There's a lot of conjecture about just what kind of record Jason Garrett needs to achieve in order to keep the Cowboys job for the 2011 season.
If he goes 5-3 is that enough or does he need that sixth win? What if he beats the Eagles twice to go with his win over the Giants while going .500? Decent questions, but everyone might be overestimating just how much weight the won-loss record will hold over Jerry Jones's decision.
What will matter? Things like the dress code that Garrett has put into place for the team. It caught a lot of notice when Marion Barber violated it during the trip to New York and now it's in the news again with the revelation that there's a code in place for home games as well. Players will have to wear slacks, collared shirts and dress shoes to JerryWorld. That's slightly less strict than the jackets required policy on the road, but it's still a big change.
Why does something like this matter? After all, Bill Belichick has won three Super Bowls dressing like someone you'd find living under a bridge, so we can't really argue that the clothes make the man.
All true, but that isn't going to stop plenty of columnists from praising Garrett for instiuting a dress code. He's already become a national darling for winning one game and people are falling all over themselves to find new ways to canonize him for creating a more "professional" atmosphere. Those kinds of writers and pundits eat up things like dress codes as if they were doused in gravy.
We're not suggesting that Garrett is doing anything other than trying to make his new life more like a Princeton eating club. If someone did want to argue that this dress code was part of a calculated effort to win over that constituency, though, we could probably be brought around to that point of view.
After the humiliation that rained down on the Cowboys over the first eight weeks, the fact that Garrett has gotten nothing but glowing reviews in the media certainly is going to play a role regardless of the team's record come Week 17. Jones wants to be portrayed in a positive light and he wants the Cowboys to be seen as one of the league's gold standards. Heaps of praise from local and national media is a good way to attain and keep that status as is having a coach who is able to play that game as well as Garrett has played it in his first two weeks on the job.
There's a career counseling tip that tells you to dress for the job you want rather than the job you have. Garrett, who wants to drop the interim part of his current title, clearly subscribes to that point of view.
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