On the Tunney Side of the Street 41

by Jim Tunney

After Further Review...

Jim Murray, legendary Sportswriter and Hall of Famer, once wrote: "Nothing is ever so bad that it can't be made worse by firing the coach."

I was reminded of that when I heard of the firing of the Dallas Cowboys Head Coach, Wade Phillips. I've known Wade most of his life and sorry to see him leave as head coach under these circumstances. Then I remembered what Wade's dad once told me, "Jim, there are only two kinds of coaches: those that have been fired and those who are about to be fired."

Wade's dad, legendary former Houston Oilers Head Coach, is Bum Phillips. Bum understood, as did Wade, the pressure to win that Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones was facing. Jones' Cowboys were 1 and 7 at the halfway point of the 2010 NFC season and last in its NFC East Division. Wasn't this pretty much the same Cowboys T.E.A.M. that made the playoffs in 2009?

Were expectations too high? Maybe. Was the loss of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in game 8 too much to overcome? Was journeyman quarterback Jon Kitna a sufficient backup to assume the leadership of the Cowboys? Was replacing Head Coach Phillips with Assistant Coach Jason Garrett as interim coach the right thing to do?

Garrett, in his first game as interim head coach, took the Cowboys into Giants stadium against the NFC East leader - the NY Giants who were 6 and 2. Final score: Dallas 33 - New York 20, with Kitna passing for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns! Remarkable! Was that the same Cowboys T.E.A.M. that looked so pitiful in the two previous games under Coach Phillips? Looks like this mid-season change was the right decision. Owner Jones must be a genius. Or is he?

When you make a mid-season change, the risk is great. The questions linger: Was Phillips a poor coach? Did the players lose confidence in Phillips' leadership? Did the players "quit" on Phillips? Did the players stop believing in their ability to win as a T.E.A.M?

Coach Herm Edwards is fond of saying, "You can lose your momentum, but never lose your confidence." If you have ever been a victim of losing your self-confidence, you need to change your thinking to change your behavior. Leadership needs to step-back, not necessarily aside, and look for innovative ways to convince their followers to rebuild self and T.E.A.M. confidence. Believing in yourself and each other will change you from a victim to a victor!

Will you give your best effort every time, whatever the score or circumstances?

Editor note: Jim Tunney has been nominated (4th time) for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cast your vote for Jim at www.fanschoice.com

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit www.tunneysideofsports.com and click on Jim Tunney www.twitter.com/jimtunney.