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Jimmy Johnson showed more passion for winning on television than any of the Dallas Cowboys did on the field.
Now, Jerry Jones should turn to another coaching icon to save his franchise.
Speculation about Bill Belichick has ramped up. He’s already the odds-on favorite to be the next coach in Dallas even though Mike McCarthy hasn’t been fired yet.
After a dismal performance Sunday against Green Bay, that might be just a matter of time.
Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons and the rest of the NFC East champions didn’t show up for a wild-card game against Green Bay. The Cowboys became the first No. 2 seed to lose to a No. 7 seed since the NFL went to a 14-team playoff format in 2020.
It wasn’t even close. The Cowboys were embarrassed.
Jordan Love and the Packers destroyed Dan Quinn’s defense, dominating Dallas 48-32 in a game they led 27-0 and 48-16.
The Cowboys lost at home for the first time since the 2022 season opener, ending a 16-game winning streak.
Jones has to be out of patience after his team’s latest playoff failure. The 81-year-old owner looked stunned and angry as he watched from his suite. He said this collapse “seems like the most painful” playoff loss he has endured.
“This is beyond my comprehension,” Jones said.
The performance was far worse than the score indicated. The Cowboys came out flat, had little energy and no answers for Green Bay.
Johnson, the Hall of Fame coach who led Dallas to two Super Bowl titles in the mid-1990s and recently was inducted into the team’s ring of honor, was fired up during the halftime show on Fox.
“You get your rear end in there and you play the way you know how to play,” a scowling Johnson shouted into the camera.
His message didn’t reach the ‘Boys.
They were just as uninspired in the second half as they were in the first. The garbage-time points at the end only made it seem less lopsided.
Under McCarthy, the Cowboys are the first team to win 12 games in the regular season three straight years and not advance to the conference championship. The Super Bowl drought for America’s Team will reach 29 years.
Jones has to be contemplating a change.
He has a talented roster that features four first-team All-Pros and five on the second team, including Prescott and Parsons.
But everyone crumbled under pressure against the Packers.
Prescott threw two interceptions, including a pick-6. Parsons had just one solo tackle and one quarterback hit and the team had no sacks.
Simply put: Nobody on the Cowboys did their job. Belichick wouldn’t stand for that.
He built a dynasty in New England, winning six Super Bowls in 24 seasons by instilling a team-first culture. Dallas desperately needs a heavy dose of his “do your job” philosophy.
Sure, Belichick couldn’t win after Tom Brady left the Patriots. But he would have Prescott and a strong supporting cast on both sides of the ball.
Coaching matters in the NFL. Matt LaFleur outsmarted McCarthy, Quinn and everyone on Dallas’ sideline. His game plan was executed to perfection by Love and other young, inexperienced players.
After Dallas lost to Green Bay, the Detroit Lions advanced to the divisional round by beating the Rams 24-23 for their first playoff victory in 32 seasons and second in 65 years.
They were energized by coach Dan Campbell, who took over one of the league’s worst franchises and built them into a winner in just three seasons.
“To be able to do something greater than yourself, it takes everybody around you doing their job and doing it at a high level and you got to be able to trust them,” Campbell said. “It’s special. It’s different than anything, man. It’s why you do what we do. It’s not the money. It’s about the competition, the camaraderie, to be the best of the best collectively.”
The Lions were hoping to play the Cowboys next week in a rematch following a controversial home loss to Dallas in Week 17 that cost them the No. 2 seed. They get that second home game anyway because the Cowboys blew it. Detroit hosts the winner of the Monday night matchup between the Eagles and Buccaneers.
As for the Cowboys, the players will start another early vacation while Jones has to figure out the best path to another Lombardi trophy.
It starts with a phone call to Belichick.
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