Thursday, January 18, 2007

Previous comments

Here's what I had to say on my very own website back when Nick was hired:
 
(the week before)
The buzz all week was around Nick Saban. He and H Wayne did talk early in the week. There are plenty of rumors and "reports" about this deal. Most think this is a done deal and anything else is just window dressing.

I'm still of the opinion that they need a president, a GM, and then a coach. And here's why: When Joe Robbie founded the team, he knew a little about football, but was shrewd in business. After his initial "experiment" with Dave Wannstedt, I mean George Wilson, he went out and got the guy who was not only an experienced coach, but a guy who knew football - Don Shula. Yes, the game was different then, but it was still important to have someone run the football team and at the time one person could handle it. Later, he hired a few business people to run the business side, and ultimately that led to Eddie Jones. When H bought the team, he took over as it was. He ultimately made a decision to leave the format the same and cast aside Shula for JJ. The major difference was that Shoes really believed in the team, and had little ego. JJ believed in himself and had a huge ego. The combination didn't work because JJ wasn't interested in the "franchise" only in winning. Later, JJ "forced" Dave on Wayne, again with little change. And that was setting the team up for failure. Putting in another coach without an organization in place is unlikely to lead to success.

But what do I know? The team has interviewed three candidates: Nick Saban, Art Shell, and Jim Bates. There will reportedly be an offer to Saban this week, which has everyone talking. The players don't like his opposite-of-Dave style. This group interested in seeing minorities hired has expressed their concerns, and plans to file a grievance of sorts against the Phins if they hire Saban. And its not clear if Saban would even accept an offer.

Another thing that's bugging me is the whole hiring process. Its wrong. The NFL has established the Rooney Rule to ensure that minority candidates get interviews. And while that sounds nice, it doesn't really help. The goal is to ultimately hire minorities, but there's a window between the end of the college football season and the end of the year when college football coaches are "available" and a different window at the end of the NFL season when assistant coaches are "available." So, if there is a college coach you want, you have to hire him before any NFL assistants can even be interviewed. And if you want an NFL assistant, you have to wait. There probably is an answer that would make all of this work, and it probably includes allowing for interviews for clear promotions at any time. But, no offers can be made until after the season is over. Or something.

(the day after)

Yes, a mere 12 hours after interviewing interim coach Bates, H made an offer to Nick Saban to take over starting next year. He offered a combination of cash, control, and a coupon for half off of a happy meal. But, Nick made everyone wait. And wait. And wait some more. He had to wrestle with this important decision: be a god in Baton Rouge or become the savior of the Dolphins. For a while I thought he might just forgo the offer and make the franchise look even dumber than it has for the past year. But, he eventually came through. Rumor has it that the final touch was when H suggested that he could meet all of the webmasters, and he was looking forward to finally meeting Bitchin' Dave.

I personally am still not sold. I thought the organization would be better served to have a president first. And I don't think a guy can make the jump from college to the pros with personnel responsibilities. No matter how good he's touted to be. But, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

For his part, Nick was pretty cool about everything. He doesn't want to distract from what's left of this season. He even suggested moving the press conference to accomodate Bates' day-after press conference.

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