Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he doesn't anticipate making any coaching changes in the off-season. Considering he expects to win Sunday's do-or-die game against the Philadelphia Eagles I have no reason not to believe him. If you think, however, that Jones won't look to make changes if the Cowboys lose that game and finish the season at 9-7 and out of the playoffs, you're crazy.
If this was any other team in any other year and we were talking about any other owner, Wade Phillips would not be coaching for his job on Sunday. He would be secure in the knowledge that win or lose, he'd back next season to right a ship that unexpectedly went askew after a 13-3 season last year.
But this is a Cowboys team owned by a win-at-all-cost competitor, moving into a brand new $1.3 billion stadium next year. I'm sorry, but there is no way I can see Jones allowing the Cowboys to move into their new palace with a lame-duck coach.
By all accounts, Phillips is a great guy (maybe too great a guy at times) and a great defensive coordinator. The problem is he has yet to prove that he's a great head coach. If he loses on Sunday, his career head coaching record will be a respectable 70-49, but he will still hold a 0-4 playoff record. For a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 1996 (losing its past six post-season games) the last thing it needs is a head coach who doesn't know how to win in the playoffs as well.
Do you really think an owner of a billion-dollar team who is spending over a billion dollars on a new stadium will all of a sudden get frugal when it comes to finding a head coach? Jones may be tremendously loyal to Phillips, but this is business, and Jones didn't get to where is in life by sticking by people who can't get him to where he wants to go.
He is rightfully sticking by his coach and his team going into their biggest game of the season, but I would be shocked if Jones didn't already have short list of big-name coaches handy in case the Cowboys falter and completely miss the playoffs with a roster that won 13 games and boasted 13 Pro Bowlers last season. I'd expect to see the names Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren and Brian Billick -- three coaches who have won Super Bowls since the Cowboys' current playoff drought -- at the top of that list.
Cowher would clearly be the dream choice and would instantaneously invigorate a fan base growing tired of Phillips' lackadaisical style and light a fire under a roster that could use big-chinned mustached coach getting in their collective faces from time to time. For those who think a Cowher-and-Jones marriage would never work, ask yourself this: Who thought Bill Parcells would ever work for Jones before they joined forces in an amicable partnership that lasted four years?
Jones may be loyal and steadfast in his commitment to Phillips and the current coaching staff, but make no mistake about it; he's a winner who has always been willing to pay top-dollar for big names and superstars who can get him what he wants – another Super Bowl. There is no way that logic will not extend into his decision on who will be coaching the Cowboys heading into their new stadium next year.