by Jordy McElroy
Mike McCarthy is next in a long line of head coaches to stand on Jerry Jones’ chopping block. One of the most sought after jobs in the NFL comes with more than just an elevated level of status in the media spotlight. The fine print of the job description is dealing with an owner that loves to be part of the show as much as watching it.
Winning a Super Bowl may seem like child’s play in comparison to surviving Jones.
McCarthy checks all of the boxes as the right hire for the Cowboys: a Super Bowl champion, a proven track record of handling difficult personalities, a talented offensive mind and the ability to complete day-to-day tasks without stepping on Jones’ toes.
The latter ultimately closed the deal for the former Green Bay Packers head coach, essentially bringing an end to an excruciating nine years under Jason Garrett. Not a tear was shed outside of the Cowboys organization after the news broke on Garrett’s firing.
It was hasta la vista, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen and goodbye after nearly a decade of service.
Any twinge of sympathy was eradicated from the hearts of Cowboys fans after perpetual seasons of mediocrity. If Jack Dawson had Jerry Jones’ hand instead of Rose’s, he probably would have survived the Titanic.
Garrett clearly overstayed his welcome as head coach at the direction of Jones. He willingly served as a proverbial punching bag for the organization with deep-seeded problems that ran on up the food chain.
Is McCarthy a better coach than Garrett? Sure. But so were Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips, and neither one of them led the team to an NFC title game, much less a Super Bowl. Jones’ inability to take a hands-off approach with the team is why dream coaching hires such as Nick Saban, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Urban Meyer were always pipe dream possibilities.
The mere mention of such esteemed coaches with championship pedigrees would assume Jones is ready to relinquish the tagline of “Jerry’s World” from AT&T Stadium.
That would mean a seismic shift in doing business for the owner—no post-game press conferences where he’s publically lashing out at coaches, no more personnel decision-making and no coaching calls. The star-gazing of Jones at the forefront of the Cowboys organization would have to come to an end.
And none of that is clearly happening anytime soon.
Jimmie Johnson delivered two Super Bowls to the Cowboys, and Jones still wasn’t willing to step aside for the betterment of the team. Who’s to say this time will be any different?
America’s Team is also America’s greatest soap opera with more plot twists and turns than a labyrinth. A couple left turns here and a right turn there could put the Cowboys back to where they started with the only difference being the name and face at the coaching helm. After five different head coaching hires and the same results, it’s time for Jones to take a long look in the mirror.
The fact that he turned what should have been a simple firing of Garrett into a media circus creates even further doubt that he’s ready to change his ways.
There were obviously personal feelings involved in the decision, but the answer had been in black and white all season. The Cowboys had assembled arguably the most talented roster in the league, and they still managed to finish worse than they did last year. Every armchair expert from Dallas to the moon knew it was time to part ways. Yet, Jones’ flair for the theatrics had him seeking one last heaping helping of media attention before joining 19 other teams in postseason nihility.
Maybe Garrett would still be coaching in Dallas without the influence of a level-headed Stephen Jones. Jerry’s son has done a tremendous job of helping to put the Cowboys back on the road to prosperity with his personnel input.
However, that journey will never be completed as long as the old guard remains in the front seat. A step back for Jerry would be a step forward for the Cowboys. Real change hinges on a 77-year-old NFL owner making an effort to do things differently.
After over a quarter of a century of the same drama, I wouldn’t hold my breath.