Just an uninformed observation, and then on to the NFL: Isn’t it ironic that, at a glance, the Bush’s administration plan for Iraqi economic stabilization entails what appears to be a $1 billion (?!) FDR-style, WPA-like plan to create jobs through a public works program. It’s ironic because the Bush administration has been trying to marginalize, if not undo, the impact of FDR’s Depression-era policies ever since it took office.
Now, on to more salient issues of the day (at least for us) …
Like all good mechanisms, the NFL represents the sum of its inter-related parts. Nothing operates in a vacuum. For Steelers’ fans, fond as we are of navel-gazing and (currently) agonizing over whether franchise management will select (as Head Coach Bill Cowher’s replacement) either Assistant Head Coach Russ Grimm or Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt (or even a wild card outsider such as Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears), it’s interesting to note what happened in Atlanta over the weekend.
The Atlanta Falcons named the
1) First, it eliminates the Steelers’ Ken Whisenhunt as a candidate for the Falcons’ job, for which he was widely considered a front-runner for the following reasons: First and foremost, he’s a bright and seriously accomplished young coach who will get his shot this year at a head coaching position somewhere in the NFL. Additionally, because he attended Georgia Tech, and because he and his wife are from the
2) Second, both Petrino and Whisenhunt last year reportedly were offered head coaching jobs in the NFL, or at least were serious candidates. Both declined their respective opportunities. Under Petrino, the
3) As for Whisenhunt, who declined the Oakland Raiders’ offer last year to become that moribund franchise's head coach, the speculation following that decision was that Bill Cowher had informed him of his own plans to resign following the 2006 season, opening the way for Whiz to become the de facto leading candidates as the Steelers’ head coach this off-season. That was (speculatively) one reason for him to decline the head coaching position in
4) Now, a question: Why did Atlanta reach into the college ranks (historically risky) to hire its head coach instead of selecting somebody (Whisenhunt) more familiar with the ways of the NFL and who, incidentally, had his fingerprints all over the 2005 Super Bowl winner and orchestrated a top 10 offense in 2006? (yeah, we know, it’s hard to believe)? The answer: Michael Vick. It’s no secret Michael Vick is a coach killer. Hell, Jim Mora, Sr., the father of Vick’s most recent coach, Jim Mora, Jr., said it himself on the radio airwaves during the season. Vick has talent, and throughout his career, his head coaches have tried to harness and channel that talent. Give Jim Mora, Jr. credit: He tried to install a style of offense conducive to Vick’s talent. Mora fils seemed to be using as a model Hall of Famer Steve Young, who had many attributes similar to Michael Vick’s – both, left-handed, mobile quarterbacks who could potentially exploit the best attributes of the West Coast offense. Coincidentally, Jim Mora, Sr. coached Steve Young for a couple of years in the now long-defunct USFL, where Young could learn the West Coast offense without anybody paying much attention. Vick has had no such under-the-radar training ground. He has had to try learn the Mora system in the harsh, unforgiving spotlight of the NFL, and he has not had much success.
5) Which brings us back to the Steelers’ decision on a new head coach: Choices, choices; decisions, decisions. There are pros and cons, of course, to Messrs. Grimm, Whisenhunt, Rivera, et al. Just one observation: In last year’s coaching hierarchy (organizational chart), it was Russ Grimm who was Assistant Head Coach. This title made him second in line of command to Cowher, although as offensive line coach, he was presumably subservient to Whisenhunt’s role as offensive coordinator. Hmmm. Verry interesting, verr-ry interesting.