Jason Garrett was named the eighth head coach in Dallas Cowboys history on January 5, 2011. Garrett, who played for or worked alongside five of his predecessors, became the first former Dallas Cowboys player to become the team’s head coach. In six and a half years as head coach, Garrett owns a 59-48 overall record, including playoffs.
Having literally grown up around successful head coaches in the NFL and in the Dallas Cowboys family, Garrett was a member of three Super Bowl winning teams in the 1990s during his seven seasons as a Cowboys quarterback. His father, Jim, was a personnel scout for the team for 21 years and served under every Super Bowl winning head coach and ownership regime in franchise history.
As a player in Dallas, Garrett learned under championship coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, while serving as a backup to Troy Aikman in offenses directed by Norv Turner and Ernie Zampese. He went on to play for the New York Giants, who reached Super Bowl XXXV, while playing for offensive coordinator Sean Payton. Garrett finished his playing days while studying under Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay and started his coaching career with the Miami Dolphins, where he worked under five-time collegiate national championship head coach, Nick Saban.
Garrett was elevated to the Cowboys top job after taking over as the team’s interim head coach at the midpoint of the 2010 season. He went on to guide a Dallas team that had started the season with a 1-7 re- cord to a 5-3 mark down the stretch. In the season’s second half, three of the Cowboys five victories were against teams that posted 10 regular season wins, while the three Dallas defeats were decided by a combined total of seven points.
The 2016 season looked a little cloudy in the pre- season as the top-two quarterbacks on the depth chart - Tony Romo and Kellen Moore - succumbed to injuries that would sideline them for at least two months. Dallas entered the season with 2016 fourth round draft choice Dak Prescott at the helm of the offense, and after losing the season opener, the club rang off a franchise-record 11 consecutive wins. Under Garrett’s tutelage, Prescott claimed numerous club and league rookie passing re- cords, while becoming the first club rookie quarterback to earn a Pro Bowl selection and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Playing a part in the rookie signal caller’s success was another rookie, Dallas’ first round pick Ezekiel Elliott, who became the fifth rookie since the NFL merger to win the NFL’s rushing title with 1,631 yards - third-most by a rookie in NFL history - on 322 carries and 15 touchdowns. He also established the most 100-yard rushing games (seven) by a rookie in team history, and his 1,994 yards from scrimmage were the third-highest by a rookie in NFL history. Elliott’s season made him the fourth rookie running back in franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl, and only the fourth rookie - second running back - to be named All-Pro in team history. The above was accomplished be- hind the work of an offensive line that is considered the best in football, manned by perennial Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. The work of
the offense, along with improvement on defense, al- lowed the Cowboys to finish with a club-best tying 13-3 record, an NFC East Division title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. For his work, Garrett was named NFL Coach of the Year. In addition to the two rookies, all three named linemen earned a Pro Bowl nod, along with Dez Bryant and linebacker Sean Lee - both as injury replacements.
The 2015 season was a challenge as injuries sidelined two of Dallas’ top playmakers - Romo and Bryant - for a majority of the season and the club finished with a 4-12 record. Romo (collarbone) started four games, landing on Reserve/Injured and Bryant (foot) was slowed through a majority of his nine starts, also finishing on IR. Garrett saw four different players start at quarterback for the club for only the second time in team history. Veterans Brandon Weeden (three) and Matt Cassel (seven) started the majority of games while Moore made the first two starts of his career. The running game saw a burst through the second half of the season as Darren McFadden posted his second career 1,000-yard season (1,089) to mark the first time in club history two different running backs each rushed for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Dallas still sent five players to the Pro Bowl - T. Smith (third), Frederick (second), Martin (second), Dan Bailey ( first) and Lee ( first).
Garrett guided the 2014 squad to an NFL-best tying 12-4 record, the club’s 22nd Division title - 18th NFC East title - 31st postseason appearance and 34th playoff win. Along the way, the team had three players lead the league and establish single-season club records as DeMarco Murray rushed for 1,845 yards en route to Offensive Player of the Year honors, Bryant caught 16 touchdown passes and Romo completed 69.9% of his passes and had a 113.2 quarterback rating. The Dallas offense as a whole was second in the league in rushing yards (2,354); its highest finish since placing second in 2008. The offense totaled 6,138 yards - second in franchise history. The club also had eight players selected to the Pro Bowl, including three first timers (Frederick, Louis-Philippe Ladouceur and Martin). Perennial Pro Bowler Jason Witten earned his 10th trip, Romo made his fourth and Bryant, Mur- ray and T. Smith each made their second. Martin, the club’s first round pick in 2014, became the first rookie in club history to start every game at right guard. He was also the only offensive rookie in the NFL in 2014 to make the Pro Bowl, the first rookie offensive lineman in team history to make the game and was named to the AP All-Pro team - the only rookie in the NFL in 2014 and third rookie in club history. Following the season, Garrett was rewarded for the team’s accomplishments with a five-year contract extension.
In 2013 Garrett guided the Cowboys to an 8-8 re- cord and had his club in position to play for the NFC East title in the last game of the regular season for the third straight year. Five of the team’s eight losses came by a combined total of eight points as the Cowboys finished in second place in the NFC East. Five Dallas players earned Pro Bowl trips, including four first-time selections: Bryant, Murray, T. Smith and Jason Hatcher. The fifth Pro Bowler, Witten, earned his ninth Pro Bowl
selection after moving into second place among tight ends on the NFL’s all-time reception list with 879 career catches. Bryant accounted for 13 touchdown catches - tied for third on the Cowboys single-season scoring reception list. Murray’s 1,121 rushing yards enabled him to become the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2006. Romo threw for 31 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions.
In Garrett’s second full year of guiding the Cowboys (2012), the team produced the club’s third-best all-time net yardage gure to date by racking up 5,994 yards. Additionally, Romo threw for a club-record 4,903 gross yards as part of an offense that posted a club-best 4,729 net passing yards. Romo also set club marks for attempts (648) and completions (425), becoming the eighth different NFL quarterback to go at least 400- of-600 in a season. Also bene ting from Dallas’ offensive output was Bryant, who finished the season with a team-leading and career-best 1,382 yards - fourth in team history - and 12 touchdowns - tied for fth. Witten racked up a league tight end record 110 catches (second in team history) and his fourth career 1,000-yard season (1,039).
In his first full year as head coach, Garrett’s 2011 team finished 8-8 as the offense amassed 6,008 yards - second in franchise history. Romo posted a then career-best 102.5 quarterback rating, third in the NFC, fourth in the NFL and second in team history. He eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for the third time in his career and the third time in team history with 4,184 (third in club history). Witten led the team in receptions (79) - for the fifth straight season and sixth overall - and receiving yards (942) while finishing fourth with five touchdown receptions. In his second season, Bryant finished second on the team in catches (63), receiving yards (928) and touchdowns (nine). Rookie running back Murray provided a mid-season spark as he set a club rushing record with 253 yards against St. Louis (10/23). Rookie T. Smith emerged as a solid building block for the long term after starting all 16 games at right tackle and earning All-Rookie honors.
Although the 2010 club faced its share of challenges, the offense continued to put up big numbers, amassing 5,828 total yards for what was seventh in franchise history. Dallas also topped 4,000 passing yards for the third time in four years 4,042 - third in club history. Romo started the season running the offense, but a fractured left clavicle suffered against the N.Y. Giants (10/25) led the way for Jon Kitna to take over. Witten finished with 1,002 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. His 1,002 yards marked his third career 1,000-yard season and his second consecutive, while his nine touchdowns tied a team tight end record. Miles Austin notched his second straight 1,000-yard season (1,041) to give the Cowboys their fifth instance of two pass catchers topping 1,000 yards. The club sent three offensive players to the Pro Bowl: Austin (second straight), Andre Gurode ( fifth consecutive) and Witten (seventh straight).
En route to winning the 2009 NFC Eastern Division title, Dallas established club records for total offensive yards (6,390), net passing yards (4,287) and pass completions (347). Dallas ranked second in the NFL in yards-per-game (399.4), sixth in passing (267.9) and seventh in rushing (131.4). Romo broke his previous season records for completions (347) and passing yards (4,483), while Austin (1,320 receiving yards) and Witten (1,030) became just the fourth pair of Cowboys pass catchers to gain more than 1,000 yards in a sea- son in team annals. On the ground, Felix Jones eclipsed a 47-year old record for rushing average with a season average of 5.9. The 2009 club led the NFL in average gain on first downs (6.52), and five offensive players made trips to the Pro Bowl in South Florida: Witten, Leonard Davis, Gurode, Romo and Austin.
In 2008 Dallas finished the season ninth in the league in passing offense (236.8 yards-per-game), and the team’s total of 3,789 net yards passing was fifth in club history since the 16-game NFL season was implemented (1978). Following the season, offensive linemen Davis, Gurode and Flozell Adams were selected to represent the Cowboys in the Pro Bowl along with Witten.
Following the 2007 season in which the Cowboys won the NFC East with a team-record tying 13 victories, Wade Phillips added to Garrett’s responsibilities by naming him the club’s assistant head coach on Jan. 17, 2008, and Garrett was named Pro Football Weekly’s NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year in March of 2008.
Dallas finished the 2007 season second in the NFL in scoring ( first in the NFC) with an average of 28.4 points-per-game. The 455 points scored marked the second-highest figure to date in club history behind the 1983 squad (479 points).
With a 16-game average of 365.7 yards-per-game, the Cowboys were third in the NFL (second in the NFC) in total offense. Dallas closed the 2007 season fourth in the NFL (third in the NFC) in passing with an average of 256.6 yards-per-game. The 5,851 yards in total offense by Dallas in 2007 was fifth in team history at the time. The Cowboys established a club record with 217 passing first downs in 2007, while also leading the NFL in average yards gained on first downs (6.24) while New England (6.09) was second. In his first full season as an NFL starter, Romo finished the campaign as the NFC’s top rated passer (97.4), marking the third-highest single season passer rating in club history. With 36 touchdown passes in 2007, Romo established a Cowboys record for single season scoring tosses - eclipsing the mark of 29 set by Danny White in 1983. Romo also set what were then club marks for completions (335) and passing yards (4,211). Terrell Owens closed the year second in the NFC in receiving yardage with 1,355 ( fifth in the NFL), and he led the NFC in touchdown catches (third in the NFL) with a then club-record 15. Witten was second among NFL tight ends ( first in the NFC) in receptions (96) and yardage (1,145). Both were club tight end records. The one-two punch of Marion Barber and Julius Jones combined for 1,563 yards on the ground and a combined average of 97.7 yards-per-game.
After taking over the offensive coordinator responsibilities under Phillips in 2007, the Dallas offense reached high levels of productivity in several categories, and the unit finished among the NFL’s top-10 in total offense in ve of seven years with Garrett at the helm: 2013 (10th), 2012 (6th), 2010 (10th), 2009 (2nd) and 2007 (2nd). Inclusively from the start of the 2007 season, the club has averaged 366.0 total yards- per-outing (sixth in the NFL) and 24.5 points-per-game (seventh). Since his arrival in 2007, not only has the team set single-season records in numerous offensive categories, but the club’s cumulative numbers for total net yards (58,567), gross passing yards (39,993) and total points (3,919) are among the best totals over a 10-year span in the history of the organization. Under Garrett’s tutelage, 15 different offensive players have earned 41 total trips to the Pro Bowl.
Garrett returned to Dallas in 2007 as the offensive coordinator after spending the previous two seasons tutoring the Miami Dolphins quarterbacks. Garrett, who was a backup quarterback to Aikman in Dallas from 1993 to 1999, rejoined the Cowboys with a great understanding of the championship heritage of the organization. As a player in Dallas, he was a member of teams that won six division titles and three Super Bowl championships.
Garrett entered the coaching profession in February of 2005 as the quarterbacks coach for Nick Sa- ban’s first Miami Dolphins club. While in Miami, Garrett handled the challenge of having to work with five different starting quarterbacks over the course of 32 regular season games. In 2005 Miami quarterbacks threw 22 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions. In 2006 Garrett managed three starting quarterbacks for an offensive unit that produced four pass receivers who each had at least 55 receptions for the first time in team history.
As a player, Garrett worked under highly successful offensive coordinators Turner and Zampese in Dallas
while providing sideline assistance to Aikman for the majority of his Hall of Fame career. After moving to New York in 2000, he helped guide starter Kerry Collins and the Giants to an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl berth while working along side Saints head coach Sean Payton, who was the team’s offensive coordinator. Garrett gained valuable experience in absorbing Jon Gruden’s offense during a stint with Tampa Bay in the closing months of his playing career in 2004.
In his seven years as a player in Dallas, Garrett started nine of the 23 games in which he played. A key reserve player on three Super Bowl teams, he is best remembered for his Thanksgiving Day heroics in 1994. As the Cowboys third quarterback on the depth chart, he made his second career start against Green Bay after Aikman and backup quarterback Rodney Peete were felled with injuries in previous weeks. Garrett led Dallas to a thrilling 42-31 come-from-behind victory in which he directed the Cowboys to a club-record 36 second half points with six consecutive second half scoring drives. He finished the day with 311 yards on 15 completions with two touchdown tosses and was named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week. He went on to start five games in 1998 and two games in 1999 to finish his days in Dallas with a 6-3 record as a starting quarterback.
Garrett served as the primary backup to Kerry Collins during the New York Giants run to the Super Bowl in 2000, and played the entire fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game that year. He spent the next three seasons with the Giants (2000-03).
He concluded his career by splitting the 2004 sea- son with Tampa Bay and Miami. Overall in his 12 NFL seasons, Garrett started nine of the 40 regular season games in which he played and completed 165-of-294 passes for 2,042 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
As a senior at Princeton University in 1988, Garrett was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American. He earned his degree in history in 1989, and moved on to the NFL as an un- drafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints developmental squad. After being released prior to the 1990 season, he spent the fall of 1990 as an assistant coach at Princeton. In 1991 Garrett moved on to play in the World League and the Canadian Football League before joining the Cowboys practice squad in 1992.
Garrett, who prepped at University School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, followed in his family footsteps in 2005. His father, Jim, spent more than 30 years in the NFL as a coach and scout. His brother, John, is now an assistant coach at the University of Richmond. Another brother, Judd, was a practice squad player for the 1993 Cowboys Super Bowl Championship club and is now with the Cowboys scouting department as the director of pro scouting.
Jason and his wife Brill founded their charitable foundation, Jason Garrett Star fish Charities, in 1997 with the goal of enriching the lives of young people. The principle activity of the foundation is a one-day football camp and leadership forum for high school athletes, which is held each summer at Princeton University in conjunction with Play It Smart, a program administered by the National Football Foundation. In 2012 Garrett and the Cowboys organization introduced a similar annual one day football camp - Dallas Cowboys U -- at the team’s home training complex. The camp offers life skills sessions along with the opportunity for the high school players to be coached by the Dallas Cowboys players.
Born on March 28, 1966, Garrett resides in Dallas with his wife, Brill.