A quick look at Bill Callahan’s career as an NFL play caller shows a very impressive resume. Rather than compare Callahan’s stats as an offensive coordinator with Garrett’s using yards as the barometer, we will simply look at scoring offense. This is the area where Garrett, whose offense in yards has been very productive, has struggled.
When Callahan took the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator job in 1998, the improvement was not immediate. The Raiders finished that season 22nd in scoring offense at 18 points per game. 1999 was a great turnaround as Oakland finished 8th at 24.4 points per game. 2000 was even better: 3rd at an astonishing 29.9 ppg. In 2001 they fell back to Earth with only 24.9 ppg, but still finished 4th in scoring offense. 2002 was a bounce-back year, as the Raiders were 2nd in scoring offense at 28.1 ppg. He was the head coach of the Raider team that went to the Super Bowl. In 2003, the team quit on him and Oakland only scored 16.9 ppg. That is 4 of 6 seasons in the top ten in the league, and 3 times in the top 5.
Garrett was handed the keys to the Dallas offense in 2008 when Tony Sparano left to allow him to run the entire show. Since then, they have finished 18th, 14th, 7th,15th, and 15th in scoring offense. The highest points per game average was 24.6 in 2010. Callahan’s best was 5.3 higher in 2000, and his second highest was 3.5 points higher in 2002. Garrett’s average points per game over the past 5 years is 23.28. Callahan’s average was 23.7 with the 2003 season included in which both the Raiders players and possibly Callahan himself didn’t have much interest in being successful. Without that season, Callahan’s average jumps to 25.06 ppg. In average league position, Garrett’s Cowboys rank 13.8th in the league, Callahan’s raiders 10.8.
On paper, Callahan calling plays should improve the Cowboys weakness on offense, scoring efficiency. If Callahan can be more consistent with the Cowboys, they could improve dramatically. If that happens, and Garrett improves as a game manager, Dallas could be facing a much brighter future.