Forty-nine years ago this week, Clint Murchison Jr. proved how much faith he had in a Dallas Cowboys head coach despite a poor overall record. The Cowboys owner gave Tom Landry, who had posted a 9-38-3 record during the previous four seasons, a 10-year contract extension.
If Jerry Jones truly believes in Jason Garrett, he should make a similar bold commitment. Jones should give Garrett, who is under contract through the 2014 season, an additional 3-5 years.
Throughout the coaching staff changes that have taken place over the last month, Jones has praised the foundation that Garrett has built over the past two and a half seasons as head coach, saying things like: “I’m excited. Boy, we’ve got a good man in Jason Garrett putting this together for us.”
On the day Murchison announced Landry’s new deal, the Cowboys owner said: “This is in line with my philosophy that once you get a good man, hold on to him.”
If Jones believes what he says, that he has a “good man” and the “right man,” then he should lock Garrett up for the foreseeable future. A move like that would show that Garrett is in charge and Jon Gruden isn’t walking through the Valley Ranch doors as anything more than a TV analyst.
Following Landry’s extension in 1964 the Cowboys went 12-15-1 the next two seasons. They followed that up by reaching the playoffs 17 of the next 18 seasons. Garrett, who has led the Cowboys to consecutive 8-8 seasons, is 21-19 as a head coach.
Jones, who has admitted regret over getting rid of Chan Gailey so quickly, has compared Garrett’s brief coaching tenure to that of Bill Belichick. The New England Patriots coach, who has won three Super Bowls since 2001, was fired from his first head-coaching gig with the Cleveland Browns after only one winning season in five years.
Jones has also compared Garrett to Landry.
“I know that when I first got in the NFL, I could dream that maybe in 29 more years we could have the coach that we had with Coach Landry,” Jones said at the press conference announcing Garrett as the team’s new head coach. “Those are different times, different days, but you can dream that this thing is in place long term because of (Garrett’s) age and frankly, his background and experience growing up in NFL football.”
If Jones still feels that way, a contract extension would be the perfect way to prove it.