Jason Garrett is uncomfortable, just like his boss Jerry Jones promised he would be. All around him heads have been rolling and changes coming. Skip Peete, running backs coach, gone. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, gone. His own brother John, tight ends coach, all but gone. Rumor has it his play calling duties will soon be…you got it.
How wistfully must young Garrett look to the east? Remember when he was the hottest commodity in the coaching ranks? Remember when he was interviewing in places like Baltimore, Atlanta and Oakland?
I bet he does. I bet he remembers how he could have had the Baltimore job. The Atlanta one, too. Both the Ravens and Falcons were ready to walk to the altar with the redheaded stranger and say, “I do.”
Only, he didn’t. He had his eye on a more attractive opportunity. His suitor would not publicly say that Garrett would be the next Cowboys’ coach, but there was this wink-wink promise ring.
So, why go to Baltimore or Atlanta? Why marry just some girl when the homecoming queen is eyeing you? Besides, neither the Ravens nor the Falcons had the one thing every NFL team needs to really have a great chance to win a Super Bowl: a quality quarterback.
The Cowboys had Romo. Who did they have?
With Garrett turning them down, the Atlanta Falcons went with the most generically-named coach you never heard of. Some dude named Mike Smith. How droll.
The Ravens went with the other brother: John Harbaugh, the one that never played in the NFL.
Oh, about that quarterback thing. The Ravens found this guy named Joe Flacco in the draft and the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan (aka, Matty Ice.)
In five years, Smith’s Falcons have amassed a 56–24 record. Twice, they have finished the regular season with the NFC’s best record. Tomorrow, they will host the NFC championship game. Just one win from glory.
Harbaugh has done even better. Three times in his five years, the Ravens have made it to the AFC championship game. Tomorrow, riding the emotional high of sending Ray Lewis into the twilight with one more ring, the Ravens will face off with the Patriots for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch (Valley Ranch, that is), things are not so cozy. The homecoming queen has warts. Her daddy is a genuine nut case that thinks he knows how to do everything better than you. The quarterback you thought would carry you to the ball is the biggest tease in the NFL. He is brilliant and beautiful one moment and losing ugly the next. The ugly thing always shows up at the worst time. The chariot becomes a pumpkin. The beauty is not enough of a beast. The glass slipper keeps slipping off, along with the brass ring.
Like an old preacher named Vance Havner used to say, “You can get married in an orange grove and still get a lemon.”
Happy anniversary, Jason.