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NFL Coaching Classifieds

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - They have begun to look like corporate managers who, when terminated, have this remarkable faculty of resiliency and manage to land on their feet at what was formerly a competitive operation. How does that happen? Beats the hell out of me.

Let me understand this...you fail with one company or, even if you believe you succeeded to some degree...large or small, someone else disagreed with you. The good news was that you got the raise you worked for and then, within moments, you found a pink slip on your desk or, more appropriately, were the recipient of an e-mail from human resources followed by an escort out of the building by the security guards.

Jon Gruden left the sidelines to join the broadcasting booth at ABC.
How do they do it? How do coaches discarded by one team land on their feet so easily elsewhere and, more often than not, at increases in salary? Coaches in the NFL brotherhood of man have gold plated membership cards and a credo to never be out of work. And, if openings on the sidelines are not available at a particular time there are always the ranks of college mentors or the broadcast booths of ESPN, Fox and other networks. No credentials necessary other than a resume that shows a prior affiliation with the sport. The only problem is that people like Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy fit right in, are interesting and seem to follow in the footsteps of John Madden. Worn-out players do not, sadly, and are usually major disappointments. Ditto on many coaches who are in a holding pattern until some team calls their agent.

Running a down and out or crashing through the line are not qualifications to provide alleged expertise on that which is taking place on the field, whether for TV or radio. But, management and producers simply like to be among the ex- players whose talents were left on the field and in the locker rooms of their respective former teams.

Still, the job market, the flesh bazaar, is always open for business and those who are no longer active participants in the sport of their choice, from competing as a member of the team to coaching on the sidelines, right up to management, find new employers queuing up all the time, often with more lucrative contracts than those left behind. That simply means that the teams are toys for their owners, folks with lots of money and/or contacts at banks and other various lending institutions who will aggregate the funds necessary for the purchase of the team or the building of that new billion dollar stadium.

The amazing part about coaching, NFL, college, CFL, just about anywhere, is that those who have earned the distinction of being terminated for not being able to produce somehow, somewhere, some time, wind up with another job and team...sometimes at a higher level, sometimes lower. But, not unemployed.

What is the latest word on who will be looking, asking their agents to make phone calls? Not sure and no one will actually know for certain until the playoffs in the NFL are over and the Bowl Games, all 900 of them (or so it seems) have drawn to a close. The final curtain call is when the non-playoff decided teams of Alabama and Texas vie for the right to proclaim themselves best in the nation on the evening of January 7th in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl in front of a 100,000 seated at the stadium and tens of millions in front of the tube.

Urban Meyer has been the head coach at Florida since 2005 and won two National Titles.
In the world of "off again, on again," Urban Meyer of Florida pronounced retirement for physical reasons unidentified but in what seemed to be a practical, common sense, family driven decision. Sounded good to me and the right thing to do, the intelligent one. However, that retirement lasted briefly and was replaced by an indefinite leave of absence. Given that, how does anyone take the post with the Gators unless it is an interim assistant coach at the University? Anyone coming in from the outside would be walking on rice paper and putting a hold on the mailing of any resumes of his own. Not a great situation. How do they recruit? My guess is that they do not. I respect and understand, somewhat, that which Meyer has done but it creates a black hole at the school, the one we usually see in space.

Among the professional ranks, the fans are already crying for various ousters and replacements but most of those will not take place. The rich make the decisions and everyone else is just football fodder. These, by the way, are the rich that just get richer thanks to the moderately well off but poor by owner standards fans who make the rich richer. Something is wrong with that picture, especially since the folks in the seats, for the most part, see and know more than the owners, like Dan Snyder in Washington, or the coaches, like Tom Coughlin in New York. Snyder's ineptitude speaks for itself and as long as Coughlin is at the helm, the Super Bowl win aside, he is responsible for the insulting and sieve-like defense of the team and the man who runs it, Bill Sheridan, the defensive coordinator that was promoted from Linebackers Coach.

That also includes the attitude and approach of the team to every game as well, the ones where they should be coming to play, to win, to excel, not to just get it over with and get home to play with their Wii toys and listening to their iPods. Actually, most have probably figured out how to wear them during the game instead of focusing on the opposition.

Oh well, you lose a job and you are, for the most part, in deep do-do. The world is falling apart and the business of sports, for that is what it is...big business, just goes on and on like a giant transformer growing out of control.

Such is the state of the NFL (and college) classifieds. Heck, the basic theme runs true and deep. Just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again. Wouldn't it be nice if that was the way your world was spinning these days? Any chance of it happening?

You gotta be kidding!