Lists, lists everywhere you look. It’s the NFL off-season and it’s the time of the football year where everyone likes to put a “list” out. There’s a list of top 100 players, the top teams and recently there was a list of NFL hot seats for head coaches. Jason Garrett came in a #6. Anyone who thinks that pays no attention to the Dallas Cowboys.
Look at the history of Jerry Jones with Garrett and you’ll understand that Jason Garrett belongs nowhere near the top of that list. In 2007, Garrett was hired to be the offensive coordinator of the Cowboys before Wade Phillips was named head coach. And that was coming off just two seasons as quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins. In fact, there were reports that Jones was considering hiring Garrett as the Cowboys coach before turning to someone with more experience in Phillips.
Then in 2008, Jason Garrett turned down the opportunity to be the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, opting to stay with the Cowboys and becoming the highest paid assistant in the NFL. Garrett did the same to the St. Louis Rams in 2009, turning down their overtures to make him their head coach as well.
Why would anyone in the highly competitive NFL turn down not one, but two opportunities to become a head coach? Because Garrett wanted to become the coach of the Dallas Cowboys and he knew one day Jerry Jones was going to hire to him. That time came in the 2010 season when the Cowboys had quit on Wade Phillips and Jerry Jones turned to Garrett. After going 5-3 as the interim coach it appeared obvious that Jones was going to hire Jason Garrett on a full-time basis. In fact, there were really no other serious candidates. Think about it, big names like Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden were available but neither got a sniff for the Cowboys opening. Starting in 2007 Jerry Jones wanted Jason Garrett to be a life long Cowboys coach and in 2011, he made it happen.
Now one year into the Jason Garrett era, people think he’s on the hot seat because of one year of disappointment? Garrett made mistakes last season, no question about it. But let’s remember it was his first year as a head coach and mistakes were going to be made. There was a lockout and Garrett wasn’t able to prepare as well as he wanted. I know the 49ers, and others, didn’t seem to have trouble but Jim Harbaugh had experience as a head coach before being hired by San Francisco 49ers, Garrett didn’t.
Also the Cowboys were in the process of rebuilding last year and to not have the full off-season to implement change was a big issue. That rebuilding process has continued this season and you can see the Cowboys being reshaped in the image of Jason Garrett. Gone are the lazy, self entitled players and in are the hard working, leaders that Garrett loves. For instance, all seven of the Cowboys draft picks were team captains in college. You hear phrases like “hard worker,” or ”plays the game the right way” when Garrett described each player, that is exactly what Garrett wants.
The first year and a half on the job, Garrett has been gathering players who work hard and love to play football, something he says every time he speaks. He preaches accountability and making each day great. Whats even better is the players are buying into it. All off-season we’ve heard players like Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff talk about not talking about winning but working hard and letting their play do their talking, that’s Jason Garrett’s stamp on the team.
And after all of these things, after over five years of Jason Garrett putting his imprint and loyalty into the Dallas Cowboys organization, do you think Jerry Jones would break it down and fire Garrett anytime soon? Not a snowball’s chance in you know what that happens. Jerry Jones believes in Garrett and has given him the most amount of freedom to build the Cowboys since Jimmy Johnson. Yes, even more rope than Bill Parcells.
Jason Garrett isn’t going anywhere. Not now, not next year or anytime soon. Jerry Jones has become more patient than he’s gotten credit for and with that patience he’s gotten what he’s wanted all along; Jason Garrett as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Now and for a long time to come.