DALLAS - Is it an infamous Dallas Cowboys truth? Or a paranoid NFL urban myth? Did Jason Garrett backstab his boss Wade Phillips on the way to becoming Dallas’ head coach?
"No. I don't think that at all,'' Phillips said on Friday. "We didn't win and we didn't win enough. That's the key.''
Phillips, once the Cowboys head coach, was fired mid-season in 2010 after a 1-7 start. His replacement came from his own staff, in the form of Garrett, who of course remained in that position for a decade. But in a conversation with "G-Bag Nation'' on 105.3 The Fan, Phillips dismissed the idea that there was anything underhanded about Garrett's rise to his position.
While such an action seems highly uncharacteristic for Garrett, according to most anyone who knows him, a handful of players from that time, including respected voices like defensive lineman Jason Hatcher and wide receiver Jesse Holley, swear that Garrett, Phillips' offensive coordinator, held back the Dallas offense on purpose in a way that would cause Phillips to fail.
After the promotion, Garrett led the Cowboys to a 5-3 record and was given a long-term contract to be the head coach, a stint that ended only after the 2019 season, when he was replaced by new boss Mike McCarthy. Phillips went on to more success elsewhere, most recently with the Los Angeles Rams, though he was also dismissed following last season.
Phillips, who coached here from 2007-10, has long raved about his Dallas experience, about the Joneses treating him "like family,'' and about Garrett being "a better head coach than I was.”
So "sabotaged,'' the word that often comes up, doesn't fit here?
"I've said all along, I wasn't a real good head coach but I was a pretty good defensive coordinator,'' Phillips said. "And that's really the way it's been."