Various opinions exist regarding the desirability of the head-coaching job in Dallas. On the positive side, it’s one of the highest-profile jobs in all of sport. On the negative, owner Jerry Jones isn’t the run-of-the-mill meddler — he’s also the G.M.
Regardless of the actual perception held by the potential candidates, Jones apparently has tried to dress up the position by suggesting that one or more coaches who have lifted the Lombardi Trophy have committed a serious breach of coaching industry protocol by seeking out the job even before Wade Phillips was fired.
“I will say that before I made the decision with Wade Phillips, I had Super Bowl-winning coaches solicit this job,” Jones said during a weekly appearance on KLRD-FM in Dallas, via Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.
If Jones isn’t merely puffing up the position, his words mean that at least two coaches who have won Super Bowls expressed interest in the position while Wade Phillips still had the job. For Jones, such conversations aren’t out of character. Nearly eight years ago, Jones reportedly courted Bill Parcells before Dave Campo had been let go.
But since the fraternity of Super Bowl-winning coaches who: (1) are still living; and (2) aren’t already coaching another NFL team is fairly small, we’ve compiled the list of possible suspects.
1. Tony Dungy, coach of the Super Bowl XLI champion Colts.
2. Bill Cowher, coach of the Super Bowl XL champion Steelers.
3. Jon Gruden, coach of the Super Bowl XXXVII champion Buccaneers.
4. Brian Billick, coach of the Super Bowl XXXV champion Ravens.
5. Dick Vermeil, coach of the Super Bowl XXXIV champion Rams.
6. Mike Holmgren, coach of the Super Bowl XXXI champion Packers.
7. Barry Switzer, coach of the Super Bowl XXX champion Cowboys.
8. George Seifert, coach of the Super Bowl XXIX and XXIV champion 49ers.
9. Jimmy Johnson, coach of the Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII champion Cowboys.
10. Joe Gibbs, coach of the Super Bowl XXVI, XXII, and XVII champion Redskins.
11. Bill Parcells, coach of the Super Bowl XXV and XXI champion Giants.
12. Mike Ditka, coach of the Super Bowl XX champion Bears.
13. Tom Flores, coach of the Super Bowl XVIII and XV champion Raiders.
14. Chuck Noll, coach of the Super Bowl XIV, XIII, X, and IX champion Steelers.
15. John Madden, coach of the Super Bowl XI champion Raiders.
16. Don Shula, coach of the Super Bowl VIII and VII champion Dolphins.
If it were only one Super Bowl-winning coach, our guess would be Billick. If it’s two, then our guess is that Billick called twice.
Though, on the surface, Billick doesn’t make sense because he doesn’t have enough pop or sizzle attached to his name, Jones seems to be willing to go with a lesser-known guy. “John Madden told me the Cowboys do not need a big-name coach,” Jones said, per MacMahon. “The Cowboys have a big name. What the Cowboys need is a good coach.”
In other words, get ready for several more years of Kukla, Fran, and Jerry.