Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson.
Let’s just say that he wasn’t his typically polite and charming self.
When asked later on about that claim, Garrett was his typically robotic and defensive self.
Given the reputation that Johnson gained as a head coach, from top to bottom, that’s a pretty humiliating comparison.
Sure, country clubs are nice. But they have never been known to be conducive to outstanding football practices or physical conditioning.
Johnson was the focus of a recent episode of NFL Network’s program A Football Life.
This was a great episode. At one point during this hour long-special, Johnson is seen lecturing the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. And let’s not confuse these Hurricanes with the ones coached by Johnson in the late 1980s!
Johnson really harps on physical conditioning as a means of conquering fatigue, which according to Johnson, makes us all weak. That is, after all, what fatigue is.
Johnson would sometimes refer to having an “ace in the hole” against opponents that either his ‘Canes or Cowboys would face. Sure, Johnson had lots of good football players, but the real truth is that he had lots of good football players in great shape. Those two go hand in hand.
This is why Johnson knew that Dallas would beat Buffalo when the two teams met in Super Bowl XXVII in Pasadena, California. He knew that the Bills had talent, but he knew they were much older and simply wouldn’t be able to handle the onslaught of youth and speed flying at them all afternoon and evening.
And he was right.
The Cowboys have been known for years to be a team that fades in the second half of both football games and seasons. I can’t think of a better indicator of fatigue than those two realities.
Things like this should emerge when you’re a team that works out at a...country club!
Back to that episode of A Football Life real quick. Johnson spoke about how the Cowboys just weren’t any good when he got there. Compounding the struggles of Johnson's one-win season season in 1989 was the fact that the NFC East was really good.
Johnson immediately began releasing players who would obviously not make the cut, and some of those players were big names. He mentions how Randy White came up to him after one of the first practices and hinted that he might not be able to always complete the activities demanded by Johnson and his coaching staff.
Johnson cut him. And, he released Ed “Too Tall” Jones too.
Players like this had gotten too used to the “country club” environment that had developed under Tom Landry. Of course these Dallas icons were getting up there in years, but the Cowboys were a soft team that everybody in the NFL had passed up. Period.
Garrett’s Cowboys aren’t old, but his Cowboys seem to get hurt rather often, and they fade when things count the most. We have seen this in fourth quarters over the past two seasons. We’ve seen it in several Decembers over the last decade or so. We’ve also seen it—almost as a rule—when seasons end with blowout losses.
Is Valley Ranch a country club? Well, if Johnson says it is...then I’m betting it is.
When Johnson says something about you it’s usually important that you listen. Whether Garrett listened to his former coach or not is anybody’s guess – although I’ll guess no – but the accusation is all that’s required to create a perception of truth. This phenomenon holds even when the truth isn't being accurately reflected but does so especially when it is!
So this is not a call for Garrett to tear down the country club environment and start cleaning things up. If he knew how to do that then the Cowboys wouldn’t be 3-5 heading into Philadelphia on Sunday.
Incidentally, should the Cowboys lose to the Eagles, Dallas will drop to 16-17 under Garrett as head coach.