Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) speaks with head coach Jason Garrett before the game against the Green Bay Packers at AT

Romo's Injury Buys Jason Garrett Another Year

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?

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Tags: Jason Garrett Jerry Jones Tony Romo

  • John

    Great point: Is the talent underachieving? No way. 8-8 was about as good as this team could hope to be the past three years. To remain competitive during a comprehensive roster rebuild – that’s good coaching.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    I agree completely with the article except I don’t think Jones would have fired Garrett even if Romo had played and lost. I have posted many times that playing musical chairs with coaches has been one of the things that has hurt the Cowboys. I have watched the Cowboys play since 1962 and I read all of the criticism about coach Landry. Coach Landry’s Cowboys ended up having 20 straight winning seasons…. Something that no other NFL team will probably ever duplicate.

  • Christian Blood

    Another year of Garrett, especially against next year’s opponents, is exactly what Dallas doesn’t need.

    Garrett may have the locker-room, but he doesn’t have natural leadership skills that great head coaches always have, whether they’re vocal or not.

    Garrett also lacks the fundamentals of football that include a defense that dictates games and an offensive that is in some way considered two-dimensional.

    Garrett would be great in the CFL though … or even an arena league or something.

  • Old Frog

    What do Wilson, Kaepernick, Smith, Luck, Foles, Newton, and Dalton have in common? They’re all in the Playoffs, younger than Tony Romo, don’t have a bad back, and make a lot less money. Food for thought JJ.

    • SharksBreath

      I’ve been saying it for years. It’s like the Cowboys act like they are stuck in a time machine. Romo is 28 instead of 33 and Garrett has only been here 3 years instead of 7.

      Far as QB. 34 year old QB’s don’t win Super Bowls. The last old QB to win was Elway. That’s F’n Elway. Manning may get one but we can’t compare Romo to Manning or Elway.

      We are done for the next 2 years. A QB that get’s hurt ever year while we are looking at another 2 years for Garrett.

  • Old Frog

    If anyone had said at the start of the season Ratliff and Spencer won’t play; Austin, Lee and Claiborne will miss half the season; Ware will miss games and only play at three-quarter speed; the defensive line will consist of 20 different players; and Jason Garrett will still find a way to win 8 games and lose 5 by a total of 8 points, everybody would have said no way – he’s not that good a coach; and yet that’s exactly what he managed to do. Bravo, Jason!

  • Charlie Anderson

    I have been a Cowboyfan since I was 9yrsOld. Sawmy first NFL Game vs theNYGiants and YA Tittle(who at the time was my idol). I was at the first Cowboy NFL Championship vs GreenBay. I was at the Washington Game,when Clint Longley came off the bench for Roger Staubach. & Won. I spent many a frustrating Monday Night Cowboy game. w/Frank,Don and Howard,including the “infamous 38-0 shellacking the StLouis Cardinals put on the Cowboys,which led to “DandyDon” to croon for the first time…”Call It A Night,The Partys Over”. I was one lone”CowboyFan” in the midst of My AF Buddies who were TowelWaving SteelerFans. I will Always Be A Cowboy Fan,thru Good 3 SuperBowl Wins in5yrs and the Bad, the Pre”Triplet Era”. It was the wish of Commisioner Rozelle for Parity in the NFL,Well 8-8 3 seasons in a row is pretty much Parity. I sum up this season this way, *8-8 is better than the other TXTeam,My 2ndfavorite team.but of course they do get the Top Pick in the Draft. A word to MrJones,You want to bring back some “Pizzazz to the Boys, Trade Up & Take the 21stc ,answer to Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath…..Draft “JohnnyFootBall”, Let Him learn the Pro game from Tony and Kyle,then whenthe timecomes or Tony’s health is an issue,Turn Him Loose.