Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wade Effing Phillips?

The Dallas Cowboys are, apparently, all set to announce Wade Phillips as their new head coach.

This was the first thing I heard when I started the engine this morning. The Gentle Musers were, as one would expect, in heated discussion on the topic for a large part of my hour-plus drive to the current client (beating, btw). Listening to Junior criticize and Jub try to defend this decision pretty well summed up my own feelings.

My initial reaction upon hearing the news was to slump down about 6 inches in the driver’s seat and mumble inaudibly, “Wade Effing Phillips?” I could feel my life force ebb away as I considered the implications. And, with nearly two hours to digest the news, my opinion has not changed.

I know very little about Wade Phillips. I know he’s a respected, if not exactly feared, defensive coach with a lot of time in the NFL. I know he’s been a head coach for short periods in Denver and Buffalo. I know that his regular season record is not terrible – somewhere over .500 at least. I know that he is 0-3 in the playoffs. And I know that he’s generally well thought-of as an assistant, but doesn’t get many interviews for head coach jobs any longer. That’s about it.


How totally underwhelming is this?

We’ve spent the last two-plus weeks talking about all kinds of interesting scenarios, starting with Bob and Mike Stoops and ranging to a troika of Turner-Garrett-Singletary/Rivera. Over the course of the search, several combinations sounded intriguing. The Stoops Boys thing turned out to be wishful thinking pretty quickly, but Turner/Garrett/Singletary sounded like a combo I could get behind.

But, no, it is (apparently) not to be. We’re getting a retread defensive head-coach, an inexperienced offensive coordinator, and a mystery guest defensive coordinator. We have a young QB who may or may not be the real deal, a defense that grossly underachieved (or did they?), and an owner who looks to be more involved in day-to-day than ever.

This is supposed to excite Cowboy fans? This is supposed to sell tickets in the Jerry Dome?

I may very well be wrong, and Wade Phillips may turn out to be Bear Bryant with less personality, but I have to say I am not impressed.

My three biggest problems with the Cowboys last year were, in order of importance:

- The arrogance and condescension of the Pear Shaped Football Genius.
- The wildly out-of-whack bang-to-hype ratio of TO Owens.
- The arrogance and greed of Bondo-Face.

This off-season took care of the biggest of my problems. I was actually at a point where I would live with the other two and attempt to get back on the bandwagon. A bold move in naming a new head coach would have won me over – I was hoping for it and, truthfully, expecting it.

I should have known better.

Bondo Face chickened out. He went safe. And by “safe”, I mean “uninspired”, “boring”, and, I fear, “doomed to fail”.

Are you excited about this? Does this fill you with hope for the future? Do you really think Wade Phillips, at 60 years old, is suddenly going to find the magic touch?

Or do you, like me, think we’re headed right back for the bad old days of disgruntled fans, testy owner, bland and excuse-filled head coach, bored players, and general franchise-wide malaise? Do you, like me, think we’re headed back to the days of 8-8 and sliding fast?

How sad. How disappointing. I am still on the Dark Side, with no plans to return ye

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