Before Jason Garrett was the offensive Coordinator with the Cowboys, he played in the NFL as a backup. Many of us remember him as Troy Aikman's backup - the second string. But many have forgotten that the coaching staff (both under Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer) weren't completely sold on his abilities. He entered the 1993 season at #2, but the Cowboys brought in Bernie Kosar to supplant him - and it proved beneficial as Kosar helped the Cowboys through a few tough spots.
1994 saw Rodney Peete become the #2 guy, with Garrett relegated to #3. But on Thanksgiving day, Jason showed the team and the world that he was a quality #2 guy. Aikman was out. Peete was also injured. So it fell to #3 Garrett to start on the most visible of national stages - Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving. The opponent was the talented and dangerous Brett Favre led Packers.
The game began about how most of us figured it would. The third stringer was ineffective. The Pack had a 17-6 halftime lead. But something happened during half time. Who knows. Perhaps the fact that it was Thanksgiving and he played for the Cowboys was enough. Certainly there have been many magical moments in that setting.
But Garrett exploded along with the whole Cowboys team. Jason threw for nearly 200 yard in just the third and beginning of the fourth quarter, netting over 300 for the game. His surge led the Cowboys to a 42-31 win. He was firmly cemented into Cowboy lore and thereafter was the unchallenged second stringer for the rest of this Cowboy playing days. We never feared that the team would falter if he was on the field.
I guess my favorite memory of that day was in the post game interview when Garrett said that his wife (in paraphrase) told him not to worry and to just throw it deep to Harper alot. He did just that.
Great day, great victory and a great memory. Read about it here.