Troy Aikman has proven highly successful in two realms of the NFL world. As a quarterback, he led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles before being enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2006. As a broadcaster, he is a member of Fox’s number-one NFL announcing team, pairing with Joe Buck and acting as the network’s lead analyst. With his Fox contract expiring at the end of the season, Aikman hinted to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News that he might like to add another job title to his NFL résumé — general manager.
“I think it is a challenge that would drive me competitively,” Aikman said of joining a front office. “I think I would be good at it. …But I am not naïve enough to think I could go from the broadcast booth to general manager without plenty of hard work.” Aikman, 48 in November, doesn’t have any experience as a scout, cap manager, or executive, as he joined the broadcasting world directly following his retirement from playing.
If he decides to pursue a general manager position, Aikman could look at the success of John Elway, another Hall of Fame quarterback who, like Aikman, lacked executive experience before taking over as the Broncos GM and leading his team to the Super Bowl. Elway, who added talented individuals like Tom Heckert to assist him in the day-to-day responsibility of managing a team, has generally proven to be a shrewd talent evaluator and personnel man.
On the other end of the spectrum is Dan Marino, who effectively took over as the Dolphins’ GM in 2004, but resigned the position just three weeks later. Many believed that Marino underestimated the difficulty of transitioning from a cushy broadcasting job to the grind of an NFL front office. The ex-Miami quarterback is once again working with the Dolphins, albeit in a non-football operations capacity.
Of course, speculation tying Aikman to the Cowboys’ GM gig would run rampant were he to formally declare his interest in pursuing such a role. Dallas is currently led by owner/general manager Jerry Jones — for years, critics have called for Jones to hire an actual, experienced GM to run the team. Aikman doesn’t have the background of a GM-type, but it would be interesting to see if Jones would consider him for a front office position if he expressed enthusiasm for such a job.