Sometimes, a spitball lands in reasonable proximity to the bull’s eye.
On Tuesday, we suggested that the screwball timeline of the Dallas Cowboys’ hiring and firing practices could have been the result of a fairly simple strategy: “Maybe the explanation is hiding in plain sight. Maybe Garrett, who reportedly wanted desperately to remain the Cowboys coach, persuaded Jones to see if he could find a better option before officially parting ways with Garrett. Maybe Jones agreed to give it a try.”
A story from Todd Archer of ESPN.com regarding the events that culminated in the seven-day delay firing of Garrett and immediate hiring of Mike McCarthy contains this nugget from an unnamed “high-ranking” team source: “[H]ad the Cowboys not been overwhelmed by McCarthy or any other candidates, there was a chance Garrett could have returned as coach.”
This sort of conflicts from the January 2 ESPN report that the Cowboys had decided to move on from Garrett; if it’s true that there was a chance Garrett could stay if the Cowboys weren’t blown away by other candidates, they didn’t decide to move on from Garrett until they decided to move in with McCarthy.
Archer’s story also conflicts (without saying so) with Adam Schefter’s report that McCarthy and Jerry Jones hit it off so well that McCarthy stayed at Jones’ house on Saturday night, conjuring images of a Johnny Walker Blue sleepover followed by pancakes and eggs in the morning. Archer writes this, without mentioning the necessarily refuted Schefterism: “McCarthy spent the night at Frisco’s Omni Hotel, which is connected to Ford Center at The Star; not at Jerry Jones’ Highland Park home.”
There’s one final bit of news from Archer that we’ll weave together with a little something of which we caught wind on Tuesday. Per Archer, Jerry and Stephen Jones became convinced that McCarthy was the guy on Sunday, January 5, which caused them to set in motion the firing of Garrett and the hiring of McCarthy.
Given that the firing of Garrett came just before halftime of the Seahawks-Eagles wild-card playoff game — and, thus, after the conclusion of Vikings-Saints — it’s possible that the final domino for the Joneses fell when Minnesota extended its season by at least six days. A source with knowledge of the dynamics told PFT on Tuesday that Jerry Jones had planned to pursue Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, as some had speculated.
With the Vikings winning and McCarthy drawing interest elsewhere, the Cowboys apparently decided not to risk losing McCarthy by waiting for a chance to choose between a pair of Mikes from the NFC North.