Remember when the Cowboys were so hot that Kellen Moore was already a head coaching candidate three games into his career as an offensive coordinator? Two games later, that talk has stopped.
Dallas has dropped back-to-back games to New Orleans and Green Bay, scoring 10 total points over the course of the entire Saints game and the first half against the Packers on Sunday.
So, now the pendulum has swung back in the opposite direction — is Jason Garrett’s job in jeopardy?
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan was asked about Jason Garrett being among the Vegas favorites of NFL coaches to be let go during this season: “Don’t bet any money on that happening, you’ll lose it.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 8, 2019
The situation with Garrett is interesting and cuts to the core of the palace intrigue surrounding The Star these days.
Garrett is in his ninth full season as the Cowboys’ head coach. He’s 80-59 in the regular season but just 2-3 in the playoffs, with both wins coming in the Wild Card round. In the bottom-line business that is the NFL, it’s rare to see a coach last a decade without reaching at least the conference championship round.
In fact, let’s take a quick look at all the NFL head coaches that have been on the job as long as Garrett and see what they’ve got in common:
— Bill Belichick, Patriots: 6 Super Bowl championships, 9 AFC titles
— Sean Payton, Saints: 1 Super Bowl
— Mike Tomlin, Steelers: 1 Super Bowl, 2 AFC titles
— John Harbaugh, Ravens: 1 Super Bowl
— Jason Garrett, Cowboys: 0 NFC championship game appearances
— Pete Carroll, Seahawks: 1 Super Bowl, 2 NFC titles
The reason Garrett has lasted this long is that Jerry likes Jerry’s Guys. Garrett is a former Cowboys quarterback and he’s been on the Cowboys’ coaching staff since 2007. In fact, Jerry hired Garrett as his offensive coordinator before he hired Wade Phillips as his head coach.
Jerry likes His Guys. He’s handed big-money extensions to DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Ezekiel Elliott in the past six months, and observers believe a similar deal for Dak Prescott is coming down the pike.
The math here isn’t hard to do. Jerry Jones is 76 years old, he hasn’t won a Super Bowl in nearly 25 years, his current team has a shot to end that drought — the Cowboys have reached the NFC divisional round in three of the past five seasons — and, thus, he’s going to keep doubling down and doubling down again on His Guys in a desperate attempt to win one last Super Bowl, this time without Jimmy Johnson’s players, and validate himself as a Football Man once and for all.
That’s the m.o. in the most valuable franchise in America’s most popular sport and has been for some time.
At the same time, Cowboys executive vice president and heir to the throne Stephen Jones assumes more control of the club’s day-to-day operations with each passing day, and team observers believe he’s the reason Garrett is currently coaching on the final year of his contract.
The chatter around Cowboys’ headquarters has long been that Jerry the Cowboys’ No. 1 Fan would’ve extended Garrett after last season, but Stephen the Cold-Hearted Realist is making Garrett sing for his supper.
“We’ve had some nice seasons where we’ve made the playoffs and won a game,” Stephen Jones told the Cowboys’ flagship radio station late last month. “We all know we want to take the next step and be playing for a championship.”
In the here and now, the Cowboys are 3-2. If they finally break through and reach the NFC Championship or beyond, Garrett will undoubtedly be back in 2020. If they miss the playoffs, well, that’s where things could get really, really interesting.