise and postseason success. 

"I think our team and organization right now give the appearance of becoming a great organization and being a great team," Smith said. "They sell everybody on it every year. Selling people on it and then getting ratings around it is something that is important. I think there are things that much more important than all of the hype. I've never known the Cowboys organization to be a hype organization, but I think overall when you look at our teams, we make the playoffs. We look like we are capable of going all the way, but we don't. For some reason, I think that's a mental block. I think it's part of preparations of players not meeting the challenge and the expectations of becoming great and establishing your dominance as an individual player or as a group of men. I don't see that consistently from our team and our organization." 

Following the team's latest postseason stumble, quarterback Dak Prescott's playoff record of 2-5 as the Cowboys' starting quarterback is tied for the worst in NFL history among those with at least five playoff starts along with Alex Smith (2005-2020) and Billy Kilmer (1961-1978). Smith said the 2023 regular season's passing touchdowns leader (36) needs to improve his preparation, and he used what happened in the Cowboys' narrow 20-19 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 17 as the example for his point. 

"I think it's preparation," Smith said when asked why Prescott hasn't been able to help lead the Cowboys past the divisional round of the playoffs. "I can only point to one game, and this to me sums it up for me. ... We're playing Detroit in Dallas. It's a heck of a game. We actually take the lead [17-13 after Prescott threw an eight-yard touchdown to Brandin Cooks with 7:20 left in the game]. Detroit is driving to try to come down and score to get the lead back. We pick the ball off [safety Donovan Wilson intercepts Jared Goff with 2:13 left to play at Detroit's 26]. 

"It's about three minutes left, and I think they are almost out of timeouts, if not out of timeouts they will be. All we have to do is just milk the clock. Instead, guess what? We throw the ball three straight times [after a gain of seven on a first-down run play by Tony Pollard is negated by a tripping penalty]. How smart is that? Absolutely hideous. All you have to do is run the rock or take a knee. I don't care. When you throw the ball the third time and the quarterback throws the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, he doesn't even take a sack. That says to me either he was not prepared properly or he forgot he was playing the game."

To be fair to Prescott, it appeared as though he was simply running the plays McCarthy called on that drive, which ended in a 43-yard Brandon Aubrey field goal to put Dallas up 20-13 with 1:45 left in the game. The head coach said as much postgame that day.

"The thing there is we're trying to put it away," McCarthy said. "I mean, obviously you call plays you feel good about, but you know first down was a struggle for us all day. I can't tell you how many second-and-longs we had, and the penalty we had on first down I got to see it. I'm trying to still get in striking distance on third downs, that was the thought."

Smith clearly disagrees with McCarthy's thoughts on the end-of-game play-calling from that game, just like he disagrees with Jones on bringing McCarthy back in 2024.