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What now?

The Bill Parcells Era has ended in Big D. The conventional wisdom over the last few days was that he would return. After spending a couple of weeks in the office working after the season, with reports of him going to the Senior Bowl, and then other reports of him contacting potential assistant coaches led most to believe that the Tuna had one more run in him. But it's not to be as Parcells exits the stage and opens up a whole slew of questions for the Dallas Cowboys. Things are going to get spicy at Valley Ranch.

I'm sad to see Bill Parcells go, although if he feels he didn't have what it took for another run, then it's for the best. He leaves behind a mixed legacy in Dallas. He never achieved what he was brought here to do and that was to lead Dallas to a Super Bowl. The Cowboys fell far short of that goal, never even winning a playoff game under Parcells. But the Tuna does leave behind a roster stocked with youth and potential, and he might have left behind the Cowboys franchise QB. So we may not totally appreciate what he did in Dallas until a few years down the road.

The Dallas Cowboys future is wide open. With Parcells, we had a pretty good idea of what kind of team we would be and what kind of organization we would be. We even knew what kind of press conferences we would get. Now, anything can happen. The Cowboys are at a crossroads as an organization; they have a roster full of talent that has yet to reach its potential. The new coach will be expected to win quickly. Jerry Jones has to decide along some broad parameters. Go outside the organization or stay within. Go with a coach who plays the 3-4 defense or allow the new coach to do whatever they like. Go with a strong, established veteran or give someone young a chance.

Now comes the scary part. What does this mean in terms of Jerry Jones' involvement in on the field issues? The Cowboys function better as a franchise when Jerry Jones leaves the football stuff to a strong head coach. This hire will be crucial to the Cowboys future - that's a given - but it will also show how much Jones has learned along the way. Has he learned the lesson of deferring to the football guys and letting a head coach do his job without interference? We'll know that over the next few weeks and on into the season.

Speculation on who the next coach will be starts now. Wade Phillips is the name that I've heard the most, but only in speculation, and not from the lips of any Cowboys' official. In reality, I guess that almost any name is on the table.

I'll have a more in-depth look at the Parcells Era later, plus a lot more speculation on what the new coach will face.

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