Thursday, August 30, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
New coaches in pro football
There is a reader of this column up in Sturgis, South Dakota, and his name is Tre. He is a former U.S. Air Force member and his spouse is still serving at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. Ellsworth is located at Rapid City and is home to the 28th Bomb Wing, 34th Bomb Squadron and 37th Bomb Squadron (SAC). Tre has been there five years. Hang in there, Tre; I spent four years in North Dakota one week. Why do I know a Tre in South Dakota? It’s a “tech support” thing.
And while on that subject, there are seven new coaches in the NFL this season which will probably need all the support they can get from anywhere. The coaching carousel question came up last week when some inquired why I hadn’t done my usual treatise on the NFL’s revolving door. (See what happens when one become old and doddering? I thought I had.) I can specifically remember naming the new coaches for the 2011 season because there were seven. And wouldn’t you know it? There are seven again for the 2012.
Sometimes the head coaching winds blow fickle. The contractual deals won’t be discussed here at any length, but it’s a pretty common fact that head coaches (and their agents) can engineer some pretty lucrative pacts (albeit nowhere as lucrative as the deals made by the players they lead). These coaches are well aware that the expectations of their new bosses are penthouse high. Some travel among teams carrying a plethora of experience and successes while others not so much. And sometimes you will find a former collegiate coach making the jump.
Of the new riders on this year’s merry-go-round, only three have come with head-coaching stints under their jackets. The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have to ask too loudly, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?,” because Romeo Crennel was already there. Crennel stayed at the N.Y. Giants over 10 years as an assistant and other positions. After trips to New England, New Jersey, and Cleveland, he went back to New England and was given the head job at Cleveland in ’05-’08. He went back to K.C in 2010 and was elevated to head coach and defensive coordinator.
Mike Mularkey was head coach at the Buffalo Bills for two years. He has been in the league since ’94 and will lead the Jaguars now. Jeff Fisher was abruptly fired by the Titans in 2011 (at the time the longest tenure head coach in the NFL). He began with the Eagles in 1988, joined the Oilers (Houston), in ’94, made the move to Tennessee and took over as head coach in ’95. Now he will try and whip St. Louis into shape.
The other four include Joe Philbin (Dolphins) and Dennis Allen (Raiders), a defensive coordinator under Hue Jackson who only lasted a season. Chuck Pagano (Colts) spent most of his coaching career at Cleveland and Baltimore. Greg Shiano is jumping on the spinning horses for the first time. After heading up Rutgers for a number of years he will try to put some swash and buckle back into the (Tampa Bay) Buccaneers.
We certainly wish all of these new mentors well (except when they contest our favorites, of course), and you can bet your Buds and wings we will be watching.
Hate to close on a sour note, but the fans in Austin are all pro Lance Armstrong. The “hero on wheels” decided to abandon his fight against charges that his seven Tour de France titles were tainted. It is hard for me to embrace. Doping rumors had hovered over Armstrong throughout the seven Tours. Why didn’t they bring charges then? Smacks a little like the Muhammad Ali case to me.
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