"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.
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.
Jon Gruden left the sidelines to join the broadcasting booth at ABC.
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who are no longer active participants in the sport of their choice, from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
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
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.
Urban Meyer has been the head coach at Florida since 2005 and won two National Titles.
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
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!