The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett: The Art Of Garrettspeak

Sports fans tend to be proud creatures. We think we are special, enduring the insults of the poor benighted fools who follow lesser teams while devoting countless hours seeking to gain wisdom about our beloved team from the press releases and news articles that we pore over.

This is true for all fans, but I am here to state clearly that fans of the Dallas Cowboys go to extra lengths. We have to put more effort into following our beloved team. We have to learn to understand Jerryspeak and Garrettspeak.

For those of you who may not know, Jerryspeak is the unique method of communication used by Dallas Cowboys Owner/General Manager/Media Spokesman Jerry Jones, who seems to have been born with an innate and burning desire to make sure no reporter in sight is ever left with nothing to write about. Over the years, some of us have become rather fluent at deciphering this odd, meandering, stream-of-consciousness way of expressing thoughts. No one ever achieves a perfect mastery of it, because it is a fluid, protean, and above all spontaneous thing that springs from Mr. Jones' mind, often without benefit of editing or filter. Look at this sample from January of 2009, when the team was coming off a disappointing finish to the season, and Jerry was at the Senior Bowl:

When you say you've got something to prove, is that an organizational thing that trickles down to the players?

JONES: "Well, I'd like to not be down here at the Senior Bowl. I'd be out getting ready for the Super Bowl, and that's an organizational thing, that's everybody and that includes everyone. I think that's what we want, to take each thing as it turns out. This is the time of year when we're looking at these players and we'll shortly be headed up to the combine and we're just now initiating our evaluations, specifically our games. So all of that is at this time of year, and this is a real chance. During the year you've pretty much got your focus on week-to-week. Now we can step back and look at the big picture and evaluate this year."

There is a certain timeless quality to Jerryspeak captured here. But Garrettspeak is a newer mode of communication. Actually, it is a new mode of non-communication.

More content - or is it noncontent? - after the jump.

It has become one of those memes out there. Sometimes, the nickname JG5000 gets thrown around as a joke, referring to his mechanistic ability to drone on indefinitely without imparting any real information. But as opposed to so many myths and misconceptions that float around concerning the Cowboys, in this case it seems to be completely accurate and universally understood.

In his brief time as a head coach, the Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett has just about perfected the art of saying as little as possible in press conferences. He'll talk, of course; he just, for the most part anyway, won't really say anything.

That article was referring to an interview Jason had with Dale Hansen of WFAA, in which JG just came right out and confessed that it is deliberate.

Are you channeling Bill Belichick? You're like a robot too many times. That's not really who Jason Garrett is.

Garrett: When you're in the position that I'm in, the most important responsibility that I have is to the Dallas Cowboys. Often you get in situations like this, the daily press conferences that I do, whenever I am asked a question about anything, what goes through my mind, first and foremost, is how can my answer impact the Dallas Cowboys. That's the thing that's most important to me. There are questions that I won't answer or I avoid answering if I feel like there's a competitive disadvantage to answering that question in a certain way. My obligation is to our team, to our coaches, to our players and everyone in our organization first and foremost.

That answer, at least, explained things a bit. First and foremost, this is a guy who is going to look for every competitive advantage he can find, and controlling the flow of information is one of the things he considers at all times. It almost makes you wonder why the media insists on having daily pressers with him, since they have all pretty much figured out that he is withholding more than he is giving up. JG obviously wants to go into a game knowing more about the other guys' plans than they do about his own.

I wonder how that affects the relationship between Head Coach and Owner? Jerry is pretty much the opposite from Jason, and has repeatedly shown a willingness to talk about almost anything with almost anyone, including random guys holding cell phones in bars. Normally I would think this would lead to a great deal of tension, but there aren't any signs that I can make out that this is an issue between the two. Perhaps this is the way they both want it. Jerry never has to worry about fighting for the spotlight, since JG is always shunning it and leaving the information starved media to come to him and let him bloviate. And Jason may like it that way, since he is well aware that lack of knowledge will not silence JJ. And if JJ gives the press the wrong impression about something, then doesn't that help JG in achieving his objectives? I even have to wonder if maybe he might drop some deliberate bits of misdirection on Jerry, just to get some disinformation going about the team?

Some of that may be a bit far fetched, but I do think that the two are quite comfortable with their respective roles in talking to the media. And I think it is very functional for them, since the press may be a little less willing to press JG for details he doesn't want to divulge when they know they can get something out of JJ, even if it is on a totally unrelated topic. JJ gets to be the center of attention, and JG gets to continue his role as the Red Haired Enigma.

JG must feel pretty good about things, judging from his answer to the last question Hansen dropped on him.

If you could say something to Jerry Jones and not be fired, what would you say?

Garrett: I don't think I could say anything to him that would prompt him to fire me. I appreciate the opportunity he's given me. I appreciate the approach he takes as owner of our football team.

Wait. Is that more Garrettspeak?

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