IRVING, Texas — Wade Phillips, the head coach with the highest winning percentage in Dallas Cowboys’ history, has some job security.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones announced Thursday that Phillips’ contract has been extended through the 2011 season. The team picked up the option for 2010 and added a year.
“I’m encouraged by the progress that we made this year, but in no way are we satisfied,” Jones said. “This contract represents that. Two years in the NFL is an eternity, but it has to be urgent.”
The Cowboys are 33-15 in three regular seasons under Phillips, the second-best record in the NFL during that span behind the New England Patriots. Dallas is 1-2 in the playoffs under Phillips, ending a franchise-record postseason win drought that dated to the 1996 season with their 34-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round.
This will be the first time Phillips survived past three seasons as a head coach. He was fired in favor of Mike Shanahan after going 16-16 in two seasons with the Denver Broncos. He had a 29-19 record in three seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ head coach. Phillips did not win a playoff game in either of his previous stops as a head coach.
Jones fielded questions about Phillips’ job status on a weekly basis during the second half of the season. Jones started strongly hinting that Phillips would return after the Cowboys’ Dec. 19 win over the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints. However, Jones never publicly committed to retaining his head coach until a Tuesday interview with ESPN, when he added that negotiations were underway to work out details beyond the option year.