For only the eighth time in their 59-year history, the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a new head coach.
The team informed Jason Garrett Sunday that his contract, which ran through the 2019 season, would not be renewed for 2020.
In his nine-plus years as head coach, Garrett tallied a regular season record of 85-67, highlighted by three NFC East titles. Garrett's only trips to the playoffs were when the Cowboys won the division and the team notched Wild Card Round wins in 2014 and 2018, but never won a Divisional Round game. Therefore, they never made it to an NFC Championship Game or sniffed a Super Bowl berth.
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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released the following statement Sunday about the decision.
"We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
“His level of commitment, character and dedication to this organization has been outstanding at every stage of his career. In his nine full years as a head coach, he guided our team to three division championships while also having them in position to play for the NFC East title in the last game of the year in four other seasons. His tenure of leadership will be characterized by his ability to produce teams that always played with great effort, emotion and passion, and he represented our organization with great pride, loyalty and respect.
“Jason Garrett’s legacy with the Dallas Cowboys will always be that of someone who strived for greatness every day that he walked through the door, and as someone who instilled the virtues of enthusiasm, hard work and appreciation for the profession in all of the men who played with him and for him.
“He is, and always will remain, a cherished member of the Dallas Cowboys family, and his contributions to the organization are greatly appreciated.”
Before being mocked as "The Clapper," Garrett, 53, was also known as "The Chosen One." Following head coach Bill Parcells' retirement after the 2006 season, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hired Garrett to be his new offensive coordinator -- even before he hired Wade Phillips as head coach.
Garrett's first year as an NFL play-caller propelled Dallas to a 13-3 record, before a crushing home loss to the New York Giants, who would go on to win Super Bowl XLII. After that season, Garrett turned down head coaching offers from the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons to stay in Dallas as the highest-paid assistant coach in NFL history.
Cowboys fans were on board, too, and seemed to believe Garrett was the next Sean Payton, who worked as an assistant and quarterbacks coach under Parcells from 2003 to 2005. Payton left the Cowboys in 2006 to go on and have quick success in New Orleans before ultimately winning Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints in 2009.
Phillips, whose tenure was short at just three-and-a-half years, exited in the middle of the 2010 season with a 34-22 record (1-7 in his final eight games). After that bad start in 2010, Jones fired Phillips and named Garrett the interim head coach. A 5-3 mark in the second half of that season gave Jones the chance to finally hire Garrett as the franchise's eighth head coach.
In his first three seasons, Garrett would produce a back-to-back-to-back 8-8 seasons. With his contract in its final year, Garrett's 2014 squad won the NFC East with a record of 12-4 and he was named the NFL's Coach of the Year -- he was also given five more seasons on the job.
The next year the team stumbled and finished fourth in the NFC East with a 4-12 record.
The 2016 season looked like it would be another rough year. With quarterbacks Tony Romo and Kellen Moore both injured, the team would have to rely on untested fourth-round draft pick Dak Prescott under center and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott lining up behind him. Much to the surprise of about everyone in the NFL, the Cowboys finished at 13-3, tying a franchise record, after ripping off an 11-1 start.
The season ended with a heartbreaking home loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round and with Garrett being named AP Coach of the Year.
Dallas would then take turns again missing and then making the playoffs in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Coming off a 10-6 campaign in 2018, in which they fell to the Rams in the Divisional Round, the Cowboys were a trendy Super Bowl pick going into the 2019 season. After a 3-0 start, the team stumbled against Payton's Saints in a 12-10 loss and then stumbled some more against the Packers and the winless Jets. Suddenly, a season that started out with high expectations gave way to one full of disappointment.
It was a season that saw Jones, once the single largest Garrett supporter, seething after a loss in New England where he believed Garrett was out-coached, and then reduced to tears on Thanksgiving Day after blowout loss at home to the streaking Buffalo Bills.
In recent years, fans expressed their fatigue at Garrett appearing robotic in press conferences, often dodging or not answering questions posed by reporters and frequently referring to his "process."
After 10 years, Garrett didn't produce one Cowboys appearance in the NFC Championship Game. But neither has any other coach since Barry Switzer in 1995. To put that in perspective, 12 different NFC teams played in the conference title game instead of Garrett's Cowboys.
The only other NFC teams not to play in an NFC Championship Game in that time are the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins. Since the Cowboys' last appearance in 1995, the only other NFC team not reach the Super Bowl is the Minnesota Vikings, but the Vikings have played in four NFC Championship (1998, 2000, 2009, 2017) games since then.
Garrett won almost 60% of his regular games, but a losing playoff record of 2-3 was a letdown. During his tenure, Garrett employed three different offensive coordinators and cycled through four defensive coordinators. His staff never produced another NFL head coach.
After 10 years, Jones seemed to finally realize Garrett didn't give his team a game day advantage the way other respected head coaches in the NFL did. Garrett's weak game management and decision making never seemed to improve. Too many times the Cowboys didn't look ready at the start of games or just flat-out lost to an inferior club.
Garrett built his program around the word FIGHT. It's ironic in his final season as the Cowboys head coach, his team didn't produce enough FIGHT in a bad division to save his job.
The Cowboys have not named Garrett's replacement or said when they hoped to make an announcement.