For the moment, Jerry Jones willingly gives up some control
By Randy Galloway
Upon further review, and after doubting Red J while also predicting more buffoonery from Jerry Jones, I have officially overturned the column that appeared in this space 72 hours ago.
But who knew?
Jason Garrett, of course, was going to be the head coach of the Cowboys. That had been obvious for a week.
But when the official announcement did come Thursday, who could have guessed Garrett would also become Jerry’s new love child?
Look at you, Red J.
All that coaching power.
Garrett, as decreed by Mr. Jones, the Valley Ranch boss of bosses, can name his entire coaching staff, and do it all by himself.
And then Jerry, going sideways crazy with newfound benevolence for a head coach, also bestowed on Jason full control over the entire 53-man roster.
Granted, it was a media conference scene that shut us all up, or at least there was about a minute of stunned silence before the next question surfaced:
“Is Jerry lying?”
Before you say or think, “yes,” consider the facts.
Nobody knows if we were hearing the truth, but at this moment, I will vouch for Jerry. I think he was telling the truth as he sees it right now.
But later this week? Two weeks from now? Two months from now? Hold all bets on that, because with Jerry, we’ve got no track record (since Jimmy A.D.) of Jones ever getting it right with a head coach.
Do a Father Time moment on this situation:
Jerry started 22 seasons ago with Jimmy as his head coach. It was obvious that Jimmy was in charge of all things football, until the egos went nuclear, and then those egos blew.
With Jimmy gone, Jerry made sure there would never be another Jimmy. Jerry promoted himself to Football God.
Except, of course, in the 17 years since, there was Bill.
But Bill has to be placed in a totally different category than Barry, Chan, Dave, Wade and now Jason.
Bill did have almost full power, but he’s also given what is known as the “Big Yard Exemption.”
The Cowboys were coming off a three-peat of 5-11 seasons at the same time Jerry was planning to build the best sports venue in the world.
Jerry, at this lowest moment of his ownership regime, needed the Parcells name to sway voters into pulling the “yes” lever.
Once the vote passed, Jerry quickly lost interest in Bill, even though the Parcells name helped build the Big Yard.
Returning to a comfort level, Jerry hired his perfect head coaching model. Wade.
But now along comes Jason Garrett, and under the circumstances of this hire, we’ve never seen Jerry show this kind of initial, upfront respect for a head coach.
If nothing else, the mere fact a head coach of the Cowboys (not named Johnson or Parcells) can now pick his own assistant coaches is a monumental give-up on Jerry’s part.
But what if Garrett is not a 3-4 defensive scheme advocate? Can he overrule Jerry on that?
When it comes to the draft, who has the final say? Is it Garrett?
(I doubt it on the draft. Jerry will maintain the final say. That’s never good, but the draft should always be about collective thinking, meaning scouts combined with coaches, with Jerry being only the front man for the ESPN war-room cameras.)
Tom Landry, by choice, only wanted a say on the first-round pick. Then he left the draft room. Bill did not have the final say in the draft. Jimmy did, but that was some two decades ago.
From Garrett’s standpoint, he had a wise answer to the media when asked about his “new power.”
Red J: “I do not want sole decision-making power over everything. There’s a reason you have staffs. There’s a reason you have personnel departments… you come to conclusions together.”
Bingo. That’s the way a football organization should work in most every area. There should always be an obscure assistant coach who can talk the New England brain trust, including Bill Belichick, into taking a sixth-round plunge on a quarterback named Brady.
But after you put a Parcells in a different category for Big Yard reasons, there hasn’t been a head coach here since Jimmy who was considered his own man.
In a shock-me moment, Jerry gave that authority to Jason last week.
Was he lying? Don’t think so. At least not when he said it. Excuse me, however, for doubting Jerry can go long term in backing away from his power trip.
Garrett, he’s a Princeton guy. Shouldn’t Princeton guys know to get all promises from Jerry in writing?
Until hard evidence starts to surface, and it eventually will, I’ll tentatively take Jerry’s word for it, and therefore, the Garrett hire has been elevated immensely from what I thought it was last week.
Any head coaching move that can prompt Jerry to publicly say what he said, that is a great hire. By those Jones words, the position of head coach at Valley Ranch is now one with locker-room respect and power.
Let’s hope Garrett is ready to use that power. In fact, in dealing daily with Jerry, it’d be OK if he even abused it.
Jerry has abused his power for 15 years. Why not Jason?
Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.