Garrett himself went to Jimmy to pick his brain about coaching. Sat at the feet of the master for 3 whole days. Drove Jimmy nuts. He just wanted to fish. Even Bill Belicheck heads down to Florida from time to time to pick Jimmy’s brain. Belicheck and Garrett both come from football pedigrees, and I am for football pedigrees. I believe in them as much as anyone in the world can. Regardless of how successful someone might be as a Head Coach at some level of football, they could turn out to be a fantastic mentor. Usually guys who get chances in Head Coaching jobs learn at the foot of a master. Whether that be their Dad, a college Coach, or an NFL coach, they have to pick it up somewhere. Very few people can come into football from professional baseball the way George Halas did and be great. Yet even Halas had football roots. He was MVP of the 1919 Rose Bowl as he scored the only 2 touchdowns of the game, one on Offense and the other on Defense.
So Tom and Jimmy both had that mentor appeal to them. I would argue that at Oklahoma Barry Switzer did have that. I don’t think he had it in Dallas at all. Barry wanted to be everyone’s buddy, especially drinking buddies. It rubbed players like Troy Aikman and Moose Johnston wrong. Troy was serious about football. It was his singular focus. Barry just wanted to be liked, and he knew Troy didn’t like him. I was told by someone from within the Cowboys organization that it was Barry Switzer who told Skip Bayless that Troy Aikman was gay. Barry assumed the conservative nature of the state of Texas would run Troy out of town. Instead, Cowboys Nation turned on Bayless instead of their 3 time Super Bowl winning QB. Big shock right?
So Bayless ran with a story spoon fed to him by Barry Switzer, and it cost him the job he to this day admits he loved the most, covering the Dallas Cowboys. Do you think Tom Landry would have done something like that to Roger Staubach? Let’s not forget that Roger’s scrambling nearly drove the conservative Landry nuts. He preferred Craig Morton over Roger early on. He felt like he could control Craig. I can’t see Tom Landry doing something to undermine a player.
But that happened with Barry and ultimately it cost him his team. Despite winning a Super Bowl in Dallas the lasting memories of Barry as Cowboys Head Coach will always be the gun at the airport, and the hot dog at the Pro Bowl. According to Moose Johnston, at that Pro Bowl, he and other Cowboys were trying to talk LB Chris Spielman into coming to Dallas via Free Agency. I loved Spielman as a player. I think he would have been awesome here. He wasn’t going to play for a man who was doing something that was clownish. It didn’t matter to Spielman that the Pro Bowl was an exhibition game. That tainted him from coming to Dallas. Right or wrong, Barry shot himself in the foot with that hot dog. Better that than the gun.