Dallas Cowboys: Will Jason Garrett Be Jerry Jones’ Last Head Coach?
By Freddy Blair
With Jerry Jones now at 68 years old, how long will his zest for the Cowboys day to day operations continue?
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When Jerry Jones chose Jason Garrett to “an offensive position to be named later” in 2007, he set in motion a chain of events that he had hoped would one day lead to Garrett becoming the long-term head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, with Garrett filling the role that Jones had once hoped to see him in, one has to wonder if this is the last hurrah for Jerry Jones as the active owner/GM of the Dallas Cowboys.
With a four-year deal that guarantees Jason Garrett employment until 2015, by the time that his contract runs out, it will likely be Stephen Jones that will be running the team by that date.
At 68 years of age, the strain and frustrations that have accompanied the repeated humiliations that his Cowboys have suffered are certainly taking their toll on Jones.
If Jason Garrett succeeds, his success will carry Jerry Jones well into his 70′s. And if Garrett fails, the frustrations of over 15 years of futility could very well signal the end of Jerry’s desire to run this once proud franchise.
He has certainly seen his share of frustrations following near immediate success as the Cowboys owner.
After purchasing the Cowboys at the end of the 1988 season, Jones replaced the legendary Tom Landry with a then upstart collegiate coach named Jimmy Johnson. Johnson quickly turned the Cowboys into a dynasty, winning two Super Bowls before tensions between himself and Jerry Jones resulted in him leaving the team.
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Since then, the Cowboys have won only one Super Bowl, largely due to the nucleus left in place from the Johnson era, and the coaching that has followed Johnson has been sporadic at best.
In 2003, Jerry Jones hired Bill Parcells to once again rebuild the Cowboys. In four years, Parcells had developed a team capable of making a run deep into the playoffs, but could never win a playoff game.
Then in 2007, Parcells retired. He moved to Miami and became the general manager for the Miami Dolphins. Jones replaced him with Wade Phillips, selecting Phillips over Norv Turner, the former offensive coordinator for the Cowboys from the Jimmy Johnson era.
Neither Phillips nor Turner had been able to successfully lead a team to a Super Bowl or even deep into the playoffs as a head coach; however, both were at the top of their trade as coordinators in the NFL.
Jones chose defense over offense, making Wade Phillips the next head coach of the Cowboys and appointing an untested Jason Garrett to run the offensive side of the team. The Cowboys responded with a 13-3 season and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but lost in the first round at home to the New York Giants.
But the next three years were bittersweet as the Cowboys stumbled to a 9-7 record in 2008, eliminated from playoff contention by a 44-6 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2009, the Cowboys won the NFC East and appeared to be the leading team in the NFC after defeating the previously unbeaten Saints in Week 14 of the regular season.
But 2009 would again end in disappointment with the Vikings pounding the Cowboys in Minnesota, 34-3. Even at that it appeared that 2010 might well be the year that the Cowboys could once again claim their rights atop the NFL. Fresh off of their first playoff win in 14 years, the Cowboys surely could make a run in 2010.
But 2010 was a disaster, and after a 1-7 start, Wade Phillips was replaced by Jason Garrett. Now, as preparations for the 2011 season begins, Jerry Jones has endorsed his fourth coach in the past 10 years.
One has to feel some sort of sympathy for the embattled owner/GM of the Cowboys, as each time he has arranged for the brightest stars in the league to lead the Cowboys back to the top, it has been the coaching that has been the Achilles heel of this proud franchise.
And now, as Jones and young Jason Garrett look to the future via Garrett’s four-year contract, it’s quite possible that Jerry could have more at stake than ever before.
For it is not only the legacy of the Cowboys that is in danger with the silliness of what this team has personified, but it may well be the last chance for one of the finest owners in sports to reclaim the glory that he once shared with Jimmy Johnson in the early days of Jones’ ownership of the Cowboys.
For Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, here’s to hoping it works out for you. Because if it works out for you, America’s team will once again be where they are supposed to be.
At the top.
That’s the bottom line.