What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
A long, long time ago, in NFL cities far, far away, teams hired head coaches to guide their franchises. With the release of the newest installment of “Star Wars” this week, I thought I’d take a look at these coaches through that lens. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers here, because I haven’t see the new movie yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely going to see it, but I’m waiting so that I don’t need to wade through a galaxy of geeks dressed as Wookies and Stormtroopers.
Speaking of which, there’s a fine line between fandom and power-geek in both movies and football. It’s one thing to wear you Han Solo t-shirt or the jersey of your favorite player, but showing up at a movie in a complete Ewok costume is as dumb as going to a game in full pads and helmet. To mix sci-fi metaphors, even the original Captain Kirk knew where the limits were.
I’ll get to the local Cinema-plex as soon as the nerd factors dies down, which gives us plenty of time to start exploring the Star Wars comparisons in this week’s Coaches Death Watch.
1) Mike Pettine ↔
In the movie, Yoda is a heroic figure, but a lot of people forget he’s very much a reluctant hero. Yoda didn’t want to train Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi; it was forced upon him. Mike Pettine is playing Johnny Manziel begrudgingly, because he really has no other options and it’s clear owner Jimmy Haslem found Pettine’s lack of faith in Johnny Football “disturbing.” Agree or disagree, when the coach gets told who to play, that means his authority is gone, and it’s just best that he find a way out of that dismal swamp known as Cleveland; the Dagobah of the NFL universe.
2) Chuck Pagano. ↔
If you read last week’s installment of this series, you know that Pagano was walking around with poker chips in his pocket. Now I find out that he had the word “GRIT” stamped on them and he passed them out to his players. Having been in management for over 20 years, J-Dub always says you can tell a guy is desperate when he starts doing things straight out of those quasi-useless management self-help book, and this poker chip things reeks of that.
Frankly, I think Pa-gone-o has gone from desperate to accepting his fate. It’s like the duel between Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader where the old Jedi understands the inevitable, lifts his lifted his light saber and lets Vader slice him like a Christmas ham. Obviously, the difference is when finally he is struck down, Pagano will NOT become more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine.
3) Jeff Fisher ↔
You had to know there was little possibility of getting through a piece like this without mention of arguably the most hated Star Wars character ever. To be blunt, Jeff Fisher is our version of Jar Jar Binks. Not only are they both annoying, but you can have a movie or a football league without either of them and nobody would care. Even though the St. Louis Lambs won last week, the speculation is will once again the Lambs lie down on Hollywood Boulevard. Shaky relocation rumors aside, the fact is nobody sees a bright future for the NFL is St. Louis. Even if that team stays, they’re going to suck. Jar Jar Binks sucked, and look what happened to him.
4) Tom Coughlin *NEW*
Tom Coughlin has weaved his way on and off this list like the Millenium Falcon dodging the chunks of what used to be Alderaan. There’s more reasons for that than the total number of Star Wars action figures, but there’s a few that stand out more than intergalactic farm-boy Luke Skywalker in the Cantina in Mos Eisley. I’ve beat on this topic so much I feel like it’s the Janay to my Ray Rice, but the fact is Coughlin has no concept of clock management.
After the big comeback his team pulled off to tie the game against Carolina, he inexplicably refused to used any of the THREE time-outs he still had, which allowed the Panthers to march down the field, burn up the clock, and kick the winning field goal. That looks a lot like a guy who is mentally already in his retirement community town house in Boca Raton, where he’s the block shuffleboard champ (a game with no clock, not so coincidentally).
But that wasn’t even the worst example of a guy who’s clearly already clocked out. Yeah, it’s time to talk about the Bantha in the room…the Odell Beckham, Jr. situation. There’s a few ways to look at this; I’m focusing on one of them. Without getting into “moral police” territory, it doesn’t reflect well on Coughlin.
Where was the Tom Coughlin who was supposed to be the biggest “no nonsense disciplinarian” this side of Darth Vader choking people out for their “lack of faith?” The same guy notorious for building a military-like culture on precepts like “if you’re not five minutes early, you’re late” is the very same guy who turned a blind eye to his star receiver becoming a one-man personal foul machine. What could be the reasons behind a turn as big as the time Vader popped off his helmet so he could see his son with his own eyes just before he croaked?
Yeah, I get the Giants REALLY needed that game, and they REALLY needed Beckham on the field to do that. But it is completely counter-productive to have not intervened as a coach after the second 15-yard penalty to say something like “you better knockoff this crap right now or it will take a sky-crane to get your ass off the bench.” But that didn’t happen, and now the Giants find themselves without their only credible offensive weapon heading into yet another game they absolutely need to win.
Why? Because Coughlin just doesn’t give a shit anymore. He’s already at the Denny’s in Boca Raton having the waitress warm up his decaf.
5) Jim Caldwell ↓1
So the Lions fired their team president, the general manger, the water boy, the parking lot guy…they fired EVERYBODY except Jim Caldwell. You would think that surviving “Martha’s Massacre” would mean Jimmy lives to fail another day, right? Jim Caldwell’s look-alike Admiral Akbar would say “IT’S A TRAP!” And he might be right.
I still think Caldwell is gone, and I think the reason he will be the last domino is the Lions have no idea who might even want that job. There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t fire your coach unless you already have a replacement in mind. Who knows who may be available in a few weeks, and the Lions are just delusional enough to think they can still attract a “big time” coach.
In the span of 1,200 words, we’ve gone from a long, long time ago to T-minus nine days until “Black Monday.” The Death Star is going to explode any minute now, and it’s really just a question of how many of these guys will be on it when it happens?
-You can follow JFI on Twitter @jbhickle
Chip Kelly…may the Force be with you. We’ll now try to pick up the pieces of the pro franchise you ran like a college team. Kudos to Owner Jeff Lurie for getting a jump on “Black Monday” and all interested can now get their agents on it ASAP.
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