Commit or Quit

Richie thinks Norv Turner might make a good head coach for Your Cowboys. Friends of Unfair Park, discuss.

David Beckham is coming. Barbaro is going. And, thanks to Bill Parcells, Your Dallas Cowboys are stuck smack-dab in the middle of nowhere.

Should the 65-year-old asshole (now there's a mental image for ya) decide he's had enough of being the NFL's most overrated .500 coach and leave the Cowboys, cross one of his potential successors off the board. Or, perhaps, two. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer left for the same job in Atlanta, and now former Cowboys assistant and coaching fast-tracker Jim Bates has jumped from the Dolphins to the assistant head coaching gig with the Broncos. Bates, linebackers coach and assistant head coach with the Cowboys from 1996-'99, is everything Fat Fish isn't: a long-time friend of Jerry Jones, an aggressive risk-taker and, most of all, enthusiastic.

But because Parcells somehow thinks he's earned the right to take his own sweet time pondering the opportunity to coach America's Team, a prime candidate is off the list, leaving us with ...? If Jerry considers college coaches -- which, after the Barry Switzer era, is debatable -- Oklahoma's Bob Stoops will get interviewed. (We'd love to see Boise State's balls-to-the-wall Chris Peterson -- the guy who handed Stoops his ass in the Fiesta Bowl -- get consideration, but that ain't happenin'.) As for NFL names, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher is a bright, energetic guy and a solid possibility.

Or how about this for a blast from the past: Norv Turner. His head-coaching tenures in Washington and Oakland were disastrous, but Jerry could certainly sell him to the team and this fan base. Turner, remember, was the offensive mastermind who led Dallas to consecutive Super Bowl titles in '92-'93 and who helped Troy Aikman into the Hall of Fame. Matter of fact, it was Turner whom Aikman picked to induct him into Canton last summer.

Norv would get the approval from former Cowboys such as Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, and how refreshing would it be to hear a head coach weave into his press conferences tales about old Cowboys instead of old Giants? Wanna see fans gets crazy quick? Watch Aikman hop onto the Valley Ranch practice field to teach a thing or two to young quarterback Tony Romo.

When Zimmer left he said, "I never thought about leaving the Cowboys, but my contract was up in 20 days, and with all the uncertainty I was worried about being out of work with." Yeah, nice, stable environment Parcells is cultivating these days. Kinda reminds me of when a coach named Jimmy Johnson flirted with the Jacksonville Jaguars and an owner named Jerry Jones told him "commit or quit." Business 101: If a guy needs a week (or more) to consider running your company, do you really want him running your company? Me neither. --Richie Whitt

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky