Ever since he took control of the Dallas Cowboys in the late ’80s, Jerry Jones has made his mark on America’s Team. No matter what anyone thinks of the Cowboys or Jones, one thing is for sure: They’re his team, and he’s the one pulling the strings. While this can be refreshing for a football team, it can also be paralyzing.
As the Cowboys head into an offseason filled with question marks after a disappointing 2019, they must ask themselves: Is Jerry Jones hurting the team more than he thinks?
Jerry Jones’s history with head coaches
Despite his brash personality, Jones has never been one to make outlandish choices concerning his head coaches. In fact, over the last decade, he’s introduced quite a bit of stability from a coaching standpoint — perhaps even to the Cowboys’ detriment. Since Jones bought the team, here are the head coaches he’s hired:
- Jimmy Johnson
- Barry Switzer
- Chan Gailey
- Dave Campo
- Bill Parcells
- Wade Phillips
- Jason Garrett
The last time Jones led a coaching search was after Bill Parcells left in 2007, and he hired Wade Phillips. Parcells was also the only coach Jones has ever given control over personnel decisions.
For every other coach, Jones has acted as the team’s general manager. It’s a unique setup unlike any other NFL team. Most owners hire front-office staff to make decisions then get out of the way. In Jones’ case, he’s hired a front office to essentially do his bidding.
The Cowboys’ current coaching situation
Garrett’s contract has expired and it seems like Jones is moving on from him as head coach. Over 10 seasons, Garrett went 85-67 with only two playoff victories and three playoff losses. Despite winning three NFC East titles, Garrett hasn’t got the Cowboys as far as the NFC championship game. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone arguing with Jones wanting to move on.
But this also raises the question of who Jones could convince to replace Garrett. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most popular teams in the league. But will a young head coach — or even an experienced veteran — want to play under an owner who makes personnel decisions? It may feel as if he’s being undermined.
In the above clip from ESPN’s Get Up, the panel discusses how some head coaches may avoid Dallas due to Jones’ interference. It could be a factor in who the Cowboys convince to coach next season.
Is Jerry Jones hurting the Cowboys more than he thinks?
After every game, Jones meets with the media to discuss the Cowboys’ performance. This will have cascading impacts on the head coach’s ability to do his job. As Mike Tannenbaum said on Get Up:
“Monday morning, part of your job description is to parse the words of what your boss says … We all want to be held accountable. But if Jerry Jones doesn’t change his behavior, this is going to be a less attractive job.”
There is no question that Jones’ behavior makes the head-coach job more difficult and, in turn, hurts the Cowboys. If Jones wants to run the team, that’s one thing. But putting added pressure on the people he hires by publicly calling them out can hurt the franchise. It may limit who they’re able to hire.