A Real Gift


Chan Gaily to Dave Campo trying to take a family-friendly approach to stubborn and stern Bill Parcells to Wade's laid-back style of putting the responsibility for discipline and accountability on the players. 

None lasted longer than Johnson's five years, and even he knew he had pushed that 1993 team to the brink, realizing it was time to bail, that there was no way his style would squeeze a third straight Super Bowl title out of those guys. Switzer's 180 worked for two years, barely, because the Cowboys almost imploded internally before winning Super Bowl XXX. Gailey never fit in, the antithesis of Johnson and Switzer from a personality standpoint as well as from the offensive philosophy of Norv Turner and Ernie Zampese. Why, he tried fitting a quarterback with a bazooka arm into a popgun attack. Then came Campo. He had no chance, Aikman hurt most of his first season, the backup, Randall Cunningham, having little interest in playing and Aikman getting waived afterward. Then over the next two seasons he had to deal with the quarterbacking likes of Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf and Chad Hutchinson. He should have been given combat pay. 

Up next Bill, who righted the ship, but seemingly wore out the team and then himself, unable to stomach that Seattle playoff loss in 2006, causing him to throw in the towel. And finally there was Phillips, whose kindlier, gentler approach seemed to work until ... 1-7. 

See what Aikman's talking about? 

No continuity, and obviously that is something the Cowboys had for 29 years with Tom Landry, and the value of that consistent voice was emphasized the other night while interviewing former Cowboys tight end Pettis Norman after Don Meredith passed away. He was emphatic about the importance of the players knowing exactly what they were going to get out of their head coach from year to year to year. 

Oh, what Jerry Jones would do for some coaching continuity. No matter what anyone thinks, he craves it. Jimmy should have been that guy, but he wanted out. Got antsy, as is his nature, after five years. Bill could have been that guy, but he lost the necessary energy. He had worked too hard for too long. And if you look at all the rest, all the other coaching changes were made out of necessity by Jones. 

Especially this last one. Even Wade would not argue he lost this team. Happens. 

So what next? How much does 4-2 under Garrett mean? Should it mean? What's the change in practice habits, schedule, clocks in locker room, sideline demeanor, press conferences - basically, the culture - mean when it comes to winning and losing? 

Let Aikman continue. 

"I know Jason, I've got a history with him," Aikman said of his long-time quarterbacking caddy, which might make him a tad biased, but understand, he has never pulled punches when talking Cowboys in his professional role on national TV or local radio. "I've seen what makes him tick, I know what he's about, I know what type of person he is. I know how committed he is to the things he believes in, so I'm not surprised by that, and I'm not surprised by what has happened. I'm not surprised that some people say he's stubborn. All those things, if kept in check, those are all good things for how you have success, and he has taken notes from a lot of different people, whether that's football coaches or people in business. I've been around him in those situations, and I've seen him ask the questions of the various people: 'Why do you think it's worked for you? Why do you think you've had success?' in whatever the field might be in. He absorbs information." 

May I now add an aside? A couple of weeks ago a guy by the name of Scott McDearmont, mayor of Highland Village, Texas, a small burg north of here off Lake Lewisville, started telling me this story unsolicited about Garrett. How when he was a practicing surgeon at Parkland/UT Southwestern Hospital, the then backup quarterback for the Cowboys came by for a visit. Garrett evidently, nearing the end of his final contract with the Cowboys, was on a fact-finding mission, exploring the possibility of going to med school. 

McDearmont was only too glad to tell me how impressive Garrett was: "He asked all the right questions, everything he should have," the

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