The Dallas Cowboys who once sat mighty high as a 1st seat team in their division, succumbed to the 5th seat Green Bay Packers. After being defeated again after 2014 by this same team…the Cowboys were yet again a disappointment, and that is an understatement(I cried real tears).

After having followed the Dallas Cowboys for so many years, and then for so many games each Sunday this season, I was hoping maybe this year I could look forward to something more than an early draft pick.

Contrary to seasons in the past, having a good position in the NFL draft for the Cowboys is not something I can find consolation for a sad season. However, I  can find a lesson from to apply in my busy upcoming week.

Here’s a little throwback to how the Dallas Cowboys became America’s team to me, a story of how capitalizing on opportunity is how to build a dream in America. (See Scorecasting-The Hidden Influences… By: Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Werthem for the citations)

Jerry Jones, the current owner of the Dallas Cowboys, graduated from University of Arkansas and made a lot of money on his oil-based company. His business gained ground when his company,  Jones Oil and Land Lease, explored many sites that larger oil companies did not see as worthy of investment. Due to his company being smaller and more agile, his company was able to accumulate enough oil to make a fortune, by frequently exploiting different sites instead of waiting for one big hit.

In February 1989, Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million, and he also bought the stadium. At one point, Jones was paying an interest rate of about $20,000 a week just to keep up with the team and the stadium’s expenses, especially while they were not doing well (the 1989 season record was 1-15). Jones had many naysayers at the time, his peers and family members kept telling him the Cowboys were not a worthy investment but he decided to consult a long time friend.

Mike McCoy was a minority owner of the Cowboys, and a buddy of Jones since they both worked in the risky business of oil exploration. McCoy, an engineer, came up with the NFL Value Draft Chart that proved to make the Cowboys into a estimated $2.3 billion dollar franchise today 3 championships later (1993, 1994, 1996).

McCoy looked to analyze patterns in past draft-day trades to make sure Jones was not overpaying for certain players who turned out to be a bust. (ie. Ryan Leaf :P, 2nd round pick 1998 draft). This quick reference sheet he made helped the owners and business men make the correct decision of players/cost in the 7-10 minutes (depending on which draft pick round they were on)

Here’s an example of the NFL Value Draft Chart:

(According to a basic chart, similar to the one McCoy developed, the first pick is worth 3,000 points)

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
1-3,000 33-580 65-265 97-112 129-43 161-27 193-14.2
2-2,600 34-560 66-260 98-108 130-42 162-26.6 194-13.8
3-2,200 35-550 67-255 99-104 131-41 163-26.2 195-13.4
4-1,800 36-540 68-250 100-100 132-40 164-25.8 196-13
5-1,700 37-530 69-245 101-96 133-39.5 165-25.4 197-12.6
6-1,600 38-520 70-240 102-92 134-39 166-25 198-12.2
7-1,500 39-510 71-235 103-88 135-38.5 167-24.6 199-11.8
8-1,400 40-500 72-230 104-86 136-38 168-24.2 200-11.4
9-1,350 41-490 73-225 105-84 137-37.5 169-23.8 201-11
10-1,300 42-480 74-220 106-82 138-37 170-23.4 202-10.6
11-1,250 43-470 75-215 107-80 139-36.5 171-23 203-10.2
12-1,200 44-460 76-210 108-78 140-36 172-22.6 204-9.8
13-1,150 45-450 77-205 109-76 141-35.5 173-22.2 205-9.4
14-1,100 46-440 78-200 110-74 142-35 174-21.8 206-9
15-1,050 47-430 79-195 111-72 143-34.5 175-21.4 207-8.6
16-1,000 48-420 80-190 112-70 144-34 176-21 208-8.2
17-950 49-410 81-185 113-68 145-33.5 177-20.6 209-7.8
18-900 50-400 82-180 114-66 146-33 178-20.2 210-7.4
19-875 51-390 83-175 115-64 147-32.6 179-19.8 211-7
20-850 52-380 84-170 116-62 148-32.2 180-19.4 212-6.6
21-800 53-370 85-165 117-60 149-31.8 181-19 213-6.2
22-780 54-360 86-160 118-58 150-31.4 182-18.6 214-5.8
23-760 55-350 87-155 119-56 151-31 183-18.2 215-5.4
24-740 56-340 88-150 120-54 152-30.6 184-17.8 216-5
25-720 57-330 89-145 121-52 153-30.2 185-17.4 217-4.6
26-700 58-320 90-140 122-50 154-29.8 186-17 218-4.2
27-680 59-310 91-136 123-49 155-29.4 187-16.6 219-3.8
28-660 60-300 92-132 124-48 156-29 188-16.2 220-3.4
29-640 61-292 93-128 125-47 157-28.6 189-15.8 221-3
30-620 62-284 94-124 126-46 158-28.2 190-15.4 222-2.6
31-600 63-276 95-120 127-45 159-27.8 191-15 223-2.3
32-590 64-270 96-116 128-44 160-27.4 192-14.6 224-2

The moral of the story is not how accurate this value chart is specifically, because after many other NFL owners adopted this same chart used by McCoy, the strategy behind the chart became inverted, and the other owners found other loopholes to counter this trade method.

The lesson to learn here is that given a small advantage for an opportunity to rebuild a team (early draft picks), with the constraints of limited time  (7-10 mins per pick), a strategy or system would be the best bet to recreate a championship team and recreate a great franchise.

This is the story I will be sharing with the executive board of my professional board at Purdue as we go into interviews this Wednesday night and pick our new board. I hope with this story they will be inspired to come to the interviews, armed with a reference sheet they create themselves (after all we are all engineers too), and an attitude of optimism. And after the “draft” we too can create an amazing board that continues to improve in the long run, like the Dallas Cowboys.

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