Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said coach Wade Phillips can possibly ensure his return next season by making a playoff run and getting at least to the second round of the playoffs.
"When you are in coaching there is a lot of pressure to win," Jones said. "That is there. What we do here? How we get into these playoffs? If we can get in with an advantage and if we can have a game, if we can get a bye. All of those are things that look good for Wade."
Phillips is in the final year of his contract.
The club has an option to bring him back next year, if Jones desires. So there is no doubt Phillips' future in Dallas is on the line as the Cowboys prepare for the final five games of the season.
Phillips recognizes as much but said he is not concerned with his status so much as he is concerned with helping the Cowboys win Sunday against the Giants.
"I've thought about this game," Phillips said. "Like I've said before, that's up to someone else. That's not up to me. The part that's up to me that I can do something about is doing as well as I can, try to win as many games as I can. And we've won some games here. I don't know if people realize that but we've won quite a few games here and I hope to win some more. That's where we are."
Phillips, however, acknowledged that he is frustrated by his tenuous job status.
The Cowboys are 8-3 this season and are in first place in the NFC East. Phillips is 30-14 in his three years in Dallas, although he is 5-10 in December and January, including a playoff loss.
"I don't know what the determining factor is," Phillips said. "I've never known that. I didn't know it when I was at Buffalo and went 29-19 there in three years and that I was going to get fired. I thought I did a heckuva job. All I can do is try to do the best I can as a coach and I work hard at that. I don't think I get a lot of respect for that, but that's how it goes."
Phillips is 78-56 overall in stops at Denver, Buffalo and interim jobs in New Orleans and Atlanta.
So why doesn't he get the respect?
"I don't know," Phillips said. "I've won 75 games as a head coach so far in eight years. That's not bad compared to a lot of other people. Now I understand the playoffs and so forth. I understand all that. But I think -- it's my opinion -- that winning breeds winning and if you're a winner you're going to come out fine whether it's the regular season or playoffs. Sooner or later if you learn how to coach and win games, then you're going to end up going well and I'm confident that we're going to do that."
Phillips cited Patriots coach Bill Belichick as a coach who didn't win at first but won out in the end.
He predicts a similar fate for himself.
"Sure. Sure," Phillips said. "Like I said, we're going to win. How many we're going to win?
"I enjoy it, because it's such a tough league to win. I've gone a long time without many losing seasons. I enjoy it a lot more that way."