It's 888 Miles to Chicago...
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The game of musical chairs that is the annual NFL Head coaching turnover has finally wound down to an end.  With the hiring of Norv "Third shot" Turner by the Chargers, the last opening is now filled.  As I rode the bus into work today, my thoughts wandered about the turn over this year, and in particular this last hire...and then the magic of the mp3 player shuffle kicked in...and I heard the lyric, "Success is my only mothaf**kin option, failure's not" ...what a perfect summary of the head coaching profession.

Being bored on the bus, with my other options being to stare at the women with pink stretch pants, cowboy boots and 150 extra pounds...or try to figure out what the strange guy in the back kept clapping about, I started the song over...and what came out of it, is a look at the coaching hires through the song Lose Yourself by EMINEM...

They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose dove and sold nada

Arizona Cardinals

From Dennis Green To Ken Whisenhunt

While I whole heartedly agree that Denny needed to go, it would be nice to see some stability in Arizona.  It's not all that suprising that they are consistently terrible...they seem to change coaches like my daughter goes through diapers...soiling another and discarding it, never to be seen again.  The best analogy for the Cards are an organization is a 300 pound guy who's trying to get in shape....hold on, I'll explain...

This 300 pound guy, we'll call him Fatty McButterpants, tries every fad diet, and exercise program known to man...Atkins, South Beach, Ab Cruncher, Thigh Master, Bowflex, Total Gym, Taebo...you name it, he's given it 15 minutes of his time...but that's the thing, he tries each for about a week, and then stops.  Either it's too hard, doesn't show results quick enough, or the next great idea comes along.  All the while, he's still 300 pounds.  What Fatty doesn't seem to get is if he stopped having all his meals at MickeyD's, KFC and Taco Bell...and just took a long walk each day...and gave himself a reasonable amount of time to get things done...he would not only lose the weight, but would do so in a solid, maintainable way.  But Fatty can't be bothered with that, not when the Grapefruit Diet promises to help him shed weight super fast!

And there in lies the problem with the Cards...the front office doesn't have a clear goal, and doesn't understand how to build a program for the long haul.  Yes, always drafting and signing skill players gets the fans excited in the offseason...but the secret to long term success, is making sure you have a large stable of big uglies...something the Cards completely lack.  I wish all the best to Wisenhut, but unless he can change the mentality of the front office, he'll be out in 3 years himself, with nothing to show for it.

A normal life is borin, but superstardom's close to post mortem
It only grows harder, only grows hotter

Atlanta Falcons

From Jim Mora To Bobby Petrino

This line has double meaning....

First it applies to the man they call Vick.  Even though he's never had a normal life, he's finding that being a Superstar means every move he makes gets scruntized.  Especially when the moves that he make are extremely questionable.  The whole water bottle incident has proved to be nothing more than a really bad decision on Vick's part.  The fact of the matter is, when you're as big a superstar as he is, anything you do out of the ordinary is going to draw more attention then you want.  It's part of the price for the fame and fortune.  The word trade has come up about Vick in the first meaningful way this year...Atlanta is starting to realize that although Vick is supremely talented, he's a terrible leader, and not really someone you can win with.  This is what Petrino inherits.

This line also applies to the fact that Petrino is making the jump from College coach, to the big stage...the NFL...where everything is bigger, especially the pressure.  If I was the coach at a big time college program, there is no way I would make the leap to the NFL.  I know these guys are extremely competitive, and they want a new challenge, but seriously, why make the leap?  If you're the coach at a big time program, you make just as much money as a pro coach, you're guaranteed a winning season, have great job security, and if you ever win a title...you become a god.  I just wouldn't make the leap...but Petrino did, and he inheritied a messy situation.  Especially since he's going to overhaul the O-Line...previous staff favored the zone-blocking scheme (small, quick lineman), his staff favors more traditional setup...rebuilding a line takes time, harnessing Vick will prove impossible...this is a no win situation for Petrino.

So the soap opera is told and unfolds
I suppose it's old partna', but the beat goes

Dallas Cowboys

From Bill Parcells To Wade Phillips

Can't say it much better myself...what a frickin' soap opera Dallas was last year.  Every story line you ever wanted was there.  If ever a team was ripe for a movie about their season, this ‘Boys team is one.  You had all the drama and craziness that goes with TO...you had Romo's storybook rise to the starting position...and then his return to reality...and then the epic collapse...you had Parcells constantly hinting at retirement...there was Bledsoe pouting on the sidelines cause he was having the worst case of Déjà vu ever...what more do you need or want from a team?  Well, if you're a ‘Boys fan, winning a playoff game would be nice.

The Big Tuna and all his staff are gone now...after a terrible coaching job this season...and they are replaced by Wade Philips....um, yeah.  Cowboys fans, I have a feeling this is going to be a long season again.  Why?  Well, Wade doesn't exactly have a stellar track record as a head coach, and he's gotta replace a whole staff...which means ZERO continuity for the players.  Plus, you have the whole TO distraction staying put, and it all adds up to another mediocre season for the boys.

I was playin in the beginnin, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage

Miami Dolphins

From Nick Saban To Cam Cameron

Now that Nick Satan has been booed off stage...can anyone think of a uglier exit by a coach?  I'm at a loss to think of one.  Consider the following:

  1. He lied several times to all Dolphins fans and management
  2. The program went no where under him
  3. He barely waited for the season to be cold before bolting
  4. He walked away with a huge chunk of the Dolphins money for doing nothing
  5. And finally, he went to Alabama...could you think of a bigger slap to the face of every Floridian?

For Cam, this is a perfect situation...one that was a long time coming for him...for his first Head Coaching job.  The cupboard isn't bare in Miami, there is definitely talent there to work with.  But even better, Nick so poisoned the fans and players with his attitude, that Cam is going to have a HUGE grace period where he can do no wrong.  He's got a few big hurdles in front of him (Culpepper vs. Harrington and Ricky) but if he can navigate through those, he should enjoy a solid first season in Sunny Miami.

He's chokin, how everybody's jokin now
The clock's run out, time's up over, bloah!

Oakland Raiders

From Art Shell To Lane Kiffin

The clock has finally struck midnight on the Art Shell coaching era.  And yes friends, this will be the last time you see Art walking the sidelines in the NFL.  Let's have a moment of silence for the Art Shell era...it brought us all so much joy (except for you Raiders fans, I'm terribly sorry for everything your franchise has become)...we'll no longer be able to wonder if a head coach can go a whole game without blinking...or if the head coach even uses his headset...and don't even get me started on the loss of the Bed and Breakfast jokes...ah, Art, we'll miss you big guy.

Enter Lane Kiffin...you're saying "who?"  Yeah, that's the basic response around the country.  Um, Raiders fans, I'm about to say really mean things about your team, you might want to turn away.

What team hires a 31 year-old coach (that is not named Josh Harrisking...I'm still waiting people!) that has had NO experience as a head coach, and whose highest coaching position was co-offensive coordinator?  Not only that, his job at USC wasn't to call the plays, it was just to radio them in...um, it brings to mind the Eugene Levy line from Waiting For Guffman, "No, I wasn't the class clown, but I sat next to him and studied him."  So is Lane the second coming of Lombardi?  No.  The reason this hire was made is that this franchise is so behind the times that no one wants to work for them.  Al Davis was one of the great minds football has ever seen...but the game has passed him by...and it's so far past him it's not even funny anymore.  He wants total control still; dictating the plays, the players, coordinators, and everything else to the coach...but in today's game, that's just not going to work.  Plus, he wants final say in all personal decisions, and he wants to run a system that is no longer viable in today's NFL.

So Lane is not the next great coach, he's just a guy who had nothing to lose by taking this job.  The Raiders won't turn the corner till Al steps aside, or moves onto that Front Office in the sky.  Until then, the Raiders will still be the punchline to a lot of jokes.  But Lane, "Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders" looks awesome on a resume!

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

Pittsburgh Steelers

From Bill Cowher To Mike Tomlin

From the worst situation for a head coach, to the best.  Mr. Tomlin has found himself sitting on the best coaching job in the NFL.  Why?  The Steelers are the model of stability.  They've had 2 head coaches over the last 30+ years...2.  That's just insane in this day and age.  Not only that, they understand how to give a coach time to grow into the role, and how to correctly build an team.  They almost always draft smart, and make wise moves in free agency.

Beyond that, Tomlin inherits a team that is 1 year removed from the Lombardi trophy...and injuries were the main reason for struggles this last year.  This team still has a ton of talent, and will continue to supplement it with the right draft picks.  My only concern here, Tomlin isn't a 3-4 guy...and the Steelers have always been a 3-4 team...plus their roster is geared to that as well...it will be interesting to see how that plays out.  But other than that, Tomlin should succeed in Pittsburgh...if not this year, soon.  And the great thing, he'll be given plenty of time to find his way.

Feet fail me not cuz maybe the only opportunity that I got

San Diego Chargers

From Marty Schottenheimer To Norv Turner

Of all the teams that had to replace a head coach...the Chargers made the stupidest choices.  They are coming off a 14-2 season...yes, they lost in the playoffs, and yes, I ripped Marty for his coaching job in that game...but you're going to can the coach of a 14-2 team?  Really?  And you're going to do so AFTER both your Offensive and Defensive Coordinators leave for head coaching positions elsewhere?  There by guaranteeing you have ZERO continuity in a sport that thrives on it?  If I was going to write a book about how to kill a franchise's momentum coming off a winning season, that would be the first chapter.  Chargers fans, I feel really bad for you guys, cause this team is so talented, and due to front office stupidity, they are going to waste at least a year of their window screwing around.

For Norv, this is his last and best chance to succeed as a head coach.  In all honesty, he should of never gotten this chance.  He's been terrible when he's the head guy, just brutal.  But he inherits a team that is just loaded with talent, and an offense in particular that is geared toward his philosophy.  He should enjoy game planning with this team...but will he be able to juggle all the other balls that he needs to?  The feet of LT will go a long way to Norv keeping the job...but in the end, I think he's gone in 2 years...and the Chargers are back on the market looking for someone else to take over this group.

And finally, I can't talk about the coaching scene without mentioning Mr. Rivera.  My one big thought on this is, he interviewed for 8 different head coaching positions...8...people like Norv Turner, Lane Kiffin and Wade Philips got jobs and he didn't.  Um, maybe people realized that he really wasn't the brains behind the Bears D?  Even if that's not true, it's got say something about the guy to get turned down that many times...I have a feeling the Bears won't miss a beat.

And I'm out.

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