"I don't even know who we play next week." --Wade Phillips, following Sunday's 45-7 humiliation in Green Bay.
Not your problem anymore, Coach Phillips. For the record, it's the Giants. Sunday. At The Meadowlands. 3:15 p.m. CST. If you time it right, you can take the burgers off the grill in time for kickoff. Bon appetit.
Do you think Wade actually didn't know who the 'Boys were playing next? I'm being facetious, I think.
I am not without empathy. Wade is a good, honest and decent person--and should never have to apologize for that. But he was never equal to the job of being head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, despite the two NFC East championships his tenure produced. It's an outsized job that swallows even good, honest and decent men like Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips.
Despite Jerry Jones' frequent statements that he would not fire his coach in-season, Wade had to go. And he had to go Monday, following Sunday night's travesty. Losing is one thing. Failing, even refusing, to compete is quite another. Too Tall Jones frequently said "You can't fake the funk." There was a lot of metallic blue funk-faking going on Sunday night at Lambeau, starting with a defense that was supposed to be Wade Phillips' showcase. Pass rushers who didn't really want to get to Aaron Rodgers. Tacklers shying from contact. Pass defenders looking for blades of grass to trip over.
The Dallas offense consisted of a trifecta of plays provided by Dez Bryant just before halftime. That was it.
Then there was the fumbled kickoff that wasn't. With just over two minutes left in the first half, Dallas was helpless to challenge a touchdown that should have been reversed, thanks to an earlier pointless goal line review combined with wasted timeouts. That's on the head coach. The now ex-head coach.
Journalists report that Phillips appeared genuinely surprised by his firing. Just as he appeared genuinely surprised that he was out of timeouts and unable to trigger what would have been a certain reversal. If, after that embarrassing Cowboy non-effort last night, Phillips was genuinely surprised to be dismissed, his level of denial itself would be enough to disqualify him as an NFL head coach. A man who couldn't read that handwriting could no longer coach defenders to read blocks or routes.
So Wade is out. Check. And Jason Garrett is in, on an interim basis. Say what?
I believe in accountability. I believe that football is, or should be, the ultimate meritocracy. Wade Phillips paid for his incompetence. And Garrett got promoted for his.
Apparently there were already insufficient hours in a day and week for Garrett to prepare his offense. So now, with his duties expanded and his attention fragmented, we're expecting improvement? Jerry, you just failed Logic 101.
Understand, today's whacking was directed at us as fans. It will in no way positively impact this season's won-lost record, and does not in any way "build for the future." The best that can be hoped for is that it stops this elevator's free-fall. This is akin to giving disgruntled restaurant customers a free bottle of wine to help them forget the rancid meal they just tried to consume. Sorry, Jerry. The heartburn is still flaring.
But the deed had to be done, if this franchise was to retain any of the dignity, credibility and pride it has amassed over the past half century.