Dallas Cowboys Fire Head Coach
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
We're going to talk football now, and yesterday's 45-to-seven loss to Green Bay was apparently more than Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones could take. Today, he fired head coach Wade Phillips, handing the reins to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
NPR's Wade Goodwyn is at Cowboys headquarters in Irving, Texas. Wade, a terrible showing from the Cowboys this year. Just how bad has it been?
WADE GOODWYN: It's been terrible. I mean, each week, Cowboy fans think it could not get worse than this week, and then the next week, it gets even worse.
And the offense never has been able to get going. The passing game and Tony Romo, I mean, this team has great talent at the wide receiver position: Miles Austin, Roy Williams, the rookie Dez Bryant. And with Romo as quarterback, a lot of the offensive problems seem to kind of be covered over.
But when Romo broke his collarbone, the offense just completely fell apart. There is no running game at all, and you're not going to score more than 10 points a game. The defense just gets discouraged, and now the defense has collapsed.
SIEGEL: And what goes without saying is Dallas is a place that takes its football very seriously.
GOODWYN: Yeah, I mean, this is the worst season since 1989, where they went one and 15. And the last three games, the Cowboys' defense has given up 35 or more points. And so I think we can safely say that along with our offensive line and offensive problems, the defense has now collapsed.
So it's turned into not only losing games but just getting crushed, and, you know, in the city of Dallas, the city's morale is connected to the Dallas Cowboy football team, and when they're doing this poorly, it makes everyone feel badly.
SIEGEL: Well, you were talking to the players today. What have you heard from them?
GOODWYN: Well, they're devastated. I mean, I think they're surprised, too. I don't think they expected Wade Phillips to be fired. There is contract negotiations going on. There's not at all sure that we're going to even have a season next year.
And the smart money was saying we're not going to fire Wade Phillips because nothing good could come out of that, but evidently, this last shellacking at the hands of the Green Bay Packers was just too much, and they've decided to go with - I think Jason Garrett is probably a stopgap measure.
But the players feel pretty bad. They feel responsible. They're taking responsibility for Wade getting fired, and they probably should.
SIEGEL: Well, tell us about Jason Garrett, who at least for now will be the head coach.
GOODWYN: He's, you know, he a young up-and-comer. I mean, two years ago, everyone was talking about he was going to be the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The offense has not done so well the last two years, so that talk has cooled.
But he's a talented, young offensive coordinator. I think we're going to see him take over the reins until Jerry Jones can find who the new permanent head coach is going to be for the Dallas Cowboys.
SIEGEL: Now compounding all this and adding insult to injury is the fact that Dallas hosts the Super Bowl this year and that they're playing in this new stadium, which is the football stadium to end all football stadiums.
GOODWYN: It's a billion-dollar stadium with, you know, an HD-TV screen in the middle of it that, you know, is every man's dream. Yeah, we were going to go - it was going to be the first time an NFL team had ever played the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Dallas Cowboys has gone deep into the playoffs. This year, we were going to contend for the Super Bowl and go to the Super Bowl and maybe win the Super Bowl, only we can't seem to win a football game during the regular season, and that's kind of getting in the way.
SIEGEL: Wade, we'll forgive you that we because the Cowboys are one and seven.
GOODWYN: Thank you so much.
SIEGEL: NPR's Wade Goodwyn, talking to us about the news from Dallas. Wade Phillips has been fired as the coach of the Cowboys.