The long goodbye

As the regular season wound it’s way to a finish, it seemed inevitable that Jason Garrett would be losing his job. Well, not so much losing his job as not having his contract renewed – one of those rare occasions where an owner doesn’t actually have to fire the coach!

Garrett took over as head coach as the Cowboys in 2011 midway through a season after an uninpsiring stint with defensive genius Wade Phillips in charge. Owner, Jerry Jones, hoped that in Garrett they could mould a new Tom Landry, the legendary fedora wearing head coach who won two Super Bowls in 28 years as a coach of the Cowboys. It wasn’t to be and Garrett’s rein as coach can accurately be described as a bit ‘meh’.

Garrett’s record as coach will end at 85-67 and three playoff appearances. Not good enough for ‘America’s Team’ who have failed to reach the NFC Championship game now stretches to 23 seasons. Jerry Jones as owner and defacto GM had built a talented roster for the 2019 season but Garrett’s lack of daring and scheming in an era where offences are starting to become dominated by play callers such as McVay, Shannahan and Roman has been his undoing.

Many expected confirmation of Garrett’s demise to come five minutes after the end of the Cowboys last game. But the Jones’ (owner Jerry and his son, and presumed heir, Stephen) hold a significant level of respect for their head coach and have allowed him time to say goodbye to the team as well as meet several times with the Jones’. The content of these meetings will probably never be known. Mike Florio has suggested that the length of time to finally end his tenure shows a lack of respect but I disagree, he’s ultimately been given time for a graceful goodbye.

Does this hinder the Cowboys search for a new head coach by allowing potential candidates to meet other teams first? I doubt it. The lure of the fabled Dallas franchise is as strong as any other, if not more so. The Cowboys can be 1-15 with one game to go and would still draw larger than average TV viewership figures! As above, the roster that the Jones’ have put together has stars on both sides of the football. This won’t be a rebuilding process at all, it just needs a coach who can get the most out of this squad. Whoever is appointed needs to be as comfortable with the Jones’ being heavily involved in the team as Garrett was.

What next for Garrett? Towards the end of the regular season there was interest from the Giants, but for the sake of Giant’s fans I hope this isn’t true! I hope he takes some time to think about his next step, I don’t think he’ll get another head coaching role this time around but there’s probably a good chance for a role somewhere in the future where a franchise looking for a safe pair of hands.

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