1990: Head coach Jimmy Johnson (left) and owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys stand together prior to the start of a Cowboys game at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Allen Dean Steele/Allsport
Following the 2007 season, when the Wade Phillips-led Cowboys went 13-3 in the regular season, made the "final 8" of the NFL playoffs and fell flat on their collective face against the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was one of the biggest names in the head coaching job carousel.
Garrett had led the Cowboys offense to unbelievable heights with Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and a combination of Marion Barber and Julius Jones at running back, and Garrett was the leading candidate for several head coaching jobs, most notably the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, who both actually offered him their respective jobs.
But Garrett declined, opting to stick around in Dallas as the NFL's highest paid assistant and lie in wait for Wade Phillips to retire or get run out of town so he could take over lead the Cowboys to the promised land.
This couldn't be how he envisioned it, but now he has that chance. Sort of, anyway.
Cowboys coaching legend Jimmy Johnson told Dan Patrick on Thursday that he was surprised Garrett didn't take one of those two jobs, and invoked his inner Sarah Palin while doing so.
"I was surprised he didn't take one of those two jobs," Johnson told Patrick. "I've always been a little bit of a maverick and gypsy myself; I would have taken a head coaching job rather than have the patience to stay as an assistant."
And by passing up those job offers, Garrett ended up hurting his stock, and you'd have to think he privately regretted the decision, especially seeing how the Falcons and Ravens have done in the league compared to the Cowboys since then.
But now Garrett has a chance to reclaim his golden boy status with a strong finish for the Cowboys, and might even earn a shot to fulfill his dream and coach the team he made his name as an NFL backup with — the Dallas freakin' Cowboys!
And arguably the most loved coach in Cowboys history (it's really just a two-horse race) said he thinks Garrett will get that chance, especially with a win over the Lions on Sunday.
"Well, I would think that he should win this ball game against Detroit and that would put him 2-0," Johnson said. "I think if he can have a decent record and if the team plays the way they did against the Giants, I think that he probably should be the head coach.