The Dallas Cowboys came into the 2010-11 NFL season as one of the preseason favorites to come out of the NFC East and represent the conference in the Super Bowl...and become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home city.
Instead, they started the season flat on their face by losing back-to-back games against Washington and Chicago. Following an upset win over Houston, things went from bad to worse in the blink of an eye.
They dropped five in a row, fell to 1-7 for the season, and pretty much eliminated all hopes they had of making the postseason.
In two of those games (Tennessee and Minnesota), Dallas was tied in the fourth quarter only to let the game slip away. Against New York, they led 10-0 in the first quarter when Tony Romo broke his collarbone, and the Giants roared back to take a 38-20 lead before ultimately holding on to the win.
And in losses to Jacksonville and Green Bay, the team might as well not even have showed up.
Jerry Jones backed Wade Phillips publicly for most of the season, but a 45-7 debacle at the hands of the Packers was the last straw. The embattled coach was fired that week, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was promoted to interim head coach, and speculation ensued as to who Jones would look for to coach this talented roster in 2011.
But even without Romo, the team has played well enough under Garrett for Jones to warrant consideration in hiring him instead of a big-name coach like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. They went on the road to defeat the Giants and Colts, and if it weren't for a game-saving strip from Malcolm Jenkins vs. New Orleans, this team would be undefeated in their last four games.
How has Garrett turned the ship around and brought Dallas back to respectability? Let's take a look and see if he has a chance of staying on as coach beyond this season.