The Dallas Cowboys' parting with Jason Garrett was about more than just a franchise and head coach going their separate ways.
This was the end of a nearly three-decade run of association.
"Of the 30 years I've been with the Cowboys, I've written a check to the Garretts," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday. ... "Think about that a minute, all but two years. All but two. Counting his dad (longtime Cowboys scout Jim Garrett), and counting him, his brothers. All of 'em. ... I will tell you that I had a great 30 years around the Garrett family and it's wonderful, it's a good feeling and it is one of the best parts of my life.
..."I do, not only respect what he brought to help what we're sitting in, help what we're doing. Their family has been a part of that in their own way, as we all know not the way, it took too many people, too many former players, coaches and everybody involved to get to be sitting here today, but I felt strongly about that. We all wanted this to have a very nice, if possible under the circumstances, soft landing."
Their soft landing was achieved by way of nearly a week's worth of meetings, media members waiting (and waiting) outside The Star in Frisco, Texas, and little else coming about until the Cowboys' divisional-rival Eagles were in the middle of their NFC Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks. That's when it broke, finally: Garrett and the Cowboys were together no more. Less than 24 hours later, Dallas had selected its new coach: former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
The organization spent Wednesday celebrating its hire and introducing him to media members local and national, spending nearly an hour in a press conference explaining their decision. As is required by all 32 NFL teams, this was a forward-looking franchise.
"We're where we are, there's none of this -- smallest violin -- there's none of this folks, at all, here," Jones said. "What you criticize about Jason, you should criticize me for. And I say that not trying to be big boy here. I'm just saying, you should.
"He's a great guy, he's got a great family and we know it's going to be good for him. And by the way, just as I've been, he's been one lucky guy to get to be a part of this organization and the Dallas Cowboys for all these years. And he'd be the first one to tell you that."