All signs point to the Dallas Cowboys ending their long-standing relationship with Jason Garrett and hiring a new head coach in 2020. Nothing’s official as of yet, though, and there’s still wild speculation that part of Jerry Jones may still want Garrett around. However, there is one reason above all others why this can’t happen.
I’m going to go back to November 2016. Standing before gather media members, Tony Romo gave his blessing for Dak Prescott to remain the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. Something he said that day has crept back into my mind in thinking about Jason Garrett’s future with Dallas.
“You see football is a meritocracy. You aren’t handed anything. You earn everything, every single day, over and over again. You have to prove it. That’s the way that the NFL, that football works.”
This mentality is the only way that a football team can function. The damage to the Cowboys’ locker room in 2016 could have been severe if Romo, who hadn’t really helped the team win since 2014, came back and retook the QB job while Prescott was in the middle of a historic rookie season.
That idea of meritocracy is the key issue now with Garrett. Whatever Jerry may think about Jason’s capability as a coach, he has not earned the right to retain the job any longer. Much like Tony Romo experienced, the opportunities have come and gone.
Now it’s time to move on.
Between his time as offensive coordinator and head coach, Garrett has now been intimately involved with three different eras of Cowboys football. He’s been here for Wade Phillips’ full run as coach, the seasons of Tony Romo’s prime with Dez Bryant, and now the Dak Prescott years.
And yes, Garrett’s work as offensive coordinator is still relevant now. You can’t call the NFL an “offensive league” and then not weigh the work of the OC heavily.
Out of those 13 total seasons the Dallas Cowboys have only five trips to the playoffs. They have a 3-5 record in the postseason, never getting further than the second round.
Sure, Jason has weathered some storms during that time. He had to rebuild the roster when he took over as head coach in 2010, then deal with season-killing blows such as Romo’s injuries or Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension.
But some coaches persevere despite these obstacles. Garrett has proven he’s no Bill Belichick, or anything resembling him, when it comes to dealing with adversity.
If football is a meritocracy, and if you want your players to believe it, then at some point your coach has to be held accountable.
Players know Garrett’s body of work. They know he’s had little success in Dallas. Over time, the lack of accountability undermines the entire organization.
No matter what Jerry Jones still believes about Jason Garrett, this decision has to be about the big picture. Garrett has ultimately failed him for over a decade, and no player would get that same kind of rope.
A new tone must be set for the Dallas Cowboys, and Garrett now has too much losing baggage to do that. Thankfully, it appears the Joneses recognize that and are preparing to start a new chapter.
Hopefully, the next Cowboys head coach has better results.