When the Cowboys come into MetLife Stadium on Sunday, they will look to clinch the NFC East. Since losing to the Giants in Week 1, Dallas has rattled off 11 straight wins. That’s impressive with any roster, let alone a rookie quarterback and rookie running back. And former Giant quarterback Jason Garrett could win coach of the year for it.
The Giants have a history of seeing coaches in organization have success elsewhere. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry were famously coordinators in the 1950s under Jim Lee Howell. Bill Belichick won two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator under Bill Parcells. Sean Payton and John Fox were the coordinators under Jim Fassel when Big Blue made Super Bowl XXXV.
Although never a coach in the organization, Jason Garrett was the backup quarterback on that 2000 team. That’s easy to forget because despite being on the Giants roster for four seasons, Garrett never threw a pass for New York (not including one in the 4th quarter of the NFC Championship game).
The team wanted to find a way to keep the Princeton grad around. According to a 2010 Dallas Morning News article, Fassel wanted Garrett as his quarterbacks coach after Payton left for Dallas. General manager Ernie Accorsi thought Garrett could be a front office type.
Instead, Garrett continued to play until he became a coach with the Dolphins. (In fairness, it’s not like Garrett is a coach that got away, like Lombardi or Belichick. He wasn’t ready to be a head coach in 2004, and Tom Coughlin lasted through 2015.)
Garrett became offensive coordinator for Dallas, the team he played for from 1992-99. The highlight of his playing career came on Thanksgiving 1994, when he led the Cowboys to a 42-31 comeback win against the Packers.
After several seasons as offensive coordinator under Wade Phillips, Garrett was promoted to head coach of the Cowboys. His first game was when he led the 1-7 Cowboys into Giants Stadium and defeated the 6-2 Giants, a game which cost Big Blue when they missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
Now Garrett is still leading America’s Team, making him the second longest tenured coach in Cowboys history although he has awhile to go until he catches Tom Landry. He is the longest tenured coach Dallas has had in the Jerry Jones era.
The Cowboys went 4-12 last season, the worst record for the Cowboys since going 1-15 in 1989, Jones’ first year as owner. And with Tony Romo out, 2016 was supposed to be about the Giants and Redskins battling for the division title while the Cowboys and Redskins would go through growing pains with rookie quarterbacks.
The Giants went into Dallas and escaped with a 20-19 victory when Terrance Williams was tackled inbounds to end the game instead of Dan Bailey having a chance to kick a long field goal.
And that’s the one blemish on Dallas’ record. They’ve answered every call since then. That includes a win at Lambeau Field against the Packers. An overtime win against the Eagles. A last minute win at Pittsburgh. And holding off the Vikings in Minnesota. Dallas will come into MetLife rested, having last played on December 1. It was well- deserved rest after they won three games in 12 days.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are leading the way while Garrett has to answer questions about Jerry Jones and the possible return of Tony Romo.
Prescott and Elliott are not only getting offensive rookie of the year hype, but both might finish in the top five in MVP voting. And Garrett might be named Coach of the Year.