Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowls as the second head coach in franchise history.
Unless Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones somehow falls and bumps his head between now and the conclusion of Sunday’s season finale in Philadelphia, a new regime will be announced in the coming days or weeks.
Everything about what Jones was quoted as saying following the Christmas Day loss at Arizona points to a different direction regarding the “audition” of interim head coach Jason Garrett.
As many in the press have pointed out, Jones’ stated anger following that game seemed a little out of place, if not simply for show.
What about the loss to the Cardinals was any worse than any other senseless loss to a beatable team that the Cowboys have racked up over the past few years? There was absolutely nothing, at least not on the field.
But there was something else.
I really get the feeling that Jones really wanted Garrett to succeed former head coach Wade Phillips as the franchise’s long term head coach. Yes, Jerry’s had to do some hiring and firing over the years and he probably only has himself to blame. And perhaps this is why Jones was kind of tweaked after the Cardinals game.
Jones seemed to realize Christmas evening that his idea of four years ago was officially dead. Sure, he should have realized this long ago but we get there when we get there.
Perhaps he finally accepted that Garrett is not Sean Payton, at least not yet anyway.
We all know who the most talked about candidates are to replace the Phillips-Garrett era and these include former NFL head coaches, assistants and coordinators and even a few names from college.
The former head coaches available, in a few cases, have won Super Bowls. But then again, nobody has ever won a Super Bowl in multiple cities.
This will obviously happen at some point but when? Jones is aware that you can overpay for yesterday’s success when it comes to bringing in outside personnel at any position.
I can’t see Jones going to the college ranks again, but this does not mean that he won’t. There are rumors surrounding a visit with Nick Saban in Alabama and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops seems to come up every time Dallas has had a head coach opening the last several years.
These options are too much of a gamble right now.
So, Jones has two options here: He can put the full court press on Bill Cowher, who is playing with all the leverage in this case, and it will be considered the biggest win for the Cowboys since either last year’s win over the Eagles in the postseason or the hiring of Bill Parcells in 2003.
But there is still a better way to go: Jimmy Johnson.
To start with, I’m not predicting that this will happen. I think it should, however, and it just might.
Jones has never been viewed in the light that he is these days. Success just hasn't happened in too many years for Jones to still be living off of what last happened in January of 1996, a Super Bowl win.
Attention is great up until it starts becoming negative and critical—nobody likes this.
And it is safe to say that Jones still takes most of the blame for Johnson’s abrupt departure following the second of back-to-back Super Bowls in the winter of 1994. I know that both parties had a hand in that mess but Jones was the guy charged with keeping America’s Team in the best of hands. He failed to do so and I don’t care what impact Barry Switzer made and chances are, neither do you at this point.
In fact, you can mark the beginning of the end of Dallas’ prestige, under Jones’ ownership mind you, with the hiring of a former college football coach that could not control that locker room either. Yes, Jones’ issues go all the way back there.
If not for so much talent still remaining on the roster upon Switzer’s arrival, this would have amounted to absolutely nothing.
So this is where Jones can fix everything, wins and losses aside. Jones needs to show up at Johnson’s place, Heineken’s in tow and invite him for a walk on the beach. Hey, Johnson loves the beach! Jones needs to show the humility I know he has and present the offer to complete a journey both of these men were on about 20 years ago.
And to those who think that Cowher or Johnson will not work for someone like Jones, please stop kidding yourself. The NFL is show business and it has never been bigger than it is now. Jones was able to pluck Johnson from the University of Miami at a time when Johnson certainly didn’t have to go anywhere.
And concerning Cowher and all this “power” some think Jones won’t give up, stop acting as though you have working knowledge of how Jones or Cowher operate. Jones has had an ego clash with only one head coach, Johnson himself. And this is issue Jones needs to fix.
There would be no bigger story in sports in 2011 than if this scenario happened. We know Jones likes to make a splash, right? This would be a tidal wave if I ever saw one, which I have not actually.
Johnson’s chair in the booth at FOX will be there when he’s done in Dallas, especially if he’s successful again. And Johnson realizes that he has never coached anywhere for more than about a half decade, so this probably would not become anything long term anyways.
Finally, Jones could also avoid having to rely on a previous Super Bowl winning head coach becoming the first to do it in multiple cities.