Injury #2: Jerry hires the bootlegger’s boy
Fresh off his first major gaffe as GM–firing Jimmy Johnson–Jerry immediately made his second: hiring Barry Switzer. As if making good on his claim that he could hire “any one of 500 coaches” to do Jimmy’s job, Jerry did just that in hiring a man who had been out of coaching altogether for five years. Switzer had been forced to resign from Oklahoma in 1989 following the NCAA’s decision to place his team on three years probation for a litany of offenses, including one player shot by another in the athletic dorm, three others accused of rape and a star quarterback charged with selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent. Additionally, Switzer had zero NFL experience and little to no experience with an offense that was not based on the option.
Barry inherited a team coming off of back-to-back Super Bowl wins. On the field the Cowboys initially stayed successful with Jimmy’s players, advancing to the NFC championship in 1994 and winning the Super Bowl again in 1995. By 1997, however, the team had fallen to 6-10 and was considered undisciplined on the field. Off the field the team fell apart without Jimmy’s hard-nosed approach, culminating in the suspension of star wide receiver Michael Irvin following cocaine possession charges in 1996. Switzer himself embarrassed the club when he was found to have a loaded gun in his carry-on bag while attempting to board a flight to New York in 1997. Switzer’s carefree attitude and blind trust in his players proved Jerry’s decision making poor once again.