It’s never fun to be a head coach in the NFL. You have to work 100-hour weeks. And, even if you do that, there’s no guarantee your boss is going to be happy with you. In fact, according to stats, there’s a very strong likelihood that you’re only going to stay in your job for 2 1/2 years, regardless of how much time you clock in at the office.
Wade Phillips has been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for a little over two and a half seasons. So, if you go by the averages, he’s actually something of a success. Congrats, Wade! You’re above average! But that hasn’t stopped people from wondering just when Jerry Jones will end up firing him. Phillips has always felt like a stopgap solution for the Cowboys in between hiring their next big name coach. His contract option for next year still hasn’t been picked up yet, making him something of a lame duck as we head into December. And Wade, at long last, is getting a little frisky about it.
Earlier yesterday, Jerry Jones was vaguely laying out various criteria for Phillips to keep his job. From the Dallas Morning News, we got to the blockquotes. what will it take for Wade to get contract picked up? Jones said:
"You're in coaching and then there's a lot of pressure to win, so that's there. But what we do here and how we get into these playoffs and get in with an advantage, have a game here [Cowboys Stadium], get a bye, all of those are things that look good for Wade."
But you’ll excuse Wade if he’d rather not hear people, least of all his boss, muse on what he needs to do to prove himself. Wade, who has never won a playoff game, defended his record:
Hours after owner Jerry Jones responded to a question about his coach's future, Phillips wondered aloud how many coaches have won more games than him since the start of the 2007 season. The answer is one – New England's Bill Belichick…
“…we have won some games here. I don't know if people realize that… I don't know what the determining factor is, I've never known. I didn't know when I was in Buffalo and we were 29-19 in three years that I was going to get fired. I thought I did a heck of a job.
"All I do is try to do the best I can as a coach. I work hard at that. I don't think I get a lot of respect for that, but that's the way it goes."
"I don't know," Phillips said. "I don't. I've won 75 games [not counting three more wins as an interim] as a head coach so far in eight years. That's not bad compared to a lot of other people.
"Now, I understand the playoffs and so forth. I understand all that. But I think – I think, and it's my opinion – that winning breeds winning. If you're a winner, you're going to come out fine whether it's regular season or playoffs sooner or later.
"If you learn to coach and win games, then you're going to do well. And I'm confident we're going to do that."
Could it be? Dare we say that Wade is actually ASSERTING himself? Is that possible? It would appear so. Not only that, Wade is right. Coaches like Tony Dungy and Bill Cowher were once questioned for their inability to bring home a championship. Both proved that their consistently winning ways would pay off down the road with Super Bowl titles. Can Phillips do the same? One thing’s for sure: it’s nice to see the Cowboys head coach go out of his way to defend himself. WADE ISN’T GONNA BE YOUR WHIPPIN’ BOY NO MORE, DOUBLE J!