D.A.: What Will It Take For Jason Garrett To Get Fired?

How is it possible that Jason Garrett still has a job? Well, Damon Amendolara has a theory...

Damon Amendolara
September 11, 2018 - 2:25 pm

USA Today Images

The cold, hard Texas truth is so clear it's impossible to ignore any longer. Jason Garrett is an ineffective coach. His offense is sputtering. His quarterback is regressing. He's won a single playoff game in nine years at the helm. In a town that is desperate for a winner, a team that is nationally renown, an owner that is traditionally impatient, how is it possible he remains on the sideline? 

Simple. Garrett is really good at politics. 

Jerry Jones recently crowed over the obscene amount of money he would pay to win another Super Bowl. It's been a long 23 years since the Cowboys hoisted the Lombardi, a brutal stretch that has witnessed most of the lowest moments in franchise history. Quincy Carter. Chan Gailey. Drew Henson. Dave Campo. Chad Hutchinson. Tony Romo's bumbled snap in Seattle. Going one-and-done as the top seed in '07 and '16. The Week 17 "win and in" choke jobs. It's been a relentless drumbeat of disappointment. 

Jerry has thrown money at problems. He's signed win-now free agents. He's built palatial stadiums and opulent practice facilities. He's tried to draft home run hitters. Jones has been anything but apathetic in his quest for success. But Garrett's near decade of dreariness doesn't square with that urgency to win. In seven full seasons of coaching, Garrett has only three winning seasons. He's been to the postseason only twice. He owns one (one!) postseason victory, and that was as a beneficiary of a timely, questionable flag. Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl and was ushered out. Wade Phillips never had a losing season and was shown the door. Tom freakin' Landry, living legend and civic icon, was unceremoniously dumped. How could Garrett survive so long?  

He's great at being an ally to the Jones clan, that's how. It's the only explanation. Garrett doesn't mind playing front-facing puppet of Jerry. He doesn't fight with the owner. He'll take all the bullets. While the old owner says crazy, zany things into microphones every week, Garrett never criticizes him, never asks him to tone it down. When Jerry wants to take Johnny Manziel in the first round, he lets the family battle it out without getting involved. When the organization drafts defensive liabilities, character questions, he never blinks. When the cupboard is bare, he makes no excuses. He demands nothing. He's usually affable with the media. He has little ego. He plays nice in the sandbox. He's the type of guy who brings extra juice boxes to the picnic, and drives you home when you've had a few too many beers. But when he's angry and yelling, "Goshdarnit!" as the garbage truck runs over his flower bed, you can't help but laugh. 

Watching "A Football Life" and its behind-the-scenes footage of Jerry's kingdom, NFL Films paints a very clear picture of a coach that is BFF with his owner. Romo, Jerry and Jason may as well be the trio from The Hangover movies. "We're the three best friends that anybody could have!" They formed a social club, a "slap each other on the back" golf trio. Jerry has always loved hanging out with celebrities while being one himself. His fawning over Romo reached uncomfortable levels by the end. Jerry also loves people who will tell him how great he is, and Garrett has become brilliant in that role. 

The two most successful runs in Cowboys history since Jones bought the team 30 years ago were under Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells. Neither lasted as long as the current coach has. Why? They refused to eat mud like Garrett does. They challenged Jerry, were alpha males, they were confident, accomplished, adamant in their beliefs. Jerry doesn't play that game. He's the big cat. He's the dictator. And those who challenge him will eventually be shown the door. Jerry is so sensitive to pushback he will make battles personal and wage war against a friend, as his lawsuit against Roger Goodell showed last year. 

So Garrett survives. The opener against the Panthers was as ugly as any Cowboys offensive effort in recent memory. Dak Prescott began his career on fire, but seems to get worse every year. The play-calling is unimaginative. The scheme is predictable. In a pass-happy league, the Cowboys look to pound you with a sledgehammer. Once upon a time, Garrett played quarterback and was lauded for his offensive acumen as a coordinator. Yet today that reads like a sick, ironic joke to Cowboys fans. Jason Garrett may be bad at his job, but he's great at friendship. And that's all that matters in Dallas. 

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.