The memory of Jerry Jones reversing course on his vow never to fire a coach midseason is fresh enough that folks forget about the time he guaranteed Wade Phillips’ job security and stuck to his guns.
Not even a 44-6 flop in Philadelphia with a playoff berth at stake a few days later persuaded Jones to fire Phillips.
Once again, Jones has left himself no wiggle room with his comments about his head coach’s status entering a win-or-the-end finale against the Eagles. Some skepticism is certainly warranted with Jones’ comments Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan, but it’s a tremendous reach to assume he isn’t telling the truth.
Jones was just as adamant about Phillips in the final week of the 2008 regular season, when a pack of reporters surrounded him during practice in the team’s indoor facility. Jones became so frustrated with the line of questioning that he snapped, “You want to ask me what happens if this building blows down?”
Eerily enough, that building blew down during the Cowboys’ rookie minicamp the next spring. Phillips was still head coach, and he led the Cowboys to their lone playoff victory of the past 17 years the next postseason.
Jones desperately wants to believe that Garrett is the right guy to lead this franchise back to regular playoff success. It’s a hard case to make if the Cowboys go 8-8 and fail to make the playoffs in Garrett’s first three seasons.
However, Jones just has to convince the one-man jury he sees in the mirror, not the general public. He might not be politically correct in dismissing concerns about the potential of the fan base to become apathetic, but he’s absolutely right on that subject.
Jones was always going to look for reasons to retain Garrett. This is Jerry’s hand-picked head coach. Garrett, the son of a former longtime Cowboys scout, is a man Jones has had a relationship with since before his backup quarterback stint at Valley Ranch. He’s a guy Jones identified as a head coach in the making before that became a popular perception around the NFL, and then Jones fought to keep Garrett when other owners made offers.
Jones has a lot of time, money, emotion and ego invested in Garrett. The owner doesn’t want to give up on his head coach. Nothing would make Jones prouder -- or get him more credit -- than Garrett succeeding with the Cowboys.
Tony Romo’s injury might give Jones the reason he needs to justify Garrett’s return, regardless of Sunday night’s outcome. Maybe Garrett, whose return was guaranteed by his boss weeks ago, didn’t even need that after last week’s comeback win.
Jones has proved in the past that he couldn’t care less about conventional wisdom when it comes to keeping a head coach.