Fire Wade Phillips
I wrote my first Fire Wade Phillips post over at OTB Sports on October 6th, on the heels of a narrow escape against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals at Texas Stadium.
Jerry Jones needs to fire Wade Phillips. Today. The Dallas Cowboys are undisciplined and lackluster, a perfect reflection of their head coach.
Phillips doesn’t mind losing. Lord knows, he’s had a lot of practice. He’s 0-for-career in winning playoff games as a head coach. When a 13 win team with 15 Pro Bowlers loses at home to a team it beat twice in the regular season, it’s fine. After all, they made it to the second round of the playoffs after a bye week. That counts as 14 wins!
When the team loses at home to a Washington Redskins squad with a depleted secondary, getting thoroughly outcoached along the way, it’s no biggee. Lots of season left! When the team nearly loses to the 0-5 Cincinnati Bengals, whose quarterback is playing hurt, “Everybody’s happy!”
This team is too talented to play this sloppy so often. They seem to be going through the motions. And relying on owner Jones to give them pep talks! Jean-Jacques Taylor says the Cowboys “need more fire from their head coach.” But Phillips simply doesn’t have any fire. And it’s not like he’s liable to get any at this point in his career.
Needless to say, Phillips was not fired. Not even after a loss at Arizona the next week. Or an absolute drubbing against the pathetic St. Louis Rams the following week, after which Tim Cowlishaw wrote a column titled “Loss should be Wade Phillips’ last with Dallas Cowboys.” Or a blowout against the Giants two weeks after that. Not when they collapsed against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game they had won on December 7. Or when they did it again last week, giving up the two longest touchdowns by an opponent in Texas Stadium history on the last game ever played in that venue on back-to-back plays.
Today, faced with a win-and-you’re-in game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillips’ team came out as flat as I’ve ever seen them. Surely, Phillips can’t still be employed after this.
Of course, this outcome was not only predictable but predicted. In a January 2007 piece on the mere speculation that Jones was thinking about hiring him (“Wade Phillips Top Choice to Replace Parcells?“) I wrote:
The man has had four NFL head coaching jobs, including two interim stints, going back to 1985:
Saints (Interim) 1985
Falcons (Interim) 2003
Guess how many of those teams he took to the Super Bowl. If you guessed Zero, you were right.
Now, guess how many playoff wins he had? If you guessed Zero again, pat yourself on the back.
He has a career coaching record of 48-39 and is 0-3 in the playoffs.
Wade Freakin’ Phillips?!
He’s since upped his record to 0-4 in the playoffs and navigated a team with 15 Pro Bowlers and Super Bowl expectation into 10-6 mediocrity and missing the tournament altogether.
By all accounts, Phillips is a decent fellow. He’s also a terrific defensive coordinator. But he’s not a quality NFL head coach. He’s had five chances and failed five times. It’s time for him to retire or accept what the Peter Principle has clearly demostrated and stick to coaching defenses.
Regardless, it’s long past time for Jerry Jones to clean house and find someone who can get the most out of the talent he’s assembled.