Last year at around this time, it was announced that the Cowboys coach staff would coach one of the two Pro Bowl teams. Generally, the highest-seeded losers in the divisional round of the playoffs coach the two Pro Bowl teams.
The Cowboys coaching staff will likely get another chance at coaching a Bowl game this year, as they stand a very good chance of coaching one of the sides in the Senior Bowl this year. Except it won't be because they were particularly successful. In fact, quite the opposite, as the Senior Bowl site explains:
Who coaches the Senior Bowl?
National Football League coaching staffs coach the two Senior Bowl teams each year. The staffs are determined in cooperation with the NFL. The teams with the lowest winning percentage that season usually get the first opportunity to coach in the game, but only if a majority of their staff - and head coach - are intact.
Here are the four teams with the worst coaching records:
- Titans (3-13) - Interim HC Mike Mularkey will interview for the permanent job, but there are plenty of other names floating around Nashville.
- Browns (3-13) - Fired Head Coach Mike Pettine, and fired GM Ray Farmer for good measure as well.
- Chargers (4-12) - fired offensive coordinator Frank Reich along with five assistant coaches, but oddly kept head coach Mike McCoy
- Cowboys (4-12) - All's quiet at Valley Ranch.
The Cowboys have the dubious distinction of owning the worst record in the NFC and have an intact coaching staff, especially relative to the other teams with similar or worse records. And Jason Garrett has indicated the Cowboys are prepared to accept if asked to coach a team in Senior Bowl
"If we have the opportunity we're going to take full advantage of it," Garrett said. "You're there for a week with the players so you see them in a pro football environment. We would meet in practice like we would here so you get a chance to see them up close and spend the days with them both in the meetings and on the practice field and obviously see how they respond to our system of football and how we want to coach. And then you get a chance to coach them in the ballgame. So it's really the best up-close-and-personal look that you get of these players through the whole draft process."
The Cowboys management, coaching staff and scouts make the make the trip to the Senior Bowl every year as part of their pre-draft player evaluation process. But this time they wouldn't just be observers, they'll be on the field and in meetings with draft prospects the entire Senior Bowl week, which could give the Cowboys' coaches and scouts a much better take on an important part of the 2016 draft class.
Of course, there's always the danger that the coaches find a "pet cat" or two during Senior Bowl Week. The "pet cat" is a Parcells-ism, a term Bill Parcells popularized in Dallas when he was the head coach for the Cowboys. The term referred to a prospect whom a coach, scout or owner had taken a particular liking to, often based on little more than a whim, and whom they would then try to draft, regardless of what the scouting consensus was.
Overall though, getting to spend significant time with with the Seniors from this year's draft class has got to be an advantage for the Cowboys, though it might not change their drafting approach much. Last year, when the Cowboys didn't coach at the Senior Bowl, they still drafted seniors with seven of their eight draft picks (8 of 9 if you include La'el Collins). Randy Gregory was the only junior the Cowboys selected.