“Consistency,” he would say in his supremely authoritative and clarion voice, “Thou are a jewel.”
I am inclined to agree. Unless, of course, you are consistently bad. Or, worse (if you happen to be in the NFL), consistently mediocre. I say mediocre is worse, because of the way the NFL draft is set up to help bad teams get well and good teams get even (with the ones below them) and middling teams keep muddling in the middle.
I like Jason Garrett. I do. I like his no-nonsense, straightforward approach. I take comfort in his superior intelligence. I like it that he responds evenly to disaster and triumph. Search through past articles and you will see that I have been a strong supporter of the Red Ball Express. I had high hopes for his tenure here. I felt he might be the one person in the world who could make Jerry Jones feel good about himself as a “football man” and still manage to actually coach the team.
Jason Garrett is consistent and consistency is a jewel. In consistency there is predictability. In consistency there is comfort and familiarity.
Trouble here is that Garrett’s Cowboys have been consistently mediocre. They have been really good at times and really, really bad at others. But in the end, they are right in the middle of the NFL pack. Every. Single. Time.
Garrett took over halfway through the 2010 season. He won five and lost three. In both 2011 and 2012, his team finished 8-8. With one week to go in the 2013 season,they are 8-7.
Now, here is the positive side of this mediocrity. In each of the past three seasons, this one included, his team has positioned itself to play what amounts to an NFC East championship game in week 17. Win the game, win the division. Lose and go home. In 2011, it was the Giants who beat the Cowboys 31-14. In 2012, the Redskins skinned Garrett’s boys, 28-18. This year, they meet the high-flying Eagles. Three different years. Three different opponents. The Giants, Redskins, and Eagles each take their swipe at the postseason and then recede. Garrett’s Cowboys keep playing for the division title. And they keep losing.
If the Cowboys, who figure to be without franchise quarterback and sometimes football wizard Tony Romo, should lose to the Eagles, they will, for the third consecutive year, finish exactly .500.
Consistency. Thou art a jewel. But in Garrett’s case, you are more like cubic Zirconium than a diamond.