Wade Phillips has been a winner everywhere he has coached. He sports an 82-61 overall record in 11 years of coaching, including 34-22 in his three and a-half seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Somebody had to pay for the delightfully dreadful disaster that befell the Cowboys’ 2010 season, so Phillips had to go, record notwithstanding.
The Cowboys have a lock on fourth place in the Beast. Thus, the door is open for third place in the division for the Washington Redskins, barring a second half collapse.
That’s not to be taken lightly. The NFC East has sent three teams to the post-season more than once. With the state of the 2010 NFC, that can possibly happen again, even for a team that finishes 8-8.
Enough about us. This post is about them, the Cowboys, Jerry Jones and Dan the man.
Dan Snyder persisted in emulating Jerry Jones’ failed methods of building playoff teams. But Snyder did it without copying Jones’ practice of making himself answerable to the media and the fans for decisions everyone knows he makes.
When it became obvious over the weekend that Dallas players quit on the season, Jones took direct action. He fired the coach. He did it without guile or unnecessary embarrassment to Phillips. Then Jones stood before the fans, through the media, to explain his decision. He did it without front men.
Yes, Jones is open to criticism that he installed Jason Garrett as interim coach when many feel Garrett is as responsible as anyone is for the Cowboys’ predicament. Jones is accountable for how Garret got to the offensive coordinator position and for bringing in Terrell Owens that may have hastened Bill Parcells departure from the team.
You can accuse the Jones family of so hyping the 2010 Cowboys that they unhinged the players. Jones can be accused of mismanaging the football side of his franchise and of many other things. Failure of leadership is not one of those things.
Holding others accountable is the most important gift an owner can give his team.
Not that I am making comparisons to any other franchise owners in similar positions in the recent past. I really don’t have to, do I?
Point after: I have the sense that Jones was not so sanguine when he spoke to his employees (the players) as during his press conference. I would loved to have been a fly on the wall. The story will trickle out as it always does, but I imagine Jerry’s comments went along the lines of “there are eight games left and I expect you mo’fo’s to win all of them to finish 9-7.” Don’t be surprised to see one or two players cut before the season closes to reinforce the point. Watching someone get fired is incredibly motivating to those who survive. Watching too many people get fired crushes a group.
Just to rub things in, we rerun that pizza commercial featuring Jerry and Dan and hyping the site of the next Super Bowl.