In an interview to be aired Sunday on NFL Gameday Morning (NLFN, 9:00 a.m ET), Cowboys coach Wade Phillips applies his lips to the buttocks of the man who’ll determine whether Phillips returns for the 2010 season.
“On a personal level, I like Jerry [Jones],” Phillips tells Michael Irvin. “I mean he’s a fun guy to be around and I enjoy being around him.”
Phillips also likes the fact that the owner of the team is also its G.M.
“It’s a great situation in that a lot of places, you have to go through
the General Manager to get to the owner,” Phillips said. “Right here,
you go straight to the General Manager, the owner, the whole thing, so
if you think something ought to be done a certain way or you ought to
get a certain player, those kind of things, there’s no middle man. And
if you have a reason for doing things, you know, he’ll listen. He makes
the final decision on things, but I think he’s a good listener, too.”
And that’s the fundamental difference between Jones and owners who meddle in the affairs of their teams. Jones has to meddle; he hired himself to be the G.M.
As a result, Jones can take much more of the credit for the success of his team than the other 31 folks who write the checks to NFL players.
To make it work, of course, Jones needs a head coach who is willing to defer to a G.M. who never played in the NFL, scouted in the NFL, coached in the NFL, or did anything in the NFL other than earn enough money outside the NFL to buy an NFL team. So if Jones fires Phillips, Jones will have to find someone else who’ll ultimately do whatever Jones tells him to do.
The problem is that the best football coaches typically aren’t wired that way.