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Cowboys head coach choice: Experience versus giving it the old college try

Which way should the Cowboys go?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our long national nightmare is over. Okay, it wasn’t that long, it wasn’t exactly national, and nightmare might be too strong of a word. But, the Cowboys finally did the deed and officially cut the cord with Jason Garrett. That means they are on the hunt for a new head coach.

It’s been a long time since the Cowboys were basically holding open auditions for the top spot given that Garrett was a shoe-in after he replaced Wade Phillips as the interim coach back in 2010. It’s been all the way since Bill Parcells retired after the 2006 season that the Cowboys were looking at a wide variety of personnel to be their head coach. Just for history's sake, here’s a listing of coaches they interviewed back then to replace Parcells besides Phillips and Garrett.

Todd Bowles, Tony Sparano, Todd Haley, Ron Rivera, Norv Turner, Mike Singletary and Jim Caldwell.

Those coaches came from the professional ranks. Which brings up the interesting question for this go-around - will Jerry Jones stick with the pros, or will he dip into the college ranks?

It was just earlier this season when Jones sounded downright sour on the idea of hiring a college coach.

“College coaches have the lowest, at head coach coming directly into head coach, have the lowest percentage rate of success as opposed to coming from coordinator, as opposed to coming from the NFL, or as opposed to coming from a head coaching job in the NFL,” Jones said on the K&C Masterpiece show. “College football has the lowest rate of success. It’s pretty obvious. They have to get acquainted with personnel. College coaches spend Sunday working; it’s one of their biggest work (days of the week). So, in many cases, they’re not that familiar with the personnel.

”Now, that’s a big deal because there are coaches that understand almost the practice habit of opposing teams. And then, it’s particularly understanding of any input that you want from them regarding personnel. So you pay a price for somebody to get up to date that haven’t spent the prior months or years in the NFL. And then, just the nature of the game, and again, college coaches don’t spend a lot of time watching this game. They work on Sunday, hard. So getting up to snuff, I’m reminded that we won one football game the first year that we came and brought Jimmy in.”

We know that Jones thinks he has assembled a roster that is talented enough to win now. He has Super Bowl aspirations and not down the road, but for next year. Based on that and the way he thinks about college coaches, you might think one could rule out that idea.

Then again, in the same interview he had this to say when asked about Lincoln Riley.

“Well, I am impressed with him,” Jones said of Riley. “But boy, I am impressed with Baylor’s (Matt) Rhule, too. Those are two outstanding coaches at the stadium this weekend. That’s just that. They’ve done great jobs. They’ve positioned their teams. They’re sound in the way they’re approaching their game. That was a great chance to see a couple of great coaches out there.”

We are also told that the Cowboys are interested in “taking the temperature” of Riley to see if he’s interested in the pro game. Let’s also not forget that Jones has had his biggest success in the NFL when he has hired college coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer (yes, Switzer road the roster Johnson assembled, but he still was a college coach hire). It’s also been said the Cowboys have interest in Urban Meyer and Matt Rhule, if not more college coaches.

So where do you stand BTB? Are you interested in an experienced NFL hand to manage the roster and hit the ground running, or are you looking for some fresh blood from the college ranks to spice things up with new ideas.


The new Cowboys coach should be:

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    An NFL coach/coordinator
    (578 votes)
  • 24%
    A college head coach
    (184 votes)
762 votes total Vote Now

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