Surely We Can’t Go Wrong with a Texas Native. Right?


Let’s review some Cowboys’ history:

Good birth places: Mission, Texas (Tom Landry), Port Arthur, Texas (Jimmy Johnson).

Birth place of that other Super Bowl coach: Crossett, Arkansas (Barry Switzer).

Birthplaces of the mediocre and the bad: Gainesville, Georgia (Chan Gailey), Somewhere in Connecticut (Dave Campo); Englewood, New Jersey (the Tuna fellow).

Wade PhillipsSo now we welcome a native of Orange, Texas, and it is our collective duty to tell him that he is destined to win a Super Bowl with the Cowboys. No pressure. Just a Super Bowl.

Good. It’s settled.

Here is an interview of Phillips with Mickey Spagnola today:

Spagnola thought that Norv Turner was going to get the nod. Here is his explanation for why the Cowboys instead chose Phillips:

First of all, began finding out late Wednesday there were a lot of people in Phillips’ corner. Football people. Scouts. Former scouts. Coaches. Former coaches. Some of both Jones trusted implicitly with football advice.

Not sure if it was from relief the selection process was over or from unequivocal approval, but man there were some smiles coming out of the Cowboys’ scouting department all day Thursday, and you didn’t even have to ask Jeff Ireland and them what they thought of the impending hire. You knew.

Then I was told Jones didn’t just pluck this Wade guy’s name out of a hat two weeks ago. Was told his was a name that had been tossed around previously, even after Bill Parcells had arrived, because as Jones said that one day, you never know when your head coach might get run over. And with Parcells on the premises, a hit-and-run was more likely. He had to be prepared for whatever whenever.

“He’s always been a guy we respected,” said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones following the announcement, as well as Jerry pointing out that Wade was a guy “we’ve known for 16 or 17 years.”

Who knew?

And then there was this, the X-factor, who few, if any, considered, including myself: Tony Sparano.

Now wait, don’t start with me. I know I’m worn out and in need of vacation – which by the way, Jerry named this head coach in the nick of time when it comes to me taking some time off – but I haven’t lost my mind. Please listen. Read, too. Follow along.

This organization values Sparano, and was impressed with the job he did not only being a co-coordinator of this offense, by the way, for a team that scored 425 points this season – only two less than Chicago and Indianapolis – but how effectively he called plays under the weight of Parcells’ overbearing influence.

Who knew, and me, I’m guilty as charged, but as one person in the organization said, don’t be too hard on yourself. Like how would you have known since Bill never let you talk to those guys or did he ever talk about what everyone was doing. So that made me feel a little better, but not much.

A couple of Dallas and Fort Worth columnists jumped at the chance to provide the good and bad about the hire.

Jean-Jacques Taylor:

Jerry Jones has put his legacy as an owner and general manager in Wade Phillips’ hands.

There’s already a faction of Cowboys fans who think Jerry is the NFL’s worst owner. Perhaps, the worst in NFL history. Those folks are silly, though they can rightfully point to 10 seasons without a playoff win as evidence of his incompetence, making the debate difficult.

But winning three Super Bowls gives Jerry a pass – at least it used to.

Time is up.

This hire will define whether Jerry is remembered as an oil and gas man who lucked into three Super Bowl championships because Minnesota’s Mike Lynn made one of the dumbest deals in NFL history by giving the Cowboys a king’s ransom for Herschel Walker or whether he’s remembered as the guy who pulled the franchise out of an abyss by hiring Phillips.

And Randy Galloway:

What lurks underneath the surface for Phillips is a flashback to the worst of Jerry and to the worst of times for the Cowboys.

Let us review the fresh evidence, but believe me, the DNA doesn’t lie:

Son-of-Bum is a defensive specialist, with an excellent 3-4 pedigree, and with some success as an NFL head coach. But as the new man here, he had no say in the hiring of his offensive coordinator, or probably in the hiring of his top two offensive coaches.

Jones already had young Jason Garrett in place as the OC before Phillips was interviewed for the head coaching job. And Tony Sparano, a holdover from the Big Bill staff and the offensive play-caller last season, is expected to remain in that job.

Unless Phillips does add his own hire to the offensive mix, “Coach Jerry” has reverted to his old ways. I admit it — it makes me miss Big Bill already, no matter the Parcells’ record here.

Personal apologies to media colleagues, former Cowboys’ players and all who e-mailed for defending Jerry on the early hire of Garrett, saying if Norv Turner followed as the head coach, it would make sense.

How stupid not to know that eventually it wouldn’t make sense.

The Cowboys’ emphasis continues to be defense, defense, defense, almost all defense. It has been this way for more than a decade, with draft picks, and except for Chan Gailey, coaching hires.

The bottom line for this ongoing defensive philosophy is failure, failure, failure.

With Tony Romo, the offense showed life last season, but Romo needs ample tutoring. Turner is one of the best in the business in that area. Garrett, no matter the potential, has exactly two years on his resume as an NFL quarterback coach.

You have to score points in this league to win consistently. You have to have a good quarterback to win consistently.

But the Cowboys are still stuck on defense.

The Ghost of Big Bill lurks with this Phillips’ hire. Parcells, of course, was a part of the process in hiring his replacement.

It was Bill who brought the 3-4 to the Cowboys two seasons ago. Success didn’t happen with this alignment. Actually, the move backfired.

With Parcells gone, a return to the 4-3 was a possibility.

Obviously, Parcells would disagree with switching back so, when he’s conducting his interviews at Valley Ranch with Turner and Phillips, which coach do you think Bill recommended to Jerry? And how much did Jerry listen to Big Bill?

Also, Turner’s answer for his defensive coordinator was Ron Rivera of the Bears, a 4-3 guy. Rivera interviewed Tuesday at Valley Ranch, not for the head coaching job, as it was advertised, but for Turner’s defensive coordinator.

There was speculation from inside the bunker Wednesday that Rivera had not sold Jerry on the 4-3 scheme.

But who says Jerry could have been sold, no matter the Rivera presentation?

Bottom line: Jerry wanted to stay with the 3-4. Phillips is an excellent 3-4 defensive coach. Once again, it was about what Jones thinks is best for the defense, not the offense. Very scary.

Many have asked if Eldorado Owens was a factor in this coaching decision, based on some speculation that Turner, in his interview, advised Jones to dump Eldo.

Not true.

While Jones has been mulling over whether it’s wise to bring back Owens at $8 million next season, Turner was receptive to the idea of Eldo being on the team should Jerry declare the price tag made sense.

Get ready, however, for outrageous drama next season from the NFL’s No. 1 drama queen. If Big Bill couldn’t keep this fool under control, you think Wade can, or Jason Garrett can?

Let us all welcome Wade Phillips to town and, hopefully, Bum will also show up on occasion, which is always a treat.

But Son-of-Bum’s arrival comes with many nightmares attached, none of his making.

Jerry is being Jerry again. May the football gods have mercy on the Cowboys.

Let’s Hope He’s No Bum… Or Perhaps That He Is?


Wade PhillipsWord on the street this morning is that the Cowboys will announce Wade Phillips as the new head coach. Phillips has compiled an overall record of 48-39 with the Broncos and Bills, along with interim jobs at New Orleans and Atlanta. The 60-year-old is, of course, the son of Bum Phillips, who guided the Houston Oilers to the AFC Championship game in 1978 and 1979, only to lose to the Steelers each time.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Phillips, 60, emerged from a group of 10 candidates — the most ever interviewed for the Cowboys job.

In the end, he edged out 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who served a similar role with the Cowboys on the 1992 and 1993 Super Bowl title teams and was considered the favorite for the position after Bill Parcells’ retirement Jan. 22.

Turner had hoped his close relationship with the Jones family and familiarity with organization would make a difference — especially because Jones was seeking a coach with whom he could be comfortable and someone he could have fun with after four years with the grumpy Parcells.

The laidback nature of Phillips, a native Texan and son of former Oilers coach Bum Phillips, proved to be good enough for Jones.

Phillips had previous successful experiences as a head coach with Buffalo, Denver, New Orleans and Atlanta and his expertise with the 3-4 defense. The Cowboys made the switch to the 3-4 two years ago and have spent considerable resources drafting and signing players to play the defense. Jones did not want to change schemes.

Considering that the continued development of Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo was a key factor in the coaching search, the choice of Phillips also means that the Jones is comfortable with former Cowboys backup quarterback and recent hire Jason Garrett running the offense.

Garrett has been coaching only two years — as quarterbacks coach of the Dolphins. But he spent 12 years in the league as a backup, including seven behind Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman in Dallas.

Jones believes Garrett is one of the league’s bright offensive minds and sees him as a potential head coach one day. Garrett was initially interviewed for the head coaching job, but two days later he joined the staff as offensive coordinator.

Turner has a strong relationship with Garrett and would have been a willing tutor. But there is no question who would have been in charge of the offense in that scenario. With Phillips as coach, Garrett is in complete charge of the offense while being prepped to become the team’s next head coach.

Phillips’ age and experience suggests that he won’t have a long tenure in Dallas.

But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys aren’t hoping it will be a successful one.

Clip: Mr. Romo at the Super Bowl

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Cowboys’ All-Time Record vs. Eventual Super Bowl Winners

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Michael Irvin Videos, and So Forth

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Should We Approach Gary Fencik?

So now that Jerry is extending the coaching search to last until after the Super Bowl, I offer these very random thoughts about the combination of geniuses and the former members of the 1985 Chicago Bears. (a) We didn’t have the luck for which we had hoped (note I didn’t say failure this time) with […]

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Surprisingly High Level of Support for Singletary

I was going to lay off this subject, but I was a little bit surprised by the results of a poll on the Dallas Cowboys Fan Zone regarding who should be head coach. After 92 votes in what I would imagine is not a proper sampling, here are the results: Mike Singletary: 51.1% Norv Turner: […]

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Tony Romo Vids: The Good and the Botched

As a Baylor employee, I should be far more excited that Mike Singletary is interviewing with the Cowboys. But other than the speculation, I’ll wait for commentary until after I hear an announcement. Here is the story from the official site. Oops. I just said I was a Baylor employee. Next thing you know, I’ll […]

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