It’s been nearly a week but the Dallas Cowboys finally did the thing many of us had been expecting them to do, fire Jason Garrett. Garrett spent nine seasons with the Cowboys, and despite many believing he should’ve been fired years ago, he remained on the job.
What happened in Dallas for the past week was a bit of a mess. Owner and GM Jerry Jones strung Garrett along by having constant meetings with him and interviewing potential head coaches while Garrett hasn’t been fired. Meanwhile, Garrett had been reportedly campaigning for his job and, if this makes any sense to anyone, let the Cowboys fire him.
The Dallas Cowboys are the kind of dysfunctional team that would be great to watch on TV but may think twice to want to have anything to do with them. For coaches like Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis, who are reportedly being interviewed, this might be a great move but one should look at the potential downsides of joining the Dallas Cowboys.
Before getting into the downsides, there is an actual upside in becoming the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. As controlling as Jerry Jones is, one thing he does do is give his head coaches a chance. In this day and age where coaches are fired too soon, Jones has a history of not doing that, even at the risk of giving too much time. Since Jones took over ownership and fired Tom Landry in 1989, there have only been seven other head coaches. Seven coaches in 30 years, for a team who has only won four playoff games since 1996, is abnormal in sports today.
That being said, one major downside is Jerry Jones’ need to control everything. Granted he said this when he was with the Patriots, but Bill Parcells’ quote about the person cooking the dinner should have a say in buying some of the groceries applies to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. Jones played football in college so that’s more than what other NFL owners have done but the majority of those owners know enough to stay out of the way and let the people they hired to make football related decisions to do their jobs. Those owners who don’t do that *cough* Dan Snyder *cough* usually do more harm to their teams than help.
Jones at least has the credentials of three Super Bowl titles but that was 25 years ago. In a “what have you done for me lately” atmosphere, the Cowboys perpetually just aren’t good enough and the constant throughout this past quarter-century is Jerry Jones. That didn’t change before Jason Garrett, it didn’t change during Jason Garrett, and it won’t change with the next guy in charge.
In addition to not really being in control of the team, the head coach of the Cowboys will be one of the most scrutinized head coaches in the NFL no matter how the team does. It’s one thing to be scrutinized in the football obsessed state of Texas but the Cowboys are constantly talked about on the debate shows and NFL discussion shows. We can debate whether or not they are “America’s Team” but the Cowboys are, for better or worse, the center of NFL discussion more often than not. If the new coach is Mike McCarthy or Marvin Lewis or someone else, Dallas will be a different beast than Green Bay or Cincinnati.
For coaches like McCarthy and Lewis who are looking for work, well as they say “Beggars can’t be choosers.” For all the downsides the Cowboys head coaching job has, it is a job and when being an NFL head coach is something that only 32 people can have at a time, maybe there is value to taking the Cowboys job. Just know that like any prospective job, know what you’re getting yourself into.