Do You Simply Get The Feeling You’ve Seen This All Before ?
Well the NFL —- regular season is over and we now enter the postseason and the divisional rounds of the playoffs. The seedings are now set and within the AFC and NFC with both the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are afforded byes . In the NFC it’s the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears and from thereon in it now becomes something of a crap shoot as to the teams then vying for the right to be in the paths of the presumptive favorites within these conferences .
While much has been made as to the seasons that were had by teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , St Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks . For myself , in seeing what has now become the customary bloodletting that seemingly takes once the regular season has ended seems to have become an annual ritual wherein coaches are fired after a miserable season. Out went Eric Mangini with the Cleveland Browns after team President Mike Holmgren had enough , and not to be outdone in this habitual exercise is the grand daddy of them Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders who are said to be assessing the situation of head head coach Tom Cable . I do believe that the Raiders ought to install a turnstile in the head coach’s office of the organization in order to save themselves the embarrassment with each passing season. I mean how else can one explain the comedic travesty as to what happens specifically within that front office ? Cable leads the team to a clean sweep of the division (AFC West) and for that he’s about to get fired ?
From my own perspective the coach was simply let down by the poor and inconsistent play of his quarterbacks and in particular Jason Campbell who if anything is simply proving that he is really no better than an average NFL backup in that particular position. And with recurring injuries to Bruce Gradkowski through much of the season one can’t help but wonder what now for the Raiders , as they quite possibly seek a new coach . Who wants to be in the midst of that particular mess and will they be gainfully compensated to endure the peering eyes of Al Davis as they undertake the task of making this team better ?
The jury is still out as to the fate of Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals but all signs seem to be pointing to the fact that he may well be retained . And the same claim can be made as to the impending fate of the Miami Dolphins’ —– Tony Sparano , albeit that former consultant Bill Parcells has stated to team owner Stephen Ross that the coach should be retained . We’ve seen what befell both Brad Childress and Wade Phillips respectively , as they were shown the door by their teams the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys after having underachieving this season. And who can forget the dismissal of Josh McDaniels by team owner Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos ? What with “Spygate II” and the fact that the coach chose not to report the incident of the team videographer taping the walk through of a team during their pregame warmups makes you wonder why everyone was so angered by the Patriots and their shenanigans prior to this . I mean, this is now the culture of the NFL, it’s just that the coaches , their staffs and the league’s hierarchy isn’t prepared to admit that this still goes on around the league.
Now there’s no denying that many of these vacancies will be filled but there’s a caveat here as to how the owners will go about addressing these vacancies. With there as yet being no sign of an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA (Players’ Union) as to a collective bargaining agreement , no team will want to make a multi year commitment to a coach knowing that the 2011-12 season there might not be any football to played at all . Never mind the fact that the league and owners are firmly entrenched with the idea of elongating the regular season to an eighteen game schedule , whereas the players vehemently oppose the idea unless the league itself is willing to make several concessions. At the crux of this all are the rookies’ salary contracts and how the league will go about meeting the demands of the players concerning the extending of the regular season schedule wherein rosters would be increased from 53 to 55 players .
We simply know that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in spite of his best intentions is simply doing this to add to the NFL’s already burgeoning coffers without admitting to that fact. We’re told in the meantime of the inadequacies of the existing collective bargaining agreement (cba) as the players’ share is imbalanced when based against the expenditures that’s made by the teams themselves throughout the season. What I for one find extraordinary in all of this is that neither side has been willing to have their finances made public in order that we can see some sort of transparency and what the truth really is. It has now become a matter of each side is attacking each other , while at the same time in doing so they’re now beginning to alienate and infuriate the fans . Nothing like seeing a bunch of multi millionaire owners and players argue over an ever diminishing slice of pie. The broadcast networks notwithstanding the league cannot afford to have a labor stoppage and lose countless billions of dollars as the networks such as ESPN , NBC , CBS and Fox Sports see their gravy train literally disappear down the drain.
A season without football may well give the most avid fan of the NFL some cause for concern as where would their allegiances now be drawn ? Baseball for all of its vagaries once the postseason arrives is literally a month long plus of hoping that the teams involved actually play with some passion and consistency. And if the New York Yankees aren’t involved in the Fall Classic then you might as well be watching paint dry for all of the interest the World Series creates without the Bronx Bombers being a participant.
Now while we can assume that those teams with vacancies to be filled will painstakingly seek out the best candidates possible to fill those vacancies . I for one can’t help but wonder what’s now mulling over in the minds of former coaches such as John Gruden , Bill Cowher and perhaps Tony Dungy ? These are the names that more likely than not that will be the most sought after and will be amongst the leading candidates to be interviewed for the vacancies that have arisen. Within the college ranks I firmly believe that Stanford’s — Jim Harbaugh is being closely looked at by a number of general managers around the league but if anything I for one feel that it’s highly unlikely that he’d leave that Stanford Cardinals’ program that he’s built up over the last few years. Not when they’re now clearly a force to be reckoned within the Pac 10 as well as at the national level and if anything that clearly will play a part in any decision that the coach may have in deciding his future should the approach come from an NFL franchise. And the sentiment seems to be that the San Francisco 49ers once CEO Jed York has spoken with the board members of the organization will make a full fledged attempt to hire the Stanford Cardinals’ coach. With the firing of Mike Singletary a proven winner in Harbaugh might well be needed to bring the fans back to Candlestick Park and at the same time should the organization see fit they may well look to trade up in the upcoming NFL Draft with a view to acquiring Andrew Luck who many believe will be the consensus overall number one pick coming out of the draft. While there’ll no doubt be a plethora of quality players at the quarterback position, it is Luck who many feel may well be the best of the bunch .
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The annual carousel of coaches’ firings and hirings will go on with unabated breath but it clearly shows that any franchise within the NFL today cannot stand pat and simply think that merely being average will be good enough. It’s not merely just about making money but also winning as that’s the thing that clearly defines success within the league . And having a winning product on the field goes a long way in achieving the desired success sought both on and off the field. While the postseason is about to get underway there’s no denying that once that schedule has been completed we may well see the full weight of the maneuvers that may well go into effect as some teams with vacancies may well also wish to approach assistant coaches and coordinators and also gauge their interest in the openings that are around the NFL.
The NFL has now become a 24 hour a day , seven days a week , 12 months of the year none stop business and it’s one of the main reasons why it holds its fans as a captive audience throughout the year. Where else can you find such intrigue and suspense at your very finger tips and at the same enjoy all of the intrigue as it unfolds ? Nowhere I’d hazard a guess in saying because all else with regard to the other three major sports pales into comparison when adjudged against the comings and goings within the NFL.
What thoughts if any do you have on the possible managerial carousel of prospective firings and hirings that have and will have taken place ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !
Alan aka tophatal …………………………
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