On Sunday, the Cowboys mothership noted the 18 people to be affiliated with this weekend’s conference championships that were at one point involved with Dallas.
On Monday the Star-Telegram recounted when the Cowboys were searching for a new head coach after Bill Parcells retired following the 2006 season. Mike Zimmer wasn’t even interviewed.
Among those interviewed were Norv Turner, Ron Rivera, Gary Gibbs, Jim Caldwell and Mike Singletary. Jerry interviewed three men on that current staff: Tony Sporano, Todd Bowles and Todd Haley.
Not Mike Zimmer.
First of all, it’s pretty amazing to consider how many people in that line ultimately became NFL head coaches. Literally every single one of them except for Gary Gibbs held that title at one point. But I digress.
Moving on, it’s perhaps more amazing with hindsight at our disposal to know that Jerry Jones didn’t interview Mike Zimmer. The only coach on this list who has had more NFL success is Ron Rivera, and even that’s debatable if you really want it to be.
Dallas instead set the foundation for an eventual Jason Garrett-led squad when Jerry Jones hired him as the team’s offensive coordinator before he hired Wade Phillips as head coach. Mike Zimmer went to Cincinnati, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Cowboys fans have watched Zimmer’s successes in Cincinnati (where Cowboys cast-offs like Adam Jones, Terence Newman, Roy Williams, and Tank Johnson also wound up) and Minnesota with a close eye, wondering what may have been.
11 years after watching Zimmer walk away, Dallas is at the very least flirting with a similar mistake. Defensive assistant coach Matt Eberflus (linebackers and passing game coordinator) is all but officially headed to Indianapolis to serve as their defensive coordinator.
There’s obviously a chance that nothing comes of all this and that Dallas doesn’t ever regret the move to let Eberflus walk, but looking at the Matt Eberflus situation feels lot like looking at the Mike Zimmer one.
Dallas is choosing to stay the course with their current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who reportedly was mulling over retirement. It’s hard to expect them to make a move when the defense showed promise last season, and it’s understandably hard to watch Eberflus move on elsewhere.
The timing of everything concerning the Dallas Cowboys and Matt Eberflus just didn’t work out, unfortunately. His departure means whatever success he has now will be elsewhere, but if it is a lot of success it will be hard not to wonder what if again the way we do with Mike Zimmer.
It does have an element of weirdness, though, if we’re being honest. The same season, the same week actually, that Mike Zimmer reaches the most success yet with an appearance in the NFC Championship is the same week Matt Eberflus moves on. Is this the universe starting the process all over again?
Here’s to hoping, whatever we hope.