Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on the radio today and was asked if Jason Garrett, whose team is tied for first place with three games left in his first full season as its head coach, was in danger of losing his job. This was his wonderful answer:
"Well, that's not a question that's in my mind, kinda worth responding to," Jones said Tuesday morning on KRLD-FM. "But the answer is no and we're just getting started here."
I wasn't even going to do a post on this, since I kind of feel the same way about it that Jones does -- i.e., that the question's a silly one to even be asking. But I liked the way Jones answered it and the way his answer kind of hits at where we are in this must-have-everything-now sports society. Of course Garrett's job isn't in danger. Why would you hire a young, talented guy with no prior head coaching experience and then can him after a year and a half? Everybody deserves a chance to make a mistake or two and grow from it. If you don't get that, the only way to succeed is to never make any mistakes, get every break and win the Super Bowl in your first season.
Garrett is 12-9 as a head coach. It's not a Hall of Fame winning percentage, but neither the percentage nor the total number of games is even close to justification for firing. There's no reason to believe he won't figure out how to use his timeouts better, or manage the clock at the end of games and halves while also calling creative and effective offensive plays. There is no way to make a sweeping judgment about a guy's ability or potential for future success based on the first 21 games he's ever coached at any level. Jones' decision to make Garrett the head coach necessarily came with an acceptance of the need for patience, and he will have no problem showing it.
These Cowboys may or may not win this division and make this year's playoffs. But whether they do or not will have no impact on Jones' belief in Garrett's abilities or the kind of coach he can become. Garrett is still just getting started there, as Jones said. And in the midst of NFL playoff-race madness it's important to take a step back and remember that.