Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Feb 2007

MMQB: Why Jerry Chose Wade

Peter King interviews Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to find out why he chose Wade Phillips as the team's next head coach.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 12 Feb 2007

55 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2007, 1:38pm by Erasmus


by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:22am

I wonder if Peter King knew who Adalis Thomas was 2 years ago?

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:25am

I'm not really sure I believe Dallas's defense needed more help. By DVOA, their defense was definitely the weak point of the team - but that's not true if you only look at around Week 10 or so.

I'm not sure the boost in the offense wasn't the Surprise! New Quarterback effect - starting a (competent) new quarterback just seems to get you a boost for a few weeks before enough film gets out there. I'm kindof curious if this is statistically true, but the selection bias (normally only bad teams switch quarterbacks) would hurt you.

The way that New Orleans and Philadelphia just absolutely shut down the Dallas offense makes me think they're a smoke-and-mirrors outfit.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:27am

While I'm getting tired of much of Mr King's stuff, I'm at least happy he calls out Rush Limbaugh on Rush's stupid comments concerning Grossman.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:43am


As reprehensible as those comments are - and they are completely reprehensible - he was being sarcastic. The whole point was to hearken back to the Donovan thing in a joking manner.

Since I hate Limbaugh with the burning fire of a thousand suns, it pains me to defend him, word is he's being quoted out of context everywhere. Mostly because nothing else is going on in the sports world. It's going to be a light year for FA's because so many teams will be "franchising" players and columnists need something to spent 2000 words on.

I mean, look at Phillips. What kind of slow news day is it when Dave Campo II is brought in to such voluminous commentary?

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:43am

Oof, that was a mess of grammar and spelling. Forgive me.

by Spike (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 12:16pm

UR 4given.

Given the light free agent year and franchising strategy you describe, we can expect an 1100-word Page 2 feature on the next generation of contract restrictions. I picture "No Take Backs-ing" for passed-physical-free trading and "Dead Money Walk-ing" for whoever picks up Archuleta. (I'm thinking Detroit on that one.)

by wrmjr (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 12:25pm

King's table of Franchise and transition salaries lumps all the OL together, but splits DE from DT. Is that the way it is really done? It seems like tackles would be split from the others at a minimum.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 12:47pm

#7: Yes, that is the way it's done. Hence the reason you will never see a guard franchise tagged. See Steve Hutchinson.

by Darin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 12:58pm


I am a firm believer in the Replacement QB Effect. I'd love to see a breakdown on quarterbacks who were forced into duty or promoted without warning, short-term versus long-term. Derek Anderson comes to mind this year (his first game when he relieved Frye was not statistically amazing, but he was very effective), and I'm thinking of Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Rams in '05 as well (didn't he throw for 400 yards in his first game? I think that says everything you need to know).

by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:00pm

I'll let this one stand on its own:

Just before we were going to leave, one soldier called me over.

"You're Peter King, right?'' he said.

"Yes,'' I said.

"You guys ever going to put Art Monk in the Hall of Fame?''

"We're trying,'' I said.

by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:01pm

as for limbaugh, even if it's a joke, it's still inappropriate. i don't think its a matter of everybody being too sensitive to deal with his racism, as much as we're sick of it after 20 years. and do you think the people who love rush but don't follow football thought of it as a joke? my guess is that they were in 100% agreement.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:16pm

2 - Pat, I've had the same thought for a couple years, going back to Shaun King in 1998 (?? 1999?). Seems to happen a lot where a guy comes in and gets something of a free pass for a month until the DCs catch up with him.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:19pm

Good point about seperating DE from DT, but lumping OL instead of the skilled LT.

I liked seeing at those salaries as it shows a pseudo "value" for each position. Good Defensive Ends have the most value according to pay, followed by good corner backs.

Stud WR's have more value than stud RB's and the QB has the most value as a chess piece.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:19pm

On the Phillips hiring, did anybody notice that the espn.com headline that day was "Way to Settle, Boys!"

Not to get all deadspin, but WTF?? That's a news headline?? This wasn't Page 2, it was the main page of the site. Bush league.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:40pm


The selection bias might not be that bad. I can think of a number of good teams that switch QB's mid-season due to injury. Maybe not as many as bad teams, but maybe enough. Since all you're worried about are short term effects, it wouldn't even have to be permanent switches. You could look at any team whose starting QB was out for more than, say, 4 games, and see how the backup performed. My sense is that his first game would probably be bad, and then next bunch would be pretty good, until film got out on him.

by mb (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:41pm

Charles: Because Rush has certainly never, ever quoted anyone else out of context or deliberately ignored a quote's ironic intention.

(I know you're just trying to be fair but really, if anyone deserves to be unfairly quoted out of context a time or ten, it's limbaugh. and now back to football...)

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 1:53pm

11: I know of a few message boards where the posters follow sports and they also take what Rush says pretty seriously.

I respect this place too much to go into that here.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:04pm

Am I the only one who think it would be nuts for the Ravens to let Thomas go in order to retain Ray Lewis?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:08pm

I do think that if Romo doesn't make significant strides in this off-season, he is going to be in for a much harder time next year, and Cowboys fans are likely going to be disappointed yet again. Whether Romo would be helped or hindered by a certain reciever on the roster is an interesting question.

by Ken (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:29pm

Will - no, not at all. They should definitely keep Thomas and Reed ahead of Lewis.

by Randy S. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:32pm

In case anyone is reading this at work and wants to avoid those annoying SI.com ads, click on my name for the 'printable' version of MMQB.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:46pm

Anybody else curious who the college coaches were that inquired about the Cowboy job? I think Stoops is one, but I can't think of a logical choice for the other. Based on Jones' comments, I got the impression it was coaches without any head coaching or coordinator experience at the NFL level.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:51pm

I wonder if the other one wasn't Mack Brown, looking for an in-state move. He's always struck me as a college guy and not an NFL one, but (i) he wouldn't have to leave the state where he has cred, (ii) he's won a national championship, (iii) he'd probably be fine Jerry Jones running personnel, and (iv) Jones has gone with a successful college coach with no NFL experience before.

I'm also amused that the lead picture on SI.com is currently TO dropping a TD pass.

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 2:58pm

Jones chose Wade because he grew to love "making the motorboat" with Parcells and wanted another coach who could carry on that tradition.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 3:03pm


Depends on how the revenue-sharing agreement works. Ray Lewis may justify his existence solely through sales and media attention.

by Clark (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 3:45pm

21 & 22

Those are the only two coaches that make sense, unless Petrino did before he knew he had the Atlanta job(not sure on the timeline). I guess we don't know how loosely Jones is using "Top Ten," but for the end of the year poll, there is almost no one else it could be.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 3:49pm

Why on earth would Rosenhaus agree to deferring Owens' roster bonus until September? There is no benefit to Owens, he would either get his money later or he would get cut just before the start of the season. Brainless suggestion from King.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 3:52pm

Ray Lewis has 2 more years (I think) on his contract, and Ed Reed signed a huge extension last year. AD is a free agent, so economically speaking he's the one who has to go. But they should be able to franchise him after making a couple cuts (Jamal Lewis) to free up some cap space.

I'm not wild about giving 30 year old LBs long term deals, even if Adalius is a young 30 (he only started for 3 seasons).

by Ch V Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 3:55pm

A classic PK column where he unashamedly promotes his man (Adalis Thomas) while taking one more cheap shot at his scumbag player (Terrell Owens)

The more i read articles like these, the more i am convinced that the TO Frankenstein was created by the media and he snacks on this kind of hatred.

Can we have a few MMQBs without TO please?

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 4:00pm

Of course, the whole Thomas-or-Lewis story is phony anyway -- Ray's not holding anyone hostage for his contract. The Ravens have plenty of room to franchise Thomas, once they renegotiate with Flynn and release Jamal Lewis to avoid the roster bonus. If Thomsa goes, it will be either because the Ravens didn't free up space, or they decided their best draft option is Anthony Spencer or someone like that.

There is no Reed-Lewis-Thomas tug-of-war on the defense; that's last off-season's inaccurate Mike Preston story. Nice to see PK is keeping up with the times, if not The Sun.

by jack (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 4:09pm

21, 22, & 25: It was probably Nick Saban.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 4:22pm

#30, now THAT is funny!

by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 4:37pm

McDonalds coffee now has the taste of Blue Mountain coffee? Really? Look, say what you will about his football expertise (which I don't care to bash), but I have to call bullshit on that. There's just no freaking way.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 4:59pm


I thought of Mack, but I agree with what was said above--he just doesn't seem like a pro coach to me and (as far as I know) is never rumored to be going to the pros. He's clearly got the best talent in a down conference. In my opinion, he's got a window of 3 years to really dominate the Big XII (before the North comes out of hibernation and Oklahoma rebounds from some talent deficiencies). Why leave that now?

The only other coach I could think of (and this stretches Top 10 program) is Ferentz at Iowa. He's never going to surpass OSU and Michigan in the Big Ten and he has NFL experience. Maybe he thinks now is the time to cash out so to speak.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 5:13pm

PK really glossed over the Hutchinson "decision" by the Seahawks last year, didn't he? I wonder if that's laziness or if he figures that story has been beaten to death. Either way, seems like a poor way to characterize the situation.

Like someone alluded to up above, I found the spread between top 5 and top 10 WR versus RB salaries to be interesting.

by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 5:52pm

29: Can we be sure Lewis doesn't have any hostages?

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 5:58pm

Technical question. King refers to the Chargers as the Vegas 'odds on' choice to win the SB next year. I always thought that term referred to a less than even money bet. Is King wrong or am I?

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 6:02pm

28: I've been trying to tell people that for a while now, but in other places, they tend to let the talking heads and whatnot think for them.

by Mike J (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 6:05pm

Ferentz has two years coming up where Iowa plays neither OSU or Michigan. Look for Iowa to try for a 10-2 or 11-1 season one of those two years before he cashes out, its a great bet for him ;)

by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 6:53pm

Not that his fatass, girly-coffee drinking self had any coffee expertise and/or credibility...but comparing McDs to Blue Mountain is beyond insane.

McD doesn't taste like brewed old sock anymore...but it's about as close to Blue Mountain as a BigMac is to Kobe beef.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 6:58pm

Apparently I'm the only one who thought one of the two was Urban Meyer? Does he have pro experience, or did he just sign a huge extension (not that that would stop anything, of course)? Personally I don't know if I'd leave Florida for the Cowboys - they're both pretty freaking sweet jobs, it's really a matter of personal preference. I don't know if he's made any overtures about wanting to go pro, but he's one of the first college guys I'd look at if I was running an NFL team.

by johnt (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 7:03pm

"I think if Bobby Petrino is planning to give Mike Vick the same kind of freedom Peyton Manning has at the line of scrimmage, the coach better be sure that Vick has the nose-to-the-playbook grindstone this winter and spring."

This is a joke right? Petrino is talking about letting Vick AUDIBLE, not call his own plays all the time and protections. I can't even imagine the utter disaster this would be. Actually it'd be awesome to watch.

by mb (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 8:18pm

doubleb: Iowa was pretty awful this year. They and Wisconsin were supposed to the be the leaders of the rest of the Big 10 after tOSU/UM and they lost to freaking Indiana (even though Terry Hoeppner was a great story and he got his team to overachieve quite a bit this is still Indiana who lost to Minnesota by like 40 points). As previously mentioned I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to ride a weak schedule into a major bowl game and then goes sniffing after an NFL gig.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 8:28pm


It's all speculation. Meyer would surprise me because I don't think of him as a pro coach. He doesn't run a pro offense I know that.

Running down potential "Top 10" programs:

USC--not enough control for Carroll
Texas--Brown already mentioned
Oklahoma--almost has to be one of the two; has fallen far behind Texas in recruiting and is looking at some rebuilding there; I think he's a great coach
Michigan--does anyone like Carr?
Ohio State--don't see Tressel ever leaving Ohio/Midwest
Penn State--nuff said
West Virginia--I see Rodriguez as a college coach only
Miami--just hired a new coach
FSU--Bowden is apparently still alive
VTech--don't see Beamer as more than a college coach
Florida--you just mentioned Meyer
Tennessee--college coach only
LSU--don't really know enough about Miles, but don't see him as pro material
Georgia--Richt is a college coach
Auburn--doesn't Tuberville have some pro experience in the past?
Notre Dame--Weis does have serious pro experience which isn't the impression Jones gave in

I'm running out of possible Top 10 programs and some of these are a stretch.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 8:30pm

> "I always thought that term referred to a less than even money bet. Is King wrong or am I?"

King is wrong-- odds-on refers to a true favorite, more likely than not to succeed, a less than even money proposition.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 8:31pm


So are you saying that you don't believe Ferentz was sniffing around the Dallas job this year?

by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 9:28pm

It is the default, weasel defense of Limbaugh and his ditto-heads to say it was "just a joke" whenever he's caught far enough over the line to draw fire. And PK wasn't exactly letting him have it with both barrels by clutching at a stupid, non-existent word: "race-aholic." The English language already has an apt word for Limbaugh: racist.

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 9:56pm

Re 43, here's my guess: Bob Stoops and Houston Nutt.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 10:46pm

What are the odds that Jerry Jones may have inflated the caliber of program that said college coaches came from? It wouldn't sound as good to say that Ty Willingham and his horrible post-Stanford record was the best college coach that showed any interest in the job.

by Clark (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:19pm

Part of the reason I think it was Stoops and maybe Mack Brown as well is that most Oklahoma and Texas fans are going to be Cowboys fans also. Their fans would be understanding about the interest in coaching the Cowboys compared to coaching another NFL or college team.

If it had been Urban Meyer, I don't think Jones would have mentioned it all. Some of the other guys mentioned, like Houston Nutt, would not have been taken seriously by Dallas at all. Maybe you could make the argument that since Jones is a former Arkansas player he would talk to him, but it still seems like a stretch.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 11:25pm

Re: 47

MDS, just curious: why does Houston Nutt stick out to you? I only follow NCAA FB casually. Stoops doesn't surprise me as a candidate, but I wouldn't have thought of Nutt if you'd spotted me his initials.

I read this MMQB as a nice puff piece for Jerry Jones. Wade Phillips looks like about the 5th or 6th option for Jones, aka the only guy who would let Garrett be an OC and would accept what is generally presumed to be a cut-rate salary for the opportunity to be a head coach again.

Maybe I'm being cynical, maybe I read too much PFT. Or maybe I just hate the Cowboys and enjoy scoffing at anything they do. :-)

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 02/13/2007 - 2:23am

I could see Nutt as a possibility (from Nutt's perspective). Working for Frank Broyles makes working for Jerry Jones seem like Christmas. Nutt also lost his OC and number of his star recruits from last year (they're transferring). It's a pretty bad situation there for him.

by JFP (not verified) :: Tue, 02/13/2007 - 7:21am

King is absolutely right! We should treat presidential candidates as just candidates. Not female, black, or white candidates.

Someday when we finally get two black coaches in the Superbowl we should treat them just as coaches, and not black coaches. But I guess we can only wait for that to happen!

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 02/13/2007 - 9:42am

I wouldn't be surprised if Jones was exaggerating about the top ten college coaches calling him directly to express interest in the job. It just doesn't make much sense. Why would anyone risk having that contact become public knowledge (and banking on Jones keeping his mouth shut seems really foolish)? More likely some back channel inquiries were made, but that doesn't sound as impressive in an interview.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 02/13/2007 - 1:38pm

I think Tressell could be a good NFL coach-a Marty Schottenheimer type of coach. Will he leave, probably not-but I never thought Spurrier would leave for the NFL either.

Tuberville has no NFL coaching experience-he coached under I do believe Jimmy Johnson (or Dennis Erickson..) at Miami.

Les Miles was rumored for the Cowboys job-did he interview-I do not think so.

Houston Nutt is an Arkansas guy-I already said it after Parcells retired..