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What are good reasons for firing a coach?

Posted Dec 9, 2013

Lots of points on Sunday; lots of hitting in San Francisco


Aaron from Eau Claire, WI

Going to the game really lets you see the human confrontation you always talk about. I feel like some of that is lost watching on TV. You see the players get hurt and see the angst and despair. It truly is a different game to watch when you are at the game, compared to TV.

You feel the game when you’re at the game. If you had been sitting on one of those metal bench seats at Lambeau Field on Sunday, you would’ve felt the cold and how it made everything those players did more difficult. If you were sitting in the cold, you would’ve felt the hits those players absorbed. You would’ve felt the icy ground as they landed on it. Being at the game makes the game real. It gives us an appreciation for the moment. You feel the wind, you hear the cheers and the boos, and you identify faces with each. TV only shows you what TV sees. When you go to the game, you see and hear so much more.

Adam from Superior, WI

Vic, what in your mind qualifies the firing of a coach?

Ultimately, it’s a decision that is made by the owner or the person in charge for making those decisions. If that person loses confidence in the coach, a change is likely to be made. If I’m making the decision, I’m looking for examples of my coach’s impact on his players. Are they prepared? Are they giving great effort? Are they disciplined, committed and unified? I watched last Thursday’s Texans-Jaguars game. When the young defensive back from South Carolina experienced his emotional meltdown, which resulted in a drive-sustaining taunting penalty, followed by subsequent damaging penalties, I thought to myself: The kid just got Gary Kubiak fired, and he did. Firing a coach to placate the fans is nuts. Bad franchises do that. There’s only one thing that satisfies the fans, winning, and winning is temporary.

Tim from Sarasota, FL

Vic, we fans have this opinion that some elite coaches have the magic formula for halftime adjustments, while others don’t. I was listening to Brian Billick the other day and he said that’s way overblown. Thoughts on that and Billick?

Billick is a straight shooter. He talks to the media at the combine every year and I like what he says in his press conference. I especially like his line: “If a player tests positive at the combine, he’s too dumb to play for me.” I agree with him that halftime adjustments are overblown. I’m not saying adjustments aren’t made, I’m just saying they aren’t nearly as sophisticated as fans think, and they are adjustments that can be made on the fly along the sideline. What happens at halftime that I think is important is the reset a coach gives his team in the way of perspective. He makes it crystal clear as to what his team has to do in the second half to win the game.

Mike from Shoreview, MN

Vic, according to ESPN, there were 90 touchdowns scored on Sunday, the most on a single day in NFL history. We are officially in the video game era.

That’s why I liked the Seattle-San Francisco game so much. They just knocked the heck out of each other. I like hitting more than points. I really like hitting. It makes me feel warm inside, which is sick and twisted. I’m trying to change my culture, but it’s not working.

Melissa from Madison, WI

Hi, Vic, I sincerely enjoy your column and your commentary. I’d like to make a point of clarification. I was at the game on Sunday and, I too, was booing at the end of the first half. But this was by no means directed toward the players. It was aimed squarely at Mike McCarthy. The fact that he was playing out those last few seconds, with zero potential for impact on the score of the game (his team was to receive the ball to start the second half), but dramatic potential to impact the health of the team negatively was appalling and unconscionable of him. As I suspected, Lacy was injured on the final play of the half and walked off limping. What was the sense in that? Vic, can you help me understand what Mike was trying to accomplish?

He was trying to win the game. He did win the game. When you win, everything you do and say is right. Just win, baby.

Marcio from Porto Alegre, Brazil

Vic, do you think Gronkowski’s injury proved Meriweather right?

Yes.

Troy from Clayton, WI

I didn’t boo, Vic.

You’re winsome, Troy. Winsome is not about weakness, it’s about self-control and respect for others. Those are virtues. They speak of your dignity and character.


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