Last night, I went back and looked at the stats, and some notes I made about the current team and the one that Cam put out there in 2007. Not at all surprisingly, the stats are similar, and the games were close in both cases.
A bumble here or a tackle there, and either of the teams was 5-11.
So, I took a look at the personnel, and came to the conclusion that while there are 5 players that were on both teams, otherwise the current incarnation is not head and shoulders better than that one. I would argue that you could look at specific plays and wouldn't know which team you were watching.
And that gives me pause. Sparano may be a better motivator, and that's all good, but now his players are calling him out to some degree; and I would wager that *if* he were fired, there'd be a lot more that would say something about him. He has a tendency to back up his thinking with stats "well ya know 80% of the time when teams are in that situation, it ends in whatever so I chose to do whatever..." I can see players getting glassy-eyed over that one when it happens all the time.
And in talking with fans, they want a scapegoat. If Ross tells us Sparano and Ireland will be back, my sense is that they won't be happy. Even with a new OC, QB, and special teams coach. Unless there's a flashy name thrown out there, fans are going to be reluctant to purchase tickets until they see what happens.
Now, I've heard the rumors too: they contacted Bill Cowher, and he wants total control. Then phhhhhffffft. I don't want him. They've contacted Jim Harbuagh - he's the current college coach / sexy pick. Its an intriguing option, and his team just won a big bowl game. But reality says he won exactly one more game as a college coach than Randy Shannon (at the U), and we just ran him out of town! Gruden is not a candidate (thank god!). And there *may* be others.
What does any of this say about Sparano? He's the fall-back guy? You don't have confidence in him? He's your second (or third, or fourth) choice? That doesn't give me a warm fuzzy. And I wonder how it makes him feel. Say your boss just came to you to evaluate your performance and then you heard he was looking for someone to replace you. Would you ever feel the same? Would you work as hard?
How can this end well? I'm not convinced it can.
BTW, here's the flash I did when Wayne hired Cam. :)