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Coaching carousel is illogical


The merry-go-round that is the firing and hiring of coaches at this time of the year has to make you question the competence of the people doing the firing and hiring. For example, how is it that teams that were so desperate to hire a coach are now willing to pay millions of dollars to get rid of him?

Consider the case of Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired in Cleveland and all but booted out in Kansas City, but has now signed a $10 million contract as the coach and director of football operations for pro football's most under-achieving team, the Washington Redskins.

Who screwed up? The Browns, who under Schottenheimer enjoyed their greatest success since Blanton Collier was the coach? The Chiefs, who under Schottenheimer had established themselves as one of the NFL's elite teams for the first time since the first year of the NFL-AFL merger? Or has Daniel Snyder thrown more good money down the drain?

Snyder, Art Modell and Lamar Hunt are three of America's most successful and brilliant business minds, yet, their decisions to hire, fire and hire Schottenheimer contradict each other. Of course, Schottenheimer is only one of a multitude of coaches who were one man's junk but another man's treasure.

Truth be known, NFL owners are spending millions of dollars every year in buying out contracts because they lack patience, conviction and commitment. More importantly, they are reacting to the whims and fancies of their fans.

Is that what you really want, an ownership so weak that it can be manipulated by public opinion? Of course, somebody's going to pay for these wasted millions, and you know who that is.

We are nearing an interesting decision in Jacksonville that will involve public opinion. Will Tom Coughlin yield to fan sentiment -- or be forced to relent -- and hire an offensive coordinator?

If he does, it's almost certain that public opinion next season will be that the new offensive coordinator's play-calling was bad, and that he should be bought out of his contract and replaced by another offensive coordinator who's a better play-caller. Is there any fan of any team who is satisfied by the play-calling?

Now, put yourself in Wayne Weaver's position. You're paying a head coach over $2 million a year, but a guy whose salary is a fraction of the head coach's tax bite is going to do the play-calling; make the most critical decisions in every game.

Where's the sense in that?

It's time NFL owners and coaches begin thinking like the successful businessmen and decision-makers they're supposed to be. Stop the merry-go-round. Halt the waste. Show the belief you demand in your players.

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