Coaching Arcs: Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett Header

Nabbing a football coaching job is the goal of many sports-minded folks, but becoming one of the 32 NFL head coaches is a whole other story. Those who attain one of the highest football coaching positions in the world have to work very hard to climb the ladder and often start out as football players.

Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, knows this tale all too well. He played his way through college up to the pros before his coaching career took off. Let’s trace the path to his head coaching job in the NFL.

Early Days

Jason Garrett was born in Pennsylvania, and entered high school with football in his blood. His father, Jim, was a seasoned NFL coach and scout. Jason played college ball at Princeton and majored in history. He was then named Ivy League’s Player of the Year his senior year. After college, Garrett joined the developmental squad for the Saints as an undrafted rookie.

Garrett eventually found his way to the Dallas Cowboys, where he played for seven seasons, primarily in a backup role behind Hall of Famer Troy Aikman. His final year in the pros took place in New York, where he backed up Kerry Collins during the Giants’ Super Bowl run in the  2000 season.

Beginning of Coaching Career

Timeline of Jason Garrett's coaching career.

 

Garrett’s coaching career got its start in 2005 when he joined the Miami Dolphins as the quarterbacks coach. He spent two years in this role before the Dallas Cowboys hired him as their offensive coordinator in 2007 and remained in that role (in addition to being the assistant head coach) until midway through the 2010 season. That’s when head coach Wade Phillips was fired, and Garrett was named interim in his stead.

Cowboys

The Cowboys got off to a miserable start in 2010, clocking only one win over eight games, but Garrett showed massive promise when his first half-season of effort netted a respectable 5-3 record. Before the 2011 season, Garrett retained his job as the Cowboys head coach. While the next three seasons ended with a tie record (8-8), Garrett led the team to the postseason in 2014.

Jason Garrett is manning the helm of a resurgent Dallas Cowboys team that has dominated opponents nearly all season long and has clinched a playoff berth behind rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. What will the postseason bring? It will be a wild ride as we find out.

While you’re following the rest of the Cowboys’ journey into the postseason and beyond, make sure you’re decked out in awesome swag from Fanatics.com.

Sources

The Super Bowl MVPs

Football is a team sport, but that doesn’t mean personal honors aren’t awarded. And while personal heroics are often awarded for the best performances over a season – All-Pro, Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year – there’s one game that’s a little bit different.

The NFL championship game between the winners of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) determines the best team of the season. However, the best individual player, whether offense or defense, is awarded MVP honors for his big plays on the big stage.

Do certain positions have a lock on this award? Does your team have to win the Big Game to earn the MVP? Here’s what you need to know about one of the greatest honors in professional football.

Positional Awareness

Fifty-one MVP awards have been issued after the final whistle, and over half of those were awarded to quarterbacks. While the belief is that defense wins championships, offensive players – quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers – have won the award over 75 percent of the time. However, 12 of the recipients played defense, and one was a special teams player.

Within this group of players, some individuals have won the award more than once. San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have both won the award three times. If the New England Patriots can beat the Atlanta Falcons, Brady may be a large part of that victory – possibly earning him his fourth Big Game MVP honor.

Three other quarterbacks – Bart Starr, Eli Manning, and Terry Bradshaw – have all won the award twice. There’s only one special teams player, Green Bay’s Desmond Howard, who had an almost 100-yard kickoff return to propel The Pack past the Patriots.

The “I” in “Team”

Even though the Dallas Cowboys have only won five league championships, they have had seven players receive MVP honors. Defensive end Harvey Martin and defensive tackle Randy White share this honor as co-MVPs. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley also received this honor during a game where his team lost, but he performed well with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Two of the last three awards have bucked the trend of quarterbacks winning. Linebackers Malcolm Smith, from the Seattle Seahawks, and Von Miller, of the Denver Broncos, have hoisted the trophy for playing a big part in their team’s victory. Smith made an interception and returned it for a touchdown, recovered a fumble, and completed 10 tackles. Miller completed six tackles, delivered two-and-a-half sacks, and defended one pass.

Body of Work

There are some average results players looking to receive an MVP trophy in 2017 should try to achieve. Quarterbacks who have received the Big Game MVP threw for over 270 yards and over two touchdowns. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young delivered an above-average performance when he earned this honor, throwing for 325 yards and six touchdowns. And Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw just shy of 120 yards and two touchdowns when he was awarded the MVP.

Running backs who earned the honor rushed, on average, for over 150 yards and over one-and-a-half touchdowns. The last running back to win this award was Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos, who had 30 carries for over 150 yards and three touchdowns. There are a lot of powerful running backs on the Atlanta Falcons’ and the New England Patriots’ teams – Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Dion Lewis, and LeGarrette Blount – who might be looking to pick up an MVP award in February.

Perhaps the same can be said for the wide receivers heading to the Big Game in 2017. Whether it’s Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan for New England or Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu for Atlanta, these are explosive offensive wide receivers capable of reaching averages of 140 yards or close to a touchdown.

Big Game Glory

Will the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and see one of their team’s players be recognized for being the biggest player in the biggest game? Regardless of who you’re rooting for, or against, get ready for the big day with the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.com.

Sources

NFL Playoff Pet Pick ‘Em – Wild Card

NFL Pet Pick 'Em Header

Every year, 12 football teams vie for the ultimate victory at the end of the NFL season – the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The days leading up to each playoff weekend are rife with analysis and predictions from former players and experts. Predicting the outcome, however, isn’t an easy task, as games can go in either direction at the drop of a hat.

Here at Fanatics.com, we decided to turn to some experts of our own. In addition to random football fans and professionals who know a thing or two about the game, we checked in with some furry experts … and yes, we do indeed mean pets. Super cute and adorable pets.

Shorty debates which playoff team to pick
(Shorty faces a tough decision between the Seahawks and the Lions.)

Who Are the Experts?

Experts part one for the pick 'em.

We had a wide variety of experts on hand to pick the winners of each playoff game. In addition to Coiney, our trusted flip coin, and the data lab from FiveThirtyEight, we checked in with the “real” experts. This includes former player Mike Golic, who now opines for ESPN, and Michael Irvin, former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who spends time roaming the desks at NFL Network.

We also put the expertise of a few sports journalists to task. FOX Sports writer Dieter Kurtenbach’s picks are here on display, as are Mike Florio’s (he’s a writer for and creator of Pro Football talk).

We also talked to a few amateur fans. Tyler is a huge Saints fan whose picks might be more from the heart than from strong statistical analysis. We also have 5-month-old Leo and a grandmother from the U.K. There are also a few non-fans, like Margie, who picked on a whim.

Pets for Playoff Pet Pick 'Em

The pets, though, may be stealing the show. Dogs, cats, fish, a gecko, and a bearded dragon made playoff picks. Obviously, these are no ordinary pets.

For example, 10-year-old Albert is a Yorkie who also answers to “Sir Snuggles,” and he’s just fine with that. Shorty, a miniature dachshund, may just be a bandwagon fan, but we’re not telling anyone. Another dog, named Kylo, is a very spoiled only child, much like his namesake. And Charley, who was rescued when he was 2 years old, spends his time trashing his owner’s bed and barking a whole bunch.

Cat picking
One of our feline experts makes her selection.

As far as cats go, Molly is a catnip freak, and Roofus tends to fixate on laser pointers. Basil spent his youth chasing footballs and hockey pucks … on the TV screen (which obviously makes him an expert in NFL picks), and Korra spends her days perfecting her litter box skills.

Finally, Dibs – the bearded dragon – spends his days stressing out about his reflection, and Tunachi, the fish, is the perfect impartial picker.

Pet owners were given cutouts of the logos for each playoff team and asked to record their furry (or scaly) friends’ choices. Some owners chose to put the logos on the ground, while others placed them in bowls. There were no hard rules for how the choices had to be made, except that owners were not allowed to influence the choices.

Ranking the Contenders After Wild Card Weekend

The Wild Card Weekend has come and gone. How did our experts fare?

It seems our coin toss got them all – that’s right, the most random expert on the board was four for four. Check out amateur fan Matt, who avoided picking with his Southern Florida heart and was 100 percent on his picks last weekend. Former defensive lineman Mike Golic was also in the top spot.

We even had a few adorable animals bat 1.000. Korra, the cat, along with Kylo and Vinny, the dogs, were on fire with their picks. How did they complete this amazing feat? What are they eating that’s giving them all this brainpower? Most importantly, will they keep this trend going?

 

Playoff Pet Pick 'Em Pound

However, not every animal pal did well this past weekend. A couple of dogs failed pretty hard. Riggins, the pooch, chose all the losers in the contests, as did poor little Albert (a.k.a. “Sir Snuggles”). We can’t blame them, though, because they’re canines (also, Riggins can’t see out of one eye, so cut him some slack).

On the human side, one of our non-fan “experts” also put up a huge zero, so picking ’em wrong is not just limited to four-legged creatures. Even professional sports writer Mike Florio only correctly picked two out of four times.   

While Wild Card Weekend was a snoozefest and lacked a ton of drama (all four home teams and higher seeds won their respective contests), there were a few big moments as the winning teams all hit their stride while bowling over their opponents. On the AFC side, Le’Veon Bell certainly turned heads with his unique and super patient rushing attack, and Jadeveon Clowney demonstrated a circus-like acrobatic interception that defensive players dream of. For NFC teams, Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary – again – that was caught for a touchdown – again. We also can’t overlook Doug Baldwin’s fantastic catch … with his butt.

This Weekend’s Games

This weekend is the divisional round when the winners of each of the four games will head to their respective conference championship. Houston rolls into Foxborough as a huge underdog, making New England an easy pick for most of our experts, but not everyone has Tom Brady fever – Vinny, the dog, threw caution to the wind, picking Houston to shock the world with a win in the Northeast.

The rest of the games are more evenly matched (at least, according to Vegas), and the picks coming in reflect that, with some going toward Kansas City. However, Shorty, one of the pups finding himself in the pick ’em pound this week, picked Pittsburgh instead.

Korra, the only feline with a perfect record is picking Seattle and Dallas to meet in the NFC championship game.

Who do you think is going to come out of this weekend with a win?

Cuteness Overload in the NFL

No matter what picks these pets make, they are all super cute (even the fish). Above all, they are loved very much by their humans, who are going to completely overlook their totally wrong NFL playoff picks and instead give them more smooches, catnip, crickets, or dog treats – because that’s what they deserve.

Our pets aren’t the only ones who deserve a treat. Did your team make the playoffs? Celebrate the occasion by buying some gear from Fanatics.com. Even if your team missed out, it’s never too early to start dreaming about next year.

Ella prepares to make her selection.
Elly May ponders who she will choose in the next round.
Garnet remains cheerful despite not being in first place.

Methodology

Our “animal experts” were pets submitted by members of the Fanatics.com team. Pet owners were given cutouts of the logos for each playoff team and asked to record their furry (or scaly) friends’ choices. Some owners chose to put the logos on the ground, while others put them in a bowl. There were no hard rules for how the choices had to be made, except that owners were not allowed to influence the choices.

The real experts included in this study were selected at random from a pool of former NFL players and sports journalists who currently cover the NFL across a variety of networks and mediums.

No real playoff prediction would be complete without a “wild-card” element, hence our inclusion of random people and inanimate objects, like our beloved Coiney.

Sources

The Evolution of the Dallas Cowboys Jersey

Cowboys_Header

An appropriate choice of name to represent the Lone Star State, the Dallas Cowboys were established in 1960.  

The Cowboys have one of the league’s most iconic uniforms with simple, yet recognizable blue and white colors. The team has changed it up over the years, but the blue uniform is still traditionally worn at home, while white is worn on the road – both of which use a silver helmet and pants.

Known as “America’s Team,” the Cowboys have five Super Bowl championships and are one of the most valuable teams in the world, with an approximate valuation of over $4 billion. You know what they say everything’s bigger in Texas!

Mounting our horses, we decided to trot down memory lane to see how one of the biggest teams in NFL history has changed their attire throughout years of gameplay.

Logo History

One shocking fact about the Dallas Cowboys is that their current team logo has only undergone one facelift. Typically, younger teams, such as the Houston Texans, are noted for having a few logo changes. Since their inception into the league, the Cowboys have continued to stay true to their home state by representing the blue star on the field.

1960–1963: The Cowboys use a blue star for the team’s first logo.

1964–Present: A simple border outlines the star to make it pop.

Cowboys_Flag

Dallas Cowboys 28” x 40” Double-Sided House Flag

Notable Jersey Changes

Dallas_Cowboys_Jersey

1960: For the team’s debut, the Cowboys rock a white helmet with a simple star logo and a blue-white-blue stripe down the center of the crown. The uniforms use simplistic two-tone coloring with a blue uniform at home and a white uniform on the road. Both jerseys display the team logo on the sleeves, but each uses inverted colors.

1964: The Cowboys opt for a more simplistic look that closely resembles the team’s current uniform. The socks and jerseys change to one solid color with three horizontal stripes on the sleeves. The logo on the shoulder area is removed. The helmet also changes to silver.

Cowboys_Helmet

Riddell Dallas Cowboys Revolution Speed Full-Size Authentic Football Helmet

1966: The jerseys are modified to feature only two sleeve stripes that are slightly wider instead of three. The lone star receives the blue-white outline, which gives the logo a bolder look. This appearance has seen little significant change ever since.

1970: Numbers are moved from the shoulder to the sleeves above the stripes.

1976: The helmet stripe changes to red, white, and blue to commemorate the United States’ bicentennial anniversary.

1981: The Cowboys incorporate slightly darker shading on the navy blue uniform. Additionally, the numbers change from white to gray with a trim outline. The border on the numbering reflects the border on the new lone star design.

1982: The pants receive a small circle that encloses the uniform number on the hip area.

1994: Dallas celebrates back-to-back Super Bowl wins with a special double-star jersey on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys also wear a throwback version of the team’s 1960 uniform to help the NFL celebrate its 75th anniversary.

1996: The addition of the word “Cowboys” is added to the neckline, which currently remains on the blue jersey.

2004: The Cowboys resurrect the 1960 uniform on Thanksgiving Day. This uniform becomes the team’s alternate jersey and is still worn during select games.

2012: Reflecting the NFL’s move to Nike, the uniform receives subtle design changes in detailing and coloring to give the appearance of modernity.

2015: The Cowboys unveil an all-white throwback version of the double-star uniform to be worn during the NFL’s Color Rush promotional night.

Cowboys_Jersey

Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys Nike 2016 Draft Pick Game Jersey – Navy

Looking Back to Look Forward

Setting themselves apart from the rest of the teams in the league, the Cowboys opt to induct players’ names into the Ring of Honor rather than retiring their jersey numbers. The tradition began on Nov. 23, 1975, and has since been known as “Bob Lilly Day.” Currently, 21 names of former coaches, players, and club officials wrap around the stands of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Bob Lilly 1975  

Don Meredith 1976  Don Perkins 1976
Chuck Howley 1977 Mel Renfro 1981

Roger Staubach 1983

Lee Roy Jordan 1989 Tom Landry 1993

Randy White 1994  

Tony Dorsett 1994 Bob Hayes 2001

Tex Schramm 2003

Rayfield Wright 2004

Cliff Harris 2004 Michael Irvin 2005
Troy Aikman 2005 Emmitt Smith 2005

Larry Allen 2011

Charles Haley 2011 Drew Pearson 2011

Darren Woodson 2015

Before charging out to AT&T Stadium, are you sure that you’re equipped like a cowboy? Saddle up with the latest Dallas Cowboys fashion and merchandise. Head over to Fanatics – your one-stop shop for all your Cowboys essentials!

Sources