Wade Phillips still miffed over his departure from Dallas

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Wade Phillips has had a long and successful career as a defensive coordinator. But as a head coach, things haven’t worked out so well, and he’s still miffed over the way things went down during his last full-time head-coaching job, in Dallas.

Phillips writes in his forthcoming autobiography that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hired Jason Garrett to be the team’s offensive coordinator before hiring Phillips to be the head coach, and that Jones later gave Garrett a raise that paid him more than Phillips was making. When Phillips asked for a better deal for himself, Jones made him an offer that Phillips didn’t think was commensurate with the success he’d had to that point.

“I took the deal, although I still didn’t think it was right,” Phillips wrote, as excerpted by Deadspin. “Jerry can do what he wants to do as owner, obviously. I just didn’t think it was right that an assistant coach was making more than a head coach. He could have paid me more. He had plenty of money. Still does. But he’s a businessman and his business side made that decision.”

The Cowboys began the following season with a 13-7 loss that Phillips pins on Garrett for calling a risky play at the end of the first half that turned into a fumble and a defensive touchdown.

“I didn’t know Jason was going to run a play after having a ten-yard penalty and only four seconds on the clock instead of kneeling on the ball, which was what we should have done,” Phillips wrote.

Phillips was fired midway through that season, with a 1-7 record. Garrett took over as interim coach the rest of the way, went 5-3 over the final eight games, and was given the job on a permanent basis after the season. Phillips thinks he would have turned the team around over the second half of the season the same way Garrett did, if only Jones would have given him the chance.

“I felt like—and I still feel like—we could have won those last two games as well. You never know when it’s going to turn around, but that didn’t happen,” Phillips wrote.

Ultimately, Phillips realizes that Jones owns the team, but Phillips thinks Jones made the wrong move by firing him.

“It all comes back to the fact that the guy who owns the team can do whatever he wants to do even if you don’t think it makes a lot of sense,” Phillips wrote.

Phillips is ordinarily one of the most genial men in the NFL. But he doesn’t sound like he has particularly warm feelings toward Jones or Garrett.

54 responses to “Wade Phillips still miffed over his departure from Dallas

  1. Would have to agree with Wade. One of the best defensive coaches in the game – seems as though he didn’t get a fair chance.

  2. When Jones paid Garrett more than Phillips, the writing was on the wall. Phillip’s fate was already sealed. Jones’ intention to replace Phillips with Garrett should have been obvious. The details of what followed on the football field area almost irrelevant and were essentially pretense for Jones to fire Phillips.

  3. “I took the deal, although I still didn’t think it was right.”

    Something about this sentence is just very Wade Phillipsy.
    I doubt you would see Parcells, Belichick, or Jimmy Johnson taking the money.

    Maven of a coordinator. Absolute fodder as a head man.

  4. We’ve all heard plenty about “Bridge” Quarterbacks… Wade Phillips was clearly a Bridge coach until Jason Garrett was ready to take over.

    Everyone in football seemed to know that, except apparently Phillips.

  5. To this day it makes no sense that Jones didn’t just hire Garrett as HC. What was the point in making him have a cup a cup of coffee at OC on his way from being a QB coach to a HC?

  6. No doubt all is true, but I would think Wade should concentrate on the mess that is the LA Rams.

  7. Didn’t know at that time, but Jason Garrett definitely threw some games that season. An offense with Romo, Miles Austin, Roy Williams, rookie Dez Bryant, Martellus Bennett and Jason Witten – and they still struggle to score 20 pts.

    Wade was not given any say in the offensive meetings and Jones made it well-known that Garrett would be the heir-apparent.

  8. There was no way Phillips was staying on after losing in Green Bay. It was a debacle. He’d clearly lost the team. Wade was always a meek head coach.

    Jerry did not want to fire him and if you read any of the comments from the players after that event, it’s clear they took the brunt of Jones’ frustration and anger at having to fire Wade.

    As for the pay scale, that’s a corporate practice everywhere. There is no fairness in pay rates. Jones had to pay Garrett to keep him. Clearly, he did not have to pay Phillips to keep him. Players deal with it all the time, why is this suddenly news?

    There was no secret about Garrett being groomed to be the next HC for the Cowboys. I get that Wade has some sore feelings – understandable.

  9. Wade is pro’s pro, well-respected, and very wise. He’s rarely, if ever, spoken so harshly about anyone throughout his entire career. That speaks volumes about the “class” of the cowboys’ organization.

  10. I’ve seen a lot of sorry Cowboys games the last 20 years, but that game in Green Bay was the closest I’d seen a Dallas team outright quit.

    There was no coming back from that. It was a complete embarrassment.

    That aside, a lot of what Wade complains about sounds like things he should have been managing as a head coach. If he couldn’t do the job, then why should he have stayed?

  11. As a longtime cowboy fan, there has only been 2 cowboy coaches that deserve mention, Landry and Jimmy Johnson…. the rest are insignificant…

  12. Wade seems like a nice, decent human being.

    I have to admit though, I have never once have had the thought: “Wow, I really can’t wait for the day that Wade Phillips writes an autobiography!”

  13. Wow, a coach fired halfway through the season has semi-bad things to say about the organization. I, for one, am shocked by this. Because the one time I had my “letter of resignation” written for me I said nothing but great things about that company.

  14. Sour grapes. I remember nearly passing out from the anger I had watching Wade Phillips stand there dumbfounded as his team underachieved massively in his final season as head coach. He deserved to be fired. Complaining now is just revisionist history from him.

  15. I wonder if Wade included in his book the time when he was giving a speech about personal accountability and a player’s cell phone went off. Wade proceeded to ignore it and continue with his speech

    It’s well known in Dallas that while Wade was a great defensive mind he was also a spineless jellyfish. He would never confront players. If he had an issue with them, he would send Joe DeCamillis to talk to them.

  16. In hindsight, Wade should’ve made it clear to Jerry that he hires the coaches, but Wade was too weak for that. Wade keeps saying, “well, its his team and he can do whatever he wants.” The great coaches would never stand for that. Wade was never a good head coach anyways, considering his other stops..Denver and Buffalo.

  17. Well, Wade, if you wouldn’t have taken the Dallas job in the first place, you’d have gotten the Chargers job. And AJ Smith loved you!

    But no. You went to Dallas and left the Chargers to replace you with Norv Turner and Ted Cottrell, who promptly destroyed that great defense you built.

    I’m not bitter, Wade. Not at all.


  18. I always felt that a lot of the criticism for Romo “choking” was actually Garrett’s fault. I recall one game vs San Francisco where they built a 20+ pt lead, then instead of running clock and icing the game, he continually had Romo throw it. The defense quickly figured out that they were not going to run, and just sat back and played prevent, even though they were down. They ended up coming back and winning, and Romo was roundly criticized, when it was Garrett’s terrible play calling. Every year I hope he gets fired, and he does just enough to buy more time.

  19. As soon as Jerry hired Garrett as the OC Wade sholud’ve known what was up…I dont ever recall a HC not being able to hire his own staff and you’re hired after the HC and given full say on defensive assistants….thats BS!

  20. Sorry Wade, that argument doesn’t hold water.

    Did you forget how your other NFL HC jobs ended?

  21. Wade Phillips may not be much of a head coach, but if you folks think that Jason Garrett is anything more than a figurehead, then you don’t know Jerry Jones.

  22. Jerry has done well and he’s surrounded himself with people that he can control. He probably doesn’t always make the right decisions, but he won super bowls with two different head coaches, one of them was Barry Switzer. He’s got the Cowboys near the top again. I thought the Rams made a brilliant move hiring Wade to work alongside the youngster McVay. I understand where Wade is coming from, but I also understand where Jerry is coming from. I think Wade’s knowledge and experience will be put to good use in L.A.

  23. As a Bills fan I would take back Wade as our HC in a NY Minute…last coach that got us to the playoffs…

  24. Just another example of why the Cowboys will never see a championship with Jerrah running the circus in big D.
    Jerrah is still trying to show Jimmy Johnson he can win a SB on his own. Not happening.

  25. Look, the point is the Pats are the best run organization in the last 20 years and will continue to be for the near future. Everything else is irrelevant.

  26. I think Wade Phillips has been a fine professional. He never proved to be ideally suited as a Head Coach, but he has long been a tremendous coordinator and good personality. These quotes show why pride is considered a sin: it leads to some unnecessary ugly.

  27. don’t see why Wade would be upset. If anything, they did him a favor. He eventually won a SB with the Broncos. He deserved to get fired. He’s a great DC but a mediocre coach.

  28. Since he got fired by Jones.

    Wade 1 Superbowl wins

    Jason 0 Superbowl wins

    And yes that SB win in Denver was because of Wade.

  29. During wade’s tenure, the players renamed the training camp, “camp cupcake”, no surprise he lost the team, Garrett comanded the players respect because he was disciplined in his approach whereas Wade was just a pushover.

  30. I remember that year when Wade got fired. Trust me it needed to happen because the team was not responding to him or anything he was doing at the time. It is one thing to be losing by a slim amount and be 1-7 but Dallas was getting killed every game by like 20 pts. Wade will always be a good D- coordinator but not a good head coach. As far as money wise no an assistant should never get paid more than the head coach so Jerry had his man from the beginning and it showed. Garrett really has not done anything special either even though he did win coach of the year last year. It is the assistants that they have around him that have been doing great for the team. Garrett just sits there and claps at everything anymore.

  31. Wade is talking bout one play in the first half of the first game of the season and skipping over the fact he was 1-7 when fired.

    He was a clown of a head coach. He’s one of the best DC’s though. Peter Principle in action right there, folks.

  32. An old guy just whining, nothing to see here. Actually he’s been doing quite a bit of that over the last couple years. On twitter, sports radio 610 (Texans flagship station in Houston). He’s whined about Denver, Houston and now back to Dallas. Dear Wade, you’re a nice guy and a damn good defensive coordinator. Just stop with the crying already.

  33. Jones is a clown and this how you treat your employees. He will never win another Super Bowl unless he gets a real head coach like Jimmy Johnson. Some one that can coach through poor ownership culture.

  34. He took the job knowing all this.. if he didn’t know what plays were being called then that alone says he isn’t head coaching material

  35. Did Phillips mention that the team gave up on him that season as the records show?

    I am sure that was Jerry’s, Garrett’s, and Florio’s fault too.

    Bad look Wade, bad.

  36. “I didn’t know Jason was going to run a play after having a ten-yard penalty and only four seconds on the clock instead of kneeling on the ball, which was what we should have done,”

    Come on Wade, it was obvious to everyone else that you had ZERO control over Garrett and that you were only HC in name only. Don’t worry, JJ got his yes man HC that all of us Dallas fans were worried about happening when it was clear that you were HC in name only. But still doubt you would have done any better at HC in Dallas. At least you got a ring after you left so why so bitter?

  37. Everyone knows Jerry Jones is a dope when it comes to handling men. He will lavish praise and fall all over players who have a history of being bad guys, yet dump on a guy like Wade Phillips, who is one of the best guys in the sport and best defensive coordinators in the sport, too.

    Jones has this opinion of himself that he is a great football mind. But the proof he is dead wrong is what has he done since the Jimmy Johnson era ended? Yes, Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys, but everyone knows that was just Jimmy Johnson’s team, too.

    Jerry Jones proved he has no class when he fired the great Tom Landry while Tom was on a golf course. All Jerry Jones is is a wanna-be George Steinbrenner. The difference is, Steinbrenner won.

  38. The man was a gutless whiner who lived to make excuses and never took the blame upfront for anything. His team had a 1-7 record and was totally rudderless and he got fired for it. He was a consummately unimpressive head coach and its a wonder he was retained as long as he was. The fact that he saw fit to cravenly moan about it in writing is merely a testament to his own ineptitude and irrepressible, oft expressed, sense of self-pity.

  39. He was not a good head coach at all. He just needs to coach defense. That Parcells team was stacked he left Phillips and he ended on a 1-7 note (1-4 with Romo) his 3rd season. Great DC, Great guy, terrible head coach.

  40. Wade, don’t worry.

    Jason Garrett is a rent boy to Jerruh Jones – he is not a real head coach and last year was a freak one where the NFL didn’t discover until late that Dak, the Danish Ham, cannot handle a pass rush and evades it by running and has a horrific pass completion rate while being rushed; and when you just limit the bearded woman beater to a little over 100 yards, the team is not effective.

    2017 will be an embarrassment and since Garrett is losing his boyish looks, he’ll be like another one of Liberace’s loves. Gone.

  41. Garrett seemed to tank the play calling to get Philips fired. Ridiculous head-scratching calls were the norm. Suddenly, after Wade was fired, everything magically got better. Folks, that was not because Philips was holding them back. It was much more likely because Garrett wanted the job and needed Philips to be fired. Now that I see he was making more than Philips, it makes it even more likely. Jones probably told him he would be the next HC as soon as Wade is removed if things go bad.

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