Ever since Jerry Jones fired Jimmie Johnson as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1993, the owner has basically wandered around like a lost soul devoid of a positive personality for his team. Though the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl two years after Johnson left, 70 percent of the starting lineup in 1995 was brought in by Johnson with Jones.
While Jerry Jones does an excellent job in the draft, as well as signing undrafted rookies, he has had a hard time picking the right coach for the head coaching job since Johnson departed. Though he had decent success with Barry Switzer, the man who succeeded Johnson, it has been a roller coaster ride since.
One theory is that Jones ran out of schoolyard chums to do the job. Johnson, Switzer and Jones were all teammates on the 1964 national champion Arkansas University football team.
Already reviled forever by some Dallas fans as the man who fired Tom Landry and Tex Schramm, two Hall of Famers who built the Cowboys into "America's Team," has gone with five different head coaches since Switzer left after 1997.
The fifth head coach is the most dubious choice out of the lot, worse than picking Dave Campo who is the only Cowboys head coach to never have had a winning record in a season or appeared in a playoff game.
Promoting Jason Garrett from offensive coordinator to head coach was laughed at by most of the league.
Garrett, considered one of the worst offensive coordinators in the NFL by many, is a favorite of Jones. Garrett joined Dallas as a third-string quarterback in 1993 with a weak arm and having already bounced around with three teams in three separate leagues. He sat on the bench until 1999, starting nine games whenever Hall of Famer Troy Aikman got injured.
After departing Dallas after 1999, he sat on the benches of three teams until 2004 where he retired as a Miami Dolphin. He stayed in Miami as quarterbacks coach until 2006.
Jones was so impressed with the job he did on such legends like Joey Harrington and Cleo Lemon, he hired him as the offensive coordinator in 2007. He was promoted to assistant head coach the following year after the Cowboys had the second-best scoring team in the league.
Since that promotion, the results have been mixed to mostly poor. Garrett seemed intent on trying to prove he was some sort of offensive genius, choosing to pass much too often.
When Dallas won, they usually were led by the run. Garrett ignored this trend, putting his ego first. The scoring dipped to 18th best in 2008, 14th best in 2009 and now is the sixth-best scoring team in the NFL this season.
Reason for that improvement was the rediscovery of the running game, which was forced when starting quarterback Tony Romo went down for the year in the sixth game of the year. Garrett had been ignoring the run up until this point, a big reason why Dallas was 1-7 when Jones fired Wade Phillips as the head coach.
As soon as Garrett was promoted, he started running the ball suddenly. Dallas has gone 4-3 under Garrett, with three losses by a combined seven points. Some think Garrett purposely sabotaged Phillips with horrid play calling, because they find it hard to believe Garrett suddenly smarted up upon promotion.
What Jerry Jones has it a love for the Garrett family. Jim Garrett, the patriarch, was a Cowboys scout from 1987 to 2005. Three of his sons are employed by Jones, with Jason as the head coach, John as the tight ends coach and Judd as a member of the front office. This type of loyalty has been viewed upon a nepotism by some.
Word comes from Texas journalists that Jones is going to retain Garrett as the head coach in 2011. It helped Garrett's cause that the Cowboys get broadcast mostly on the Fox network, which employs three former teammates of Garrett's prominently. All have obviously gone on the airwaves pushing for their friends permanent hire.
The problem with this hire is the Cowboys telling the world they not only accept mediocrity, they embrace it. Garrett could finish his first year at .500 with a team many expected to challenge for a division title. It also belies the message Jones sent out over the holidays on television.
Jones claimed Dallas was going to make sure they had the right man as head coach in 2011. These types of processes are usually done after the regular season ends and the job seekers are all considered. It is also interesting to note that Jones would ignore the Rooney Rule by neglecting to interview at least one African-American for the job.
Jumping the gun on the incompetent Garrett so soon speaks volumes and should add the the number of Jerry Jones critics who think the owner is more interested in getting his surgically altered face on a screen so folks feel like he is in charge of every aspect.
Another Al Davis wanna-be without the resume to back up his ego. The only way for him to make the full trip is to actually be the head coach instead of some yuppie overlord up in deluxe box seating.
What is best for the Cowboys is to get someone with experience who understands the defense needs major overhauling while still trying to upgrade the offensive line. Not necessarily defensive minded, but truly experienced. These types of candidates will not appear for a few weeks as both college and pro teams end their seasons.
Gambling that an inexperienced guy with an extremely inconsistent and checkered career is a Super Bowl-caliber coach is a huge risk that could waste the talent on the roster now and haunt the franchise for decades. Jerry Jones needs to man up and get tougher. Even if it means the Garrett family has their feelings hurt in the end.