Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Kellen Moore and Jason Garrett have eerily similar career paths.
When it comes to Kellen Moore and Jason Garrett you probably wouldn’t draw a lot of comparisons between the two. One is a baby-faced, up-and-coming coach in the league, while the other is a clap-happy, experienced coach who has already received an opportunity to run the show. Strangely enough, though, Garrett’s career path could be the same one Moore is currently heading down.
From collegiate player to NFL coach, both Jason Garrett and Kellen Moore surprisingly have nearly identical career paths. Garrett had an outstanding collegiate career and set several records – some still standing – at Princeton and Moore did the same thing during his tenure at Boise State. Despite their collegiate success, both also entered the NFL as undrafted free agents.
Once in the league Garrett and Moore were never able to lock down a starting job, but they did have some moderate success as backup quarterbacks, Garrett probably more so than Moore. All that time holding the clipboard on the sideline must have started both of them thinking about a career in coaching, because that’s exactly what they pursued after they decided to hang up their cleats.
Strangely enough, upon retirement, both Garrett and Moore landed jobs as quarterback coaches – Garrett in Miami and Moore in Dallas. Their time as QB coaches only lasted a year before they were both promoted to offensive coordinators. This is actually kind of where Garrett starts paving the path Moore seems to be heading down now.
After just a year as the Dolphins QB coach, Garrett was hired to become the Dallas Cowboys new offensive coordinator in 2007. The odd thing was he was hired before they had a new head coach. That person ended up being none other than Wade Phillips, a proven and experienced veteran coach. Believe it or not, that’s not the way things are typically done in NFL.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Everybody got the feeling, more than likely Phillips did as well, that Jerry Jones was grooming Garrett to become the Cowboys future head coach. After a rough start in 2010, that’s exactly what happened when Garrett was named the interim HC after Phillips was fired halfway through the season. He wasn’t officially made head coach until 2011 and held the title until he was fired after the 2019 season.
Fast forward to 2021 and it is looking as if history could possibly be repeating itself. Despite the fact Mike McCarthy was hired last season to be Garrett’s replacement as Dallas’ new head coach, there could be someone waiting into the wings being groomed to take over that job title in the not-too-distant future. You’ve probably guessed by now, but that person could be none other than Kellen Moore.
Like Jerry Jones did with Garrett, Moore was in place as the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator already when McCarthy was hired. It was said McCarthy chose to retain Moore as the OC to keep the continuity on offense, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Jerry didn’t put a little pressure on him to keep the young, offensive-minded play-caller on his staff.
There are rumors McCarthy could already be on the hot seat in Dallas and his job could very well depend on how well, or not, the 2021 season goes for the Cowboys. If things turn bad this year, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to hear Kellen Moore be talked up as his potential replacement. He’s climbed the coaching ranks quickly and in so doing garnered respect around the league, which could make him a hot commodity.
That, of course, is all speculation, but the similarities between Jason Garrett and Kellen Moore’s career paths is striking. The steppingstones they’ve walked across are nearly identical and it likely won’t be too long before we see Moore holding down the job title of head coach somewhere. Whether or not it’s with the Dallas Cowboys is yet to be known, but if he is indeed being groomed we could see that happen sooner rather than later.