Hall of Fame quarterbacks hope next Dallas coach takes team where they did


Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 7:19 am
By: News On 6


DALLAS (AP) _ Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman hope the Dallas Cowboys find the coach that can take the team where the Hall of Fame quarterbacks often did: deep into the postseason.

``There's enough talent now to have a good ending to this decade,'' Staubach said Monday. ``This will be the first decade we haven't (won) in the playoffs if we don't do something ... there is talent on this team.''

Staubach and Aikman are the quarterbacks who led the Cowboys to their five Super Bowl titles. But the last was 11 years ago when they won their third in four seasons with Aikman, Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin, who was just elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dallas has now lost five straight playoff games since an NFC wild-card victory in December 1996, and the search for retired coach Bill Parcells' replacement is into its third week.

``As a former player, I'd like to see the Cowboys have success,'' Aikman said. ``For all of us that were part of helping build something here in the Dallas, we'd like to see that continue.''

Parcells' final game was a wild-card loss at Seattle last month, his second playoff loss in his four seasons.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has formally interviewed eight candidates since Parcells retired Jan. 22. He could add to that list before naming the team's seventh coach _ the sixth since he bought the team in 1989.

By waiting until after Super Bowl, Jones could interview Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Jim Caldwell, the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts. But it wasn't clear Monday when or if that would happen.

The last two candidates Jones interviewed were both San Francisco assistants: two-time head coach and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary.

After those intereviews, Jones said that he would wait to name a new coach and has ``got to get this right.'' He didn't say how long after the Super Bowl that would be.

``I don't think he got the last one wrong. I feel that Bill Parcells did a great job,'' Aikman said. ``I know where this organization was when he took over. And it was in total disarray. ... (Now) whoever steps into this job is taking over a playoff team that if they don't win in the playoffs, it's going to be viewed as a failure.''

Staubach and Aikman met with Dallas-area media Monday _ also Staubach's 65th birthday _ to talk about their Hall of Fame Racing team, which is preparing for its second NASCAR season. But, questions about the Cowboys couldn't be avoided.

Turner was the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys for two straight Super Bowl titles with Aikman and is considered by many as the front-runner for the job. Aikman supports his former coach, but has tried to be careful about endorsing a candidate.

``I think it would be great for the organization, I think it would be great for Norv,'' Aikman said. ``But I also think that whoever gets the job is going to be someone who was well thought out. I think they will be a good hire.''

Staubach sat at lunch with Jones on Saturday in Miami, where both were for the Super Bowl and to talk to NFL officials about the Cowboys' bid to host the 2011 Super Bowl in their new stadium scheduled to open in two years.

``He wasn't really picking my mind. He was just talking about, thinking about the strengths of head coaches besides their ability to bring the right people around them,'' Staubach said. ``Having a head coach that's in charge that's got everybody behind him is real important.

``I'm not saying who that should be, but we just kind of talked philosophically, not about specific players,'' he said.

Jason Garrett was hired nearly two weeks ago for an unspecified role with the Cowboys, likely as offensive coordinator, but is still a candidate for the top job. Defensive coordinators Wade Phillips of San Diego and Gary Gibbs of New Orleans have also interviewed, as did three of Parcells' assistants.