VALLEY RANCH -- A commonly-cited definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

You won't actually find that on the Merriam-Webster website, but we've heard it a lot in sports. And it's not insane to apply that definition to the Dallas Cowboys.

8-8 in 2011, 8-8 in 2012, 5-5 this year. 133-133 since the start of the 1997 season.

It's perfect mediocrity.

But the Cowboys aren't doing exactly the same thing every week - or every year -and expecting a different result. There have been changes, but nothing has worked.

The team made major changes to its coaching staff in the offseason, hiring Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach, plus giving Bill Callahan the play-calling duties previously held by Jason Garrett.

Those are big changes, even if they haven't produced the desired results.

The Cowboys have made changes on the defensive line all year -- not because they've wanted to, but out of necessity. Every week someone else gets hurt, and every week (it seems) a new guy comes in from off the street to play a significant role.

Tony Romo has changed the way he has protected ball this year. His 21-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio is bettered only by Peyton Manning and Drew Brees (among quarterbacks who have started all their team's games). But he ranks third in the league in attempts, just like he did last year when we all thought the Cowboys threw the ball way too much.

The one constant since this run of incredible mediocrity began is, of course, Jerry Jones. He has been owner and GM since 1989, as he was during those three Super Bowl seasons in the 90s, and as he's been since the Cowboys have won exactly as many games as they've lost since September of 1997.

Until that changes, it's hard to expect anything to change on the field. And it won't change -- Jones has made that clear on several occasions.

So on one hand, it's not even worth talking about. On the other hand, how do you not talk about what's probably the No. 1 reason why this team has been running in place for 17 seasons?

A 133-133 record since 1997. That is insane.


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