The scene is week four of the 2009 football season. Coming off a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos, pre-season-Super-Bowl-favorite Dallas Cowboys are now squarely in the midst of the failure discussion with a 2-2 record.
The security of Wade Phillips job is in flux… again. The media chirps onward about all the talent on the Cowboys roster and how they continue to underachieve. They proceed to win nine of their last 12, advance to the playoffs and earn their first playoff win in over a decade. Fast forward to 2010, and the Cowboys are 1-3 and, you guessed it, back in the failure discussion.
By now, no one should be surprised by the hyperbolic nature of media coverage. There is little interest in facts and gobs of interest in generating attention grabbing headlines. In many ways, the Dallas Cowboys (and Wade Phillips) are a victim to this machine. Every season the Cowboys enter the year as preseason favorites to go to the Super Bowl. The dynamics of their team seem to be irrelevant; it’s much easier to speculate that America’s most profitable football franchise is also the best team… after all, that is where the money is.
These “experts” and “analysts” give little deference to the composition of the Cowboys roster or how they failed to upgrade areas of weakness from last season (namely safety) while weakening one of their major strengths (offensive line). Instead, they tout the team as Super Bowl favorites and criticize them when they fail to live up to their lofty and unrealistic standards.
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Even still, Wade Phillips' future lies squarely in the hands of Jerry Jones. Jerry is a man who likes to win. He’s also a man who likes control. Wade fits well with Jerry because he’s a good ole boy who’s also a yes man. The Bill Parcells experiment didn’t last because Parcells wants his way and Jerry wants his. Wade gives Jerry that power. That alone strengthens the likelihood that he remains the Cowboys coach.
I’m not sure Jerry cares what the media or his own fanbase believes about Phillips as a coach.
I do know that if the Cowboys finish this season as they did last year, they may as well all get prepared for the same pre-season ritual in 2011, because Wade Phillips won’t be going anywhere.