The Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 season has been nothing short of a disaster thus far. Once the perceived upgrade from Jason Garrett, Mike McCarthy’s job security is now being questioned after seven games about as heavily as Garrett’s ever was. But over the last few days, Jerry and Stephen Jones have used public forums to voice their confidence in the new head coach.
Between Stephen on Monday and Jerry yesterday in separate media sessions, the Cowboys executives have laid down the classic “dreaded vote of confidence” in McCarthy.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones emphatic on Mike McCarthy belief.Stephen to @1053thefan: “I’m convinced we’ve got- not convinced, I *know* we’ve got the right head guy for the job. … These things just take time.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tells @1053thefan he expects to “change some personnel” to address issues. Run D a big problem. Jerry glad Mike McCarthy at helm.”I got my man.”
The “dreaded” portion of that phrase comes from a long history of examples in professional sports where ownership/management expressed support for the current head coach and then fired him shortly afterward.
The Cowboys have contributed to this track record. Some could argue it happened last year with Garrett; Jerry was adamant in his belief of Jason’s ability but was also honest that the results would have to change. Garrett was fired after an 8-8 finish and missing the playoffs.
The more famous example comes from 2010 and the man that Jason replaced, Wade Phillips. After an 0-2 start to the season, Jerry Jones expressed staunch confidence in Phillips:
“I can just give you a very affirmative ‘no.’”
“I do believe in Wade and the staff and the players. The thing about it is when you have that kind of commitment, one of the No. 1 things you have it for is those situations. Those people are supposed to really be there in hard times. Hard times. That’s when you’ve got to make your best grade if you’re deserving of that commitment and we’re in hard times.”
“That’s why I’m in the saddle with Wade and in the saddle with the staff and the team.”
Dallas would win their next game but then drop the next five. Wade was finally fired after the Cowboys fell to 1-7 with a blowout loss to the Packers.
Things aren’t quite the same now for Mike McCarthy. Phillips was in his fourth season as Cowboys coach and this is just McCarthy’s first year. Mike’s also had to perform under the unique challenges from COVID-19 and a horrible rash of injuries to some of his key players.
But at the same time, prior to 2010, Phillips had taken Dallas to the playoffs twice and won the franchise’s first playoff game since 1996. He had some equity with Jerry Jones that, so far, McCarthy has yet to earn.
Another huge difference between 2010 and now is that Jerry already had Jason Garrett in-house and ready to take over when he fired Wade. There’s no indication that Kellen Moore or any other assistant coach has that same handpicked favor from Jerry.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of season left to play and many opportunities for the team to keep disappointing its owner. If the frustration keeps growing, nothing is off the table given Jones’ history with his head coaches.