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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    Turf protection diluting teams

    20 January 2006
    Mike Florio,

    We've been troubled by the manner in which vacant jobs have been filled this year, primarily at the coaching level.

    Brad Childress, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Eric Mangini, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, Gary Kubiak.

    None has been a head coach before. Some (and you know who you are) weren't worthy of a promotion.

    So what gives?

    We initially thought it was about the money. But the more we ponder this, and the more we talk to league insiders about it, we're beginning to realize that it's about something else.


    Whether it's the G.M. or the V.P. of player personnel or the owner's personal crotch washer, folks who already have jobs in these cities want to keep them. More importantly, they want to preserve their power and influence.

    The best way to do that is to avoid introducing into the organization new employees who might be too strong, too dynamic, too good. Because once a person like that shows up, there's a chance that the guy who writes the checks will emerge from his trance and realize that there might be one or more frauds on the payroll.

    We first touched on this concept a week ago, when Packers G.M. Ted Thompson rewarded McCarthy for six years of relative mediocrity as an offensive coordinator by making him the head coach. In nearly other city, however, there's an argument to be made that the coaching hire was driven not by notions of winning as many games as possible, but by protecting the territory of the other key employees who already work for the team.

    Hiring the Tuna's biatch, Sean Payton a/k/a Frankie Muniz, gives Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis a contented lapdog who'll never say or do anything to expose Loomis as a bean counter with no football pedigree.

    In St. Louis, the front office recently closed the book on an ugly experience with Mike Martz, who dared to question and challenge guys in the front office who might have been trying to undermine him. How does the front office avoid that development in the future? By hiring the guy who seems least likely to pull a Martz moving forward.

    With the Jets, assistant G.M. Mike Tannenbaum apparently championed Eric Mangini because another guy might have tried, over time, to neuter Tannenbaum and his boss, Terry Bradway. Indeed, former coach Herm Edwards made a power grab when he arrived in 2001, initially by refusing to use many of the players that the front office were signing as the season got going.

    In Detroit, industry sources previously have told us that former coach Steve Mariucci cooked his goose by making a power play a year or so ago. So the decision to marry Rod Marinelli, a defensive line coach who'd never even been a bridesmaid, might have been driven by an assessment that he won't ever try to squat and spray on turf otherwise owned by Matt Millen and Tom Lewand.

    The only exception to this trend in 2006 could be in Houston, since owner Bob McNair had the foresight to bring in someone who wasn't already entrenched (Dan Reeves) to help hire the best guy for the team -- not the best guy to do the job while at the same time respecting the authority of G.M. Charley Casserly.

    The strangest example of this dynamic might be in Minnesota, where another first-time guy quickly got the gig in what one industry sources calls an "inside job." The Vikes also made an early run at Eagles exec Tom Heckert for G.M., but when Heckert decided to stay put the Vikings abruptly decided against using a G.M. model and are instead looking for a "personnel director."

    Why? Some league insiders think that V.P. Rob Brzezinski has forged a solid relationship with owner Zygi Wilf, and that Brzezinski gently has engineered the staffing process to ensure that his voice will be heard even after a new front office exec is added. If that exec isn't a G.M., Brzezinski has greater overall say.

    We're not saying that Brzezinski or any of these other guys around the league aren't good at what they do. But we believe that, in most if not all of these hires, the folks advising the owners are perhaps paying too much attention to their own power and not enough attention to the overall objective of any football team -- to win as many games as possible.

  2. #2
    cogitans is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Re: Turf protection diluting teams

    I'm not sure that this is the reason why so many young coaches are named around the league. Instead teams are simply trying to find that winning formula.

    I don't have all data, but I think you will find that many coaches that has been succesfull in this league has started their HC career at a young level. Including fx. Madden, Cowher and Shanahan

    Thanks to PPE for the sig.

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