Will Jerry Jones Give His Tom Landry This Valuable Commodity?
Jerry Jones, Owner and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys has gone on public record with the statement that Head Coach Jason Garrett is his Tom Landry.
Like many things Jerry says, this caused a lot of head scratching for different reasons when it was uttered. Remembering that Jerry admitted never contemplating keeping the original Tom Landry as coach when he bought the Cowboys in 1989, what is Cowboys Nation to make of this official policy statement? Is this one of Jerry’s ways of offering sporting penance for his original blunder of almost completely ignoring the advice of then General Manager Tex Schramm and exuberantly dismissing the only remaining Living Legend in Texas? Or was this an un-Jerry-like message of grace offered to his personal protege, the one chosen before the hiring of Head Coach Wade Phillips, to simply keep this highly sought after commodity out of the clutches of other NFL Owners and General Managers, namely the Giants’ Mara family?
Coming to a definite conclusion about the motivations lying behind the words and actions of Mr Jones may be nothing more than the most trivial of pursuits. Admittedly, the lure of accomplishment in such an endeavor holds the unique possibility of reaching an attainable goal, something the Cowboys have failed to do in the last 18 years. Motivations and words aside, though, Jerry’s actions are anything but trivial when the future of Jason Garrett and the Cowboys are at stake.
The one vital action that remains for Jerry Jones to implement toward his Tom Landry is the same action that the original Owner of the Cowboys, Clint Murchison, implemented toward the original Tom Landry in the 1960’s; the granting of time.
The Cowboys existence started with nothing more than the dregs of all other NFL teams and those parts Cowboys’ management could scrape up elsewhere. An illustrious beginning, it was not. After only four wins in the first two seasons, coaching and talent slowly emerged with increasingly better results, but not enough to please many. Fortunately for Tom Landry and the Cowboys faithful to come, the many didn’t include Clint Murchison. In a move that is still talked about in NFL circles, Clint Murchison signed Tom Landry to a shocking and unprecedented 10-year contract in 1964 before Landry ever posted a winning record. And as they say, the rest is history.
Like Landry, Jason Garrett has failed to post a winning record in each of his first three full seasons.
Like Landry, Jason Garrett has proven methodical, deliberate and consistent in his approach to building the Cowboys.
Like Landry, Jason Garrett has convinced his Owner and General Manager that his plan for success will work.
Unlike Landry, Garrett does not have have the comfort of knowing that all management personnel above him will limit their activities to their designated job descriptions.
Unlike Landry, Garrett has seen the Owner-GM step in and make changes to the coaching staff initially chosen by Garrett. Accordingly, a new defensive philosophy and scheme were installed which, in this case, required players with a different skill set.
Unlike Landry, Garrett has been forced to alter certain portions of his plans to meet or overcome changes by upper Management.
Unlike the Original Owner Clint Murchison, Jerry Jones has proven his lack of desire and inability to refrain from meddling in the affairs of his Tom Landry, Jason Garrett.
Like the Original Owner, Clint Murchison, Jerry Jones needs to recognize that, absent his own Come-To-Jesus epiphany of repentance, the most vital act he can commit to secure probable success on the part of His Tom Landry, Jason Garrett, is granting Garrett time to implement his plan.
Otherwise, unlike the original Owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Clint Murchison, Jerry Jones will continue to be his own worst enemy!