My first article on The Landry Hat was called The Education of Jerry Jones. In it, I argued that, since the 2010 season and Jason Garrett’s assumption to Head Coaching duties, Jerry Jones had become a more patient owner focused on his team’s long-term success.
I wrote that he had given up power to Garrett because he realized there was no one else to blame for his team’s misfortunes and saw he needed help. The team needed a new leader, someone with a vision.
Jones found that in Garrett, a coach who constanly talked about a process and getting better every day. Someone concerned about the long-term goals of the team.
While I believed this theory (and still do), as a fan there was always a concern in my mind that Jerry Jones would fall back to his old, meddling, ways if Garrett didn’t get the team fixed quick enough. Saying he wanted to be patient and consistent is one thing. Doing it in the face of mounting pressure and continued failure is another.
Jerry had shown more patience of late, but would he really let three straight 8-8 playoff no-shows slide? I didn’t think so.
But then something crazy happened: Romo was declared out for the season, buying Garrett a free pass until next year.
You see, Jones knows that this team lives and dies with Romo. Firing Garrett based off a season finale without Tony playing wouldn’t have been fair. Not to mention he likes Jason Garrett as a Head Coach. Jerry has one of the biggest egos in sports. He would like nothing more than his hand-picked head coach to succeed.
Now, I know many of you think this is terrible idea because you don’t like Jason Garrett as a Head Coach. And you’re welcome to that opinion. But I, for one, think it’s an outstanding decision.
Keeping Garrett means Jones is not giving in to popular opinion and is looking for consistancy and stability, two things that have been lacking for a long time with the Cowboys.
Of course, you could say the only thing the Cowboys have been consistent with under Garrett is finishing 8-8. Mediocrity has certainly been a reacurring theme.
But is three seasons really enough time to evaluate a head coach?
It wasn’t for Tom Landry.
I’m not old enough to remember the early days of the Cowboys, but Reddit user MushPuppy has been following the team for longer than most. He was kind enough to let me use excerpts from a comment of his. Click here for the original comment:
You may not realize that Tom Landry was castigated for years due to his purported inability to “win the big one”. Among the Cowboys’ early failures, in the late 60s they lost 2 straight NFL championships to the Packers, then were blown out 2 years in a row by the Browns, then lost what probably still ranks as the most mistake-filled Super Bowl in NFL history to the Colts. Then, one year after finally beating the Dolphins in Super Bowl 6, they were blown out in the NFC championship game by the Redskins.
Three straight years of 8-8, where Garrett has coached a profoundly under-talented team into competitiveness, is nothing compared to the number of times in the 70s/80s, when the Cowboys actually probably were consistently the most talented team in the league, when they still managed to lose far more big games than they won. The scores 21-17 and 35-31 probably are etched permanently into the minds of every Cowboys fan from that era. And remember: this team once lost 3 straight NFC championship games in the 80s.
This team, while over matched, played hard all year long while enduring an incredible slew of injuries and misfortune, causing them, inter alia, to play 19 different defensive linemen and constantly start rookies who’d been drafted as developmental projects and guys off the street on defense. Further, the OL, which played terribly for the past 2 years, actually was solid, due almost entirely to Callahan’s coaching. And the offense averaged 27.4 ppg.
The coaching job that prepared the Cowboys for that Eagles game was the best I’ve seen from the Cowboys maybe since 1985, when Landry, near the end of his career and at the height of his powers, coached an under talented team to 10-6.
I understand your frustration; believe me. I’ve been a Cowboys fan roughly twice as long as you. Some of the Cowboys’ losses over the past 3 years have been excruciating. And I won’t defend Jones. But Garrett’s got this team headed in the right direction. It is consistently competitive. And if Jones leaves him alone, he will develop this team into a playoff contender.
Thank you again, Mush.
A terribly timed injury for Romo has bought Garrett another chance to prove himself in the 2014 season. And that is what’s best for the team. Good franchises don’t change coaches every 3 years.
I understand fan resentment towards this. The Cowboys have been a let-down for a long time and, for some of us (myself included), our entire lives.
But I believe changing things up too often and constantly looking for “the missing piece” has been Jones’ worst problem in running this team for the past 17 years.
He is finally showing commitment to a long-term plan with Jason Garrett. Why would I want that to change?