Odds are that you have been fired from some type of job in your life. Maybe it wasn't an actual job, maybe it was being fired from a group in school. The point is that most people know what it's like to be relieved from our duties. Wade Phillips was relieved from his duties as Dallas Cowboys Head Coach in 2010, and he detailed part of the fallout there in his new book Son of Bum: Lessons My Dad Taught Me About Football and Life.
Before we begin it's important to note that Wade Phillips learned a thing or two from Jerry Jones during the time that they worked together. How do we know this? On the day of his book release Wade Phillips' publisher allowed Deadspin to publish an excerpt from said book detailing the what-seems-to-be rocky relationship between Wade and Jerry. Well done, Coach Cupcake.
Is there salt in cupcakes? I don't bake, so I don't know. Either way, Coach Cupcake apparently has a lot of it stemming from the 2010 season that ultimately led to his demise in Dallas. In this excerpt Wade Phillips begins by showering Jerry Jones with love and affection, noting that he's a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win type of owner and that he enjoyed that about Jerry.
Then this whole thing gets silly, and kind of dramatic. Wade Phillips details how he asked Jerry Jones for a new contract entering the 2010 season, and that Jerry wouldn't budge (Wade also says Jerry had “plenty” of money to spend so hey, what the heck Jerry?!).
“With one year left on my contract, I had my agent ask Jerry for an extension on my deal. It seemed like things were good, but they weren’t. Or at least, they weren’t good enough. The year before, when we went 9–7, the press wanted to fire me. Now here I was, with a 33–15 record and a playoff win in three seasons, and coming off an 11–5 year. I thought I’d get Jerry to extend my contract beyond the 2010 season. But he wouldn’t.”
Wade also then mentions the apparent elephant in his room – Jason Garrett. After an impressive inaugural season with the Cowboys in 2007… Jason Garrett was a hot commodity. Wade mentions the Baltimore Ravens as a team that wanted him to be their Head Coach, but the Atlanta Falcons were interested as well. Jerry Jones, of course, elected to pay Jason Garrett and keep him around the Cowboys.
So apparently Wade Phillips was completely fine with this for all of 2008 and 2009, but entering 2010 suddenly developed a “well this isn't right!” feeling about Red Ball. Wade is at this point in an extremely anti-Jason Garrett mood so he takes another dig at Garrett concerning the 2008 Dallas Cowboys.
“After our 9–7 season, when the offense struggled, Jerry said that maybe he should have let Jason take the Baltimore job rather than give him the big raise.”
Ah yes, Wade! The 2008 Dallas Cowboys offense that struggled! For what it's worth the Dallas Cowboys Offense ranked 13th in terms of total offensive yards in 2008, few would call that “struggling” but hey facts or whatever, and a huge part of the dip was that Tony Romo missed three games (the first he missed of his career… sad face).
Alright let's get back to logic here. Wade Phillips goes on to say that he was in fact given more money before 2010 began in the form of an extension. Then he flies off the rails again in spectacular fashion.
“‘This is just for if you murdered somebody, or something like that, you wouldn’t get the bonus,' Jerry said. ‘And it’s our option to pick up that extra year.'
‘Well, then that’s not giving me another year if it’s your option,' I said.
I took the deal, although I still didn’t think it was right. Jerry can do what he wants to do as owner, obviously. I just didn’t think it was right that an assistant coach was making more than a head coach. He could have paid me more. He had plenty of money. Still does. But he’s a businessman and his business side made that decision.”
So Wade Phillips – in full consciousness – took a deal… but he hated it! Man if only I could count the number of times I've signed a contract that I didn't at all think was right. That sure is something that a lot of people experience and do wisely.
Also can we talk about the whole “Jerry has plenty of money!” thing? This is what people say every time any sort of contract comes up that we roll our eyes to. “Jerry can pay anything! He has all the money in the world!”. Ok Wade, sure man. Let's completely abandon the logical structure in which the NFL works. Cool.
This is when the best part of Wade Phillips' excerpt is on display. He takes us back to the 2010 season opener and recounts the decision to try and score before the first half ended. Let me remind you that this is a man petitioning us on why he shouldn't have been fired.
“We began the 2010 season on a bad note with a 13–7 division loss to Washington. We didn’t allow a touchdown on defense. We shouldn’t have allowed the Redskins’ defense to get one either, but right before the half, Jason asked me, “You want us to go for a score or just run the half out?”
‘Yeah, okay,' I said.”
“Yeah, okay.”?! Are you serious right now, Wade? You're trying to sell me that Jason Garrett was somehow bad at his job, but in a moment of paramount importance when he asked you what you wanted to do… you said “Yeah, okay.”?!
As you'll likely remember that sequence didn't end well for the Cowboys. After a holding penalty Jason Garrett called a pass play, and Tony Romo delivered the ball to Tashard Choice. Wow, what a failure of a decision! Tashard then fumbled and the Redskins ran it back for a defensive touchdown. Yeah, okay, that is obviously Jason Garrett's fault, Wade.
Things fell off the rails for the 2010 Dallas Cowboys quickly, and after getting blasted 45-7 in Green Bay against the eventual Super Bowl XLV-winning Packers… Jerry had made up his mind. But of course… Wade had a different plan in mind.
“I asked him if I could stay on the job for one more game because I felt I would have a chance to go out on a winning note. We were playing the Giants on the road, and I said he could make the change after that game and start fresh with a new coach for our next game at home, which would be a week after the New York trip.”
This is also ridiculously silly. Wade Phillips is trying to backhandedly say that the Giants were a winnable game, throwing shade at the fact that Jason Garrett did indeed win it as the interim Head Coach. Let it be known that Wade Phillips had already played the Giants that season, just 13 days earlier, and lost 41-35 (granted Tony Romo was hurt in that game… sad face again).
As if we weren't already on a parade if instability of logic here, Wade Phillips saves the biggest and baddest for the final act of this play. He cites his time in Dallas as successful, so much in fact that it precedes Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Landry's.
I also felt good about my 34–22 record with the Cowboys. It’s not tremendous, but it’s still pretty good. That’s still the tiniest of a fraction of a percent ahead of Tom Landry, the all- time winningest coach in the history of the franchise. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s a fact.
It's a fact, people! Yeah, okay, I've about had enough. Wade Phillips is a kind man and a phenomenal defensive coordinator – hello, 2015 Denver Broncos – but he deserved to be fired when he was. No book is going to change anyone's minds on that.