3 Things Sportsattitudes Takes From NFL Week Seventeen (Donald Trump Week…”You’re Fired”)

I have to chuckle as NFL analysts begin their annual “fireside chat” ritual to solemnly discuss what a terrible, horrible time of year this is for coaches and their families.  The agony of being fired and not knowing where your next check will be coming from…the anxiety of not knowing if and when that decision will be made.

My take is every single head coach, assistant, trainer, etc. spends at least some part of their time throughout the season networking and making friends with all sorts of potential new employers.  They have their next interview down pat in their head just like the requirements of their current team’s playbook and players…and likely are making multiple contacts looking to improve their lot while…yes folks…allegedly working only on and exclusively for their current employer.

In other words…they’re no different from the rest of us.

In fact, taking up the coaching or staff professions commit you to living out of a suitcase for the most part.  Only a chosen few are “sticky.”  Only a chosen few get to live in one location for years on end.

Much of the last week of the regular season is spent speculating on who will be fired…who will be retained.  Sometimes, I think we fail to recognize while NFL coaches set the tone and call plays they think will succeed…ultimately…ya gotta have players, player.

I’m more interested in which players are getting fired and which players will be retained.

Football is a rapid-fire, think-on-your-feet, non-stop collision of coaches’ chess pieces.  While the goal for any chess master is to arrange pieces in the manner they best think will checkmate the opposition, the reality in the NFL is you really…really have to have quick-thinking, highly skilled pieces that process what they see in milliseconds and act accordingly.

This ain’t chess.  It is the pieces that make up the whole.  It is the pieces that determine which coaches get fired…and which are retained…for another go-round.

1. There was much angst a year ago about how very, very bad the NFC West was and how their champion should not even be in the post-season.  That the entire playoff format should be reviewed for reseeding.  And then the Seattle Seahawks sent the defending world champion New Orleans Saints home.  Well, talk to me about the AFC West this year.  Is it because of the angelic aura around Tim Tebow we’ve given that gang of four a free pass?  His Denver Broncos win the division by losing their last three games in gruesome, train-wreck fashion…only advancing due to a tie-break advantage over the similarly challenged 8-8 San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders…with the Kansas City Chiefs only a game back at 7-9.  All four teams were 3-3 in the division.  Only the Chargers managed to finish the season with more cumulative points scored than given up.  The only team the Chiefs managed to score more points than?  The 2-14 St. Louis Rams.  To me, we have a right to call out the AFC West this year…no matter who the quarterback is for the division champion.

2. When you are down by a couple of scores and one of them is required to be a touchdown, I’m always a big, big fan of getting that TD out-of-the-way first.  The likelihood of recovering the onside kick is slim anyway.  If you do pull that off, at least you don’t have to drive far for a field goal try which will either tie or win the game for you.  Recovering an onside kick and driving for a winning TD…harder.  Much harder.  So…you can imagine I was levitating out of my chair when my dear friend Marvin Lewis kicked a 23-yard field goal after the momentum of a nine-play, 75-yard drive…to cut his Cincinnati Bengals’ deficit to eight vs. the Baltimore Ravens.  At the Ravens’ five-yard line with three minutes remaining…I would have gone for the touchdown.  Would you?  Marvin, you and I never seem to see eye-to-eye.  That being said, congrats on joining those Broncos tripping over yourselves into the playoffs.  Then again, if the Arizona Cardinals’ Early Doucet hadn’t tripped over himself on your stadium’s goal line the week before while a TD pass sailed over where he should have been standing…alone…you may very well have been home watching the post-season with the rest of us.  (By the way, Early…Larry Fitzgerald’s dad would like a word about your season)

3. The Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions season finale was great theatre.  The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.  The snowflakes flying.  Matt Flynn setting the all-time Packer records for TD passes (6) and yards (480) in a single game.  Whoa.  Matt Flynn?  Yep, the same guy who lead LSU to the 2007 BCS Championship and then went into witness protection for the most part until last Sunday.  All of a sudden we have people questioning how good Aaron Rodgers is.  It’s the system!  Anyone can do it!  No!  Let us not forget the opposition…and I use that term loosely.  If the Lions’ D does not get to the quarterback it gets ugly fast.  Then again, if they do get to the quarterback they usually commit a moronic penalty which advances the ball…even if the oft-inevitable pass completion has not.  Nice job Matt, but we’ll keep in perspective what you were up against…not much.

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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15 Responses to 3 Things Sportsattitudes Takes From NFL Week Seventeen (Donald Trump Week…”You’re Fired”)

  1. Sean Breslin says:

    Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. refers to his son as “Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald”? That seems a little weird to me…

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  2. I agree Sean. It is factual. He is a star. Still…

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  3. tophatal says:

    sports’ I see that the Bucs’ front office continue to show their apparent lack of common sense ? Now they’re on the hook for $6.5 million in salaries for now two former coaches ( Gruden and now Raheem Morris ) . So Jim Irsay and the Colts part ways with the architects ( Bill and Chris Polian ) of the organization’s triumphs over the last decade and half ? How does a fan try to make sense of that mess when Norv Turner still has his damn job ?

    tophatal …………………

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    • Tophatal, the Bucs are indeed still paying for their sins of the past…and present. But the way the Bay finished their season, they really had no choice. The last game was the final cannonball in a Bucs’ ship that sank long ago. I was quite stunned the Polians were shown the door. One theory being bounced around is Peyton is being stubborn about retiring in one piece and Irsay wanted to make a clean break of everything, including him. My guess is Peyton still wants to play and there was an animated “discussion” about whether or not they could really afford to give him that chance. Irsay’s cleaning house may indeed have much to do with Peyton.

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      • tophatal says:

        The Bucs and in particular the Glazers are a complete joke ! They’ve all but ruined the soccer team Man Utd ….. financially as the organization is still laden with debt (over $1.15 billion) amidst they’re having bought the team in 2005 . Now this mess with the Bucs . What coach is now going to want to come there and clean up that mess ? Never mind the fact that the Glazers have stated that it’s not their intent on spending money via free agency to attain players as they’d rather seek talent through the draft . Unfortunately for them the talent has proven to be a dud since Morris and Dominik took the reins and it simply hasn’t panned out. Furthermore the likes of Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber …. have shown that they’re not leaders , merely sheep and not much beyond that !

        As for Irsay , the organization is on the hook to Manning for a $28 million roster bonus as part of that multi million deal he signed last year . Need one say anymore on the matter ? They could seek to cut him but they’d still have to bear the greater part of that deal .

        tophatal …………..

        tophatal ………..

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  4. Sportschump says:

    I stopped feeling sorry for professional coaches and athletes a long time ago.

    While they may be jobless, I sincerely doubt they’re worried about where their next paycheck is coming from.

    Heck, half of them are fired before their contracts are even up, which means they get to kick back and collect a paycheck from their old team for basically doing nothing.

    You’re right, though, the coaching fraternity runs deep and it can’t be all that tough for any one of these guys, even Norvell Turner, to land another gig.

    Any guesses as to who’ll be the new Bucs coach?

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    • Stunned to hear just now Norv has a job for another year…in San Diego. As for the Bucs’ coach, I think they will go for someone who has been around the block (i.e. already been a head coach). With Norv staying put, Jeff Fisher is denied setting up shop in SoCal. He may wait out some other scenarios but I think it is either Tampa Bay or Miami for him now. I do think the Bay wants a high-profile guy after the “Morris Experiment.” They’ll try to coax Bill Cowher like everyone else will I’m sure. Thanks for stopping by, SC!

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  5. toosoxy says:

    i watched football, bruce! and we won! and the jets were very sad. it was share-worthy.

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  6. tophatal says:

    Turner gets another year ? God this is almost as bad as the state’s justice system when it comes to sentencing ! Lohan’s sentence courtesy of the judge now seems all too harsh if Norv can merely get a year for his mea-culpa’s . LOL,LOL, LOL !!!

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  7. The one thing I loved about the Packers/Lions game was the fact that in spite of cold weather and snow flurries, both teams combined for 971 passing yards…the most in the history of the NFL. Loved it because I’m tired of hearing the old adage that passing teams can’t perform well in cold conditions and therefore run oriented offensive teams have the advantage come playoff time.

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    • I agree, SG. I think that thought about the cold goes back to those Packer-Cowboy games of old, the Vikings when the Rams came to play them outside at the Met, etc. People see that footage from the 70’s and “project.” These days, the rules really favor the offense, the players are more skilled…and it doesn’t much matter what the weather is unless you have that Raiders-Pats “Tuck Rule” game situation where there is several inches of snow on the field. That would slow everyone down a notch.

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  8. chappy81 says:

    The West was ugly this year, which is why it makes me even madder that the Raiders couldn’t make the playoffs. I’m used to disappointment now, so I wasn’t shocked. The AFC West may be bad, but I’d say the AFC in general was somewhat disappointing this year…

    I didn’t see the Cincy-Baltimore game, but do agree you should go for the TD first. That being said, it might not be a good choice to go for it if you got to the 5 then didn’t move the ball for three straight downs…

    Like

    • Chappy, you should be hot as heck the Raiders didn’t make the playoffs. The door was left wide open for them and they couldn’t seal the deal. Now that Carson will have a full off-season to work with his receivers, we’ll find out if he can carry the load once and for all. Interested in seeing if Darren Mc can make it through a full season also.

      Like

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