IRVING, Texas -- After what happened across the NFL on Monday, Jason Garrett feels fortunate that he will be getting at least another year to coach the Dallas Cowboys.
Rob Chudzinski got one year in Cleveland. Leslie Frazier, who turned an interim job into the permanent gig the same year as Garrett, was fired by the Minnesota Vikings. Mike Shanahan was told to take his two Super Bowl rings out of Washington.
At 29-27 overall and after three straight 8-8 finishes, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones continues to show patience with Garrett.
Progress has been made, according to Garrett, even if it has not meant playoff victories or appearances.
"You'll say, ‘Hey, you were 8-8 three straight years. I don't really see it,'" Garrett said. "It's a bottom-line business, it's a bottom-line world. We get that, but we also understand it takes time to put a program in place. We work very hard to do things the right way with the right people. I think how we've handled the different adversities over the course of the season is something we feel good about. Everybody has them. Your response to them is critical. For us to have an opportunity to be in that game (Sunday), we feel good about that. We feel good about a lot of things that happened in that game last night. Obviously, we didn't get it done. We need to find ways to take the next step and break through, and that's what we're going to do. That's my job. That's our staff's job. It's everybody in our organization's job."
Garrett used the same phraseology last year, about needing time. Chip Kelly did not need time. Kelly won the NFC East in his first year with the Philadelphia Eagles thanks to the 24-22 win at AT&T Stadium. Mike McCoy took the San Diego Chargers to the playoffs in his first season, using an early-season win against the Cowboys to get there.
If Garrett makes it through next season, only Jimmy Johnson would have a longer tenure in Jones' stewardship, five years to four. Barry Switzer and Bill Parcells lasted four full seasons. Wade Phillips made it 56 regular season games -- same as Garrett -- with a 34-22 record and was fired midway through the 2010 season.
Change will come to the Cowboys in 2014, it just matters in what form. Coaches could be out. Garrett said there are a few that are without contracts. Players will be out, too.
"I think our players believe in our program," Garrett said.
But the results need to follow. Soon. And he knows it.
"You always need that," Garrett said. "You need that. You want that in Year 1, you want that right now. But you have to keep banging away, you have to keep fighting. When that doesn't happen, you have to keep believing. There are great stories in all sports, really in all walks of life, with people who continue to persist and keep battling and scratching and clawing and fighting and they break through and they have success and we believe that's going to happen here."