It was announced Tuesday that Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan will assume play calling duties for the team in the 2013 season. Callahan takes over for head coach Jason Garrett, who called plays for the team from 2007 through the end of last season. Garrett has been much maligned for his inability to call a balanced offensive attack throughout his tenure, and thus not maximizing the Cowboys’ offensive potential.
The Cowboys hope that Callahan can change that.
However, it does bring forth a whole new pressure for him to meet the expectations of owner Jerry Jones, who is never one to mince words with the media regarding player and team performance. It may take him a while to see that things aren’t working out, but when Jones does see that, he acts quickly, as Wade Phillips can attest to after being fired in the middle of the 2010 season.
Callahan’s experience at the helm calling plays dates back to his days as the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders, where he began in 1998. His tenure there included a Super Bowl appearance in 2003 – a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as well as guiding the Raiders offense to no worse than eighth in the NFL in points per game during his time there.
Callahan most recently, prior to the Cowboys of course, was the head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers from 2003-2007. But he also came under fire from former Raider wide receiver Tim Brown, who claimed that Callahan sabotaged the offensive game plan in that Super Bowl 37 loss to Tampa Bay, saying that Callahan told the team the strategy was to run the ball with backs Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley – however, the actual game plan that Callahan employed yielded a pass first strategy. Brown also received support on his claim from Jerry Rice, who agreed that Callahan may have helped Buccaneer head coach Jon Gruden – a friend from their days in Oakland – win his first and only Super Bowl.
So as it stands, being the center of attention and in the middle of controversy is nothing new to the Cowboys’ just anointed play caller. He most definitely was thrust right back into the spotlight, though, by being tagged as the offensive man in charge by Jones on Tuesday.
There will be no sabotage allegations this time of course, but there will be for Callahan the pressure cooker that is calling plays for the Dallas Cowboys in an offense that in many people’s eyes failed to reach its full potential with Garrett at the helm.
It will be interesting to see the results Callahan yields with all the pressure on him and with Jones having a very watchful eye on his every decision.