Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett certainly gave his team a spark as interim head coach, winning five out of the last eight games of the 2010 season after a dismal 1-7 start under Wade Phillips.
When called upon as Dallas’ back-up quarterback, Garrett provided similar results as a player. His career totals of 11 touchdowns and 2,042 passing yards aren’t stunning, but Cowboys purists will never forget Garrett’s second-half heroics against Green Bay in a 42-31 victory during the 1994 season.
In his ’94 Thanksgiving Day game story, Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News wrote that we would still be writing about that game in 2014. Here is a benchmark: Will we be writing about a Cowboys’ Super Bowl victory by 2014?
If the Cowboys still haven’t won a sixth world championship by ’14, Garrett’s most famous moment as a Cowboy will still be that ’94 Thanksgiving Day stunner at Texas Stadium, and he most likely won’t be head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Garrett was never a starter as a player, and until now, he has never been a “starter” as head coach.
The Cowboys haven’t been America’s Teamat any point in the previous decade. At times it seemed they were close. Bill Parcells brought credibility, and an undrafted nobody named Tony Romo was christened the next great Cowboys quarterback.
Parcells left the Dallas circus after the 2006 season before it mixed him with relish and mayonnaise and canned him. Romo will be 31 years old in April, and coming off season-ending surgery, he could be paired with some pretty good former Dallas quarterbacks 8212; like Don Meridith and Danny White 8212; but not the legends that helped define football eras 8212; like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
Garrett was a Princeton grad and on the quarterback depth chart in Dallas during its ’93 and ’95 Super Bowl seasons. He has unquestioned intelligence and an impressive head coaching presence 8212; Google search any of his press conferences. He knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl, he already did with America’s Team. A sixth Lombardi Trophy for Dallas is the only thing that will revive America’s Team and bring it to a level of popularity, nostalgia and profitability never before seen.
Garrett is the man for the job.
If you believe Mr. Jerry Jones, Garrett will have free reign to put the players and coaching staff in place to do just that. That starts with replacing former defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni.
Tough personnel decisions loom: What to do with running back Marion Barber, wide receiver Roy Williams, an aging offensive line and an underachieving defense that ranked 31st in total points per game in the regular season.
Even with all the negatives of the 2010 season, in Dallas’ three losses under Garrett, the Cowboys lost by a combined seven points. The Cowboys were a very bad team with a pretty good roster on paper.
The difference between 10-6 and 6-10 in the NFL is paper-thin, and the Cowboys proved that this season.
Garrett will have his chance to revive America’s Team as a starting head coach, just not an interim back-up. If 2014 comes and goes without a Super Bowl in Dallas, however, Garrett will have proved his role as a coach was only as effective as his role as a player.
Ryne Sulier is a senior journalism major from Plano.