One of the most popular and well-known franchises in sports, the Dallas Cowboys' history offers up just nine head coaches.
In their chronicle, legendary names such as Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson stand tall.
However, as Cowboys coach No. 9 Mike McMarthy prepares to take the sidelines, he's no doubt looking for first-season fortune and therefore chasing Barry Switzer. Yep, Barry Switzer.
Switzer, the longtime Oklahoma coach who took the Cowboys' championship reins following Johnson's departure, stands as the most successful first-year coach in franchise lore.
Notable Cowboys Head Coaches
In First Season
(Via NFL Research)
Season Coach W-L
2020 Mike McCarty ???
*2011 Jason Garrett 8-8 *
1994 >Barry Switzer 12-4
1989 >Jimmy Johnson 1-15
1960 >Tom Landry 0-11-1
> Won Super Bowl as Cowboys head coach
Taking on a Super Bowl-favorite squad in 1994, Switzer and a Hall of Famer-laden Dallas squad advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
Switzer remains the only Dallas coach to win a playoff game in his first season with the franchise – Chan Gailey, Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips all lost their playoff openers in their initial campaigns.
Perhaps most stunning is that the Cowboys' most iconic coaches – Landry and Johnson – combined for one win in their first seasons. Landry was 0-11-1 and Johnson was 1-15.
McCarthy now has the reins of a Cowboys team that has plenty of talent but is coming off a .500 season and hasn't advanced past the NFC Divisional Round since Switzer and Co. won the franchise's last Super Bowl in the 1995 season.
Despite taking over a team that failed to make the playoffs last season, the expectations are sky high in Dallas.
Switzer led the Sooners to three National titles in his 16-year tenure, which concluded in 1988. Thus, in 1994, he took over the Cowboys with zero NFL experience.
McCarthy takes over after a one-year hiatus from his last and first NFL head-coaching job, as he captained the Packers for the majority of 13 seasons, collecting a 125-77-2 record and a Super Bowl title.
Switzer's first-year Cowboys boasted the triplets – Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. The talent hardly ended there as tight end Jay Novacek, fullback Daryl Johnson and receiver Alvin Harper were all crucial on the offense and the defense was extraordinary and underrated with talent such as safety Darren Woodson, defensive end Charles Haley, defensive tackles Russell Maryland and Leon Lett and others. And, of course, up front for Smith and Co. was one of the greatest offensive lines of all-time.
McCarthy's talent is plentiful, as well. There's Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and now CeeDee Lamb. The offensive line has two multi-time Pro Bowlers in Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. On the defensive side, there are standouts Demarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch being joined by key free agents Gerald McCoy and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
And if McCarthy is able to get all that talent playing to the potential so many believe the Cowboys have, perhaps more history is for the taking. After all, via NFL Research, only four head coaches have ever won Super Bowls in their first seasons with a franchise.
History's statistics aren't in the Cowboys' favor, but the talent is, as the ninth coach in franchise history begins a new era in the Lone Star State.