People in Dallas have reason to believe Jon Gruden is going to replace Jason Garrett as the Cowboys head coach. After all, Jerry Jones is firing all of Garrett’s connections, stripping him of his play-calling duties, and meeting with Jon Gruden in Frisco.
To opine, it is media-fed speculation concocted to make this interminable off-season bearable. Nothing is going to come from it. In fact, Bob Sturm bet me that Gruden is coming to Dallas. Garrett is your coach for 2013. Deal with it.
Why journalism schools and media-writing courses in college don’t study the Dallas-Fort Worth sports media is beyond me. This “Gruden is replacing Garrett” myth is a textbook example of William Randolph Hearst’s news philosophy of shocking the public to sell newspapers.
Not to get highfalutin, but I remember learning about the four information biases in a “Media and Politics” class I took in the fall semester of my sophomore year of college. You can survey them yourself; I won’t bore you with the details. But it’s important to talk about this so you know where the Dallas-Fort Worth sports media is coming from. Their overall governing bias is the authority-disorder bias and always has been since 1989 when Jerry Jones bought the team. There were ceasefires from 1991-93 when Jimmy Johnson, who they mocked initially, turned things around and 2003-05, when Bill Parcells came to town, but all of the other 18 years have been told from the narrative that Jerry Jones is more meddling than Mystery Incorporated in a Scooby-Doo cartoon.
By the way, let me add this caveat. None of what I’m writing applies to Bob Sturm. He is one of the few members of the Dallas-Fort Worth media who either A) reports it as it is or B) calls it as he sees it. It’s why he’s the only one of the lot I follow on Twitter. Todd Archer is also worth a follow, but most of his articles get retweeted by my friends anyway. So what’s the point of following him?
Anyway, there are sub-biases that the Dallas-Fort Worth sports media use to promote certain stories. In the case of Jason Garrett, the bias they are employing is the fragmentation bias. They are purposefully ignoring the fact that every, single coaching hire has a connection to Jason Garrett just so they can frighten the schmuck out there and get another click on their websites. However, if you keep reading this article, I’ll show you the connections. Moreover, you’ll have no reason to be scared of the proposed He-Man/Child’s Play crossover snuff film, Chuckie Does Dallas.
- Monte Kiffin – This is obviously the big one that the media has spun to indicate Jason Garrett is a lone wolf amongst his own staff, that Jerry Jones is hiring coaches without input. Overtly, this evidence points to Jon Gruden’s entry to Dallas. However, Monte Kiffin may have had a strong hand in Gruden’s departure from the NFL. Furthermore, in 2004, Jason Garrett served as a backup quarterback before being cut. While his tenure in Tampa Bay was short-lived, it was enough that Garrett formed strong connections and gained a healthy respect for the other coaches. How else do you think Brad Johnson got to stay in Dallas with his obvious noodle arm?
- Rod Marinelli – This is more of a Kiffin hire than a Garrett one, but still has connections to Garrett nonetheless because Marinelli was on that 2004 Buccaneers staff. When Garrett went to Tampa Bay, it was Marinelli, not Kiffin, who served as assistant head coach. The fact Marinelli was promoted to assistant head coach in 2002, Jon Gruden’s first season, is a piece of evidence that could be used for fear mongering. But it is obvious Marinelli stayed in that Tampa 2 system wherever he went.
- Richard Bisaccia – Serving as the Buccaneers’ special teams coach from 2002-2010, Bisaccia was there for the entire Gruden tenure. However, he was there in 2004, when Jason Garrett served as backup quarterback. Also, Bisaccia served as the 2011 San Diego Chargers’ special teams coordinator under head coach Norv Turner. Therefore, Bisaccia is as much of a Garrett connection as anyone else.
- Derek Dooley – Tennessee’s former head coach has ties to the Nick Saban coaching tree, just like Jason Garrett. Dooley was Saban’s offensive assistant and special teams coordinator from 2000-04 at LSU and then followed his boss to the Dolphins in 2005. It is during the Saban era in Miami that Dooley and Garrett worked together as wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach respectively. Out of all of the other Garrett connections, Dooley worked with Garrett the most. If you’re keeping score, that’s 4 Garrett hires to 0 Jerry meddlings.
- Sam Gash – What a perfect name for a runningbacks coach. Overtly, he has no connections to Jason Garrett. Rather, his only connection to the current Cowboys staff is Rod Marinelli, because Gash served as Marinelli’s runningbacks coach during his stay in Detroit from 2006-08. But Gash stayed in his position when Jim Schwartz came to Motown and promoted Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator, who is still with the team to this day. It is through Linehan, who worked with Garrett in 2005 with the Dolphins as offensive line coach, that Gash has a connection to Dallas’ head coach.
Does that put things into perspective now? Jason Garrett is the driving force behind these hires. It is not a case of Jerry Jones preparing the way for Jon Gruden. It is a case of Jason Garrett preparing the 2013 Dallas Cowboys for a playoff berth. The least each assistant coach has accomplished is a winning season. These coaches are all part of the process.