Dallas Cowboys

The Wade Phillips Era Ends In Dallas

Wade Phillips got on Jerry Jones’ private plane last night after Green Bay served up a piping hot dish of nationally televised humiliation to the Cowboys, 45-7.

That plane ride will be his last as Dallas Cowboys head coach.

Jones fired the embattled Phillips today after the team’s unimpressive 1-7 start to the 2010 season.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the year.

Sure, they don’t have quarterback Tony Romo. That is hardly an excuse though for the talent-laden Cowboys, who had nine players named to the ’10 Pro Bowl.

NFL analysts are bewildered as to how badly this Cowboys team has played on a weekly basis thus far.

No one should be shocked though. The seeds for the ’10 quagmire were planted a long time ago.

Alas, as we say goodbye to Wade Phillips as head coach and defensive coordinator, it is time to relive a few “Moments of Wade” in honor of the departed coach and his star-crossed team.

1. 2007 NFC Divisional Playoffs vs. NY Giants:

Dallas already swept the Giants during the regular season and scored 76 points in the two previous outings heading into their playoff meeting.

The Cowboys were so confident heading in that they allowed their Pro Bowl quarterback and tight end (Romo, Jason Witten) take their significant others (I’m looking at you Jessica Simpson) to Cabo San Lucas. The Terrell Owens postgame presser after the game didn’t help either.

New York 21, Dallas 17.

2. The “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me” Game; Week 16 2008 Regular Season vs. Baltimore:

The Cowboys were 8-4 with four games left to play and in decent shape to make the playoffs. Dallas lost three of its final four games including the final Cowboys game ever played in Texas Stadium.

Trailing 19-17 late in the fourth quarter, Dallas gave up consecutive touchdown runs of 77 and 82 yards.

Perhaps, the best part of this debacle (besides the on-air analysis provided the NFL Network’s Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk), occurred after the game when Ravens safety Ed Reed excitedly said, “WE BLEW IT UP!!!!!”

Amazingly, Dallas would still have one more chance to make the playoffs.

Ravens 33, Cowboys 24.

3. Week 17 2008 Regular Season vs. Philadelphia:

Despite their inability to seal up a playoff spot, Dallas still had one more opportunity. They had to beat the Eagles in Philly.

Just for this game to matter to them, the Eagles needed the lowly Raiders to win on the road at Tampa and for the Texans to beat the Bears.

Remember, this was the same Eagle team that had a quarterback who was unaware of the overtime rules.

The Eagles got the help they desired to stay in the playoff hunt. Surely, the vastly more talented Cowboys would not let this opportunity slip through the fingers.

A team that should have been a Super Bowl contender was out of the playoffs.

Eagles 44, Cowboys 6.

(This is where the Phillips regime probably should have ended originally. Ultimately, Phillips was carrying out the team that Bill Parcells built earlier in the decade. Jones opted to keep Phillips around though.)

4. The “Just Take A Knee” Game; Week 1 2010 Regular Season at Washington:

Here is a note to all aspiring football head coaches: If you are facing a team lacking offensive firepower, don’t bother to randomly throw the ball around towards the end of a half. Sometimes bad things happen. Just ask Tony Romo and Tashard Choice.

Redskins 13, Cowboys 7

5. The Battle of Wounded Collarbone; Weeks 7-9 vs. Giants, Jaguars, Packers:

The Cowboys collapsed the moment they realized Tony Romo was going to be out for an extended period of time. Despite doing an Estee Lauder job to the final score of the Giants freefall, it was clear that Dallas was crestfallen over the loss of their starting quarterback.

Instead of bouncing back from adversity, the Cowboys lost the final two games of the Wade Phillips era by the combined score of 80-24.

Clearly, the most damning part of this is how the team responded after the Romo injury.

A collective team effort survives such a cataclysmic event. Any team that crumbles to this degree after losing a player, probably was not legitimate in the first place.

The 1990 Giants lost quarterback Phil Simms to a leg injury. They managed to win Super Bowl XXV.

One year later, the Philadelphia Eagles lost their starting quarterback, Randall Cunningham, to a season-ending knee injury during Week 1 of the 1991 season.

Not only did the Eagles lose Cunningham but also had an aging Jim McMahon, Jeff Kemp, and Brad Goebel start games under center that same season.

Amazingly, the Eagles finished 10-6. Although they narrowly missed the playoffs (Dallas eliminated them in Week 16), the Eagles posted one of the all-time great defensive seasons in league history.

Most recently, the ’01 Patriots lost Drew Bledsoe and replaced him with some young whippersnapper from the University of Michigan.

While Bledsoe was not out for the year, he never played a significant role until that season’s AFC title game against Pittsburgh.

New England lost its starting quarterback, began with a 3-4 record, and survived it by winning 11 of 12 games including Super Bowl XXXVI.

When adversity strikes, a team is as good as its leadership on the field and on the sideline.

Dallas severely lacked in both areas.

Yep, it was time for Wade to go.

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