Today’s game is called, “Pretend you’re Jed York.”
Here’s how it works. You’re the worst owner in sports. Every idea or instinct you ever had about how to build a franchise was wrong and you deserve to be fired. But, you won’t be fired. Not in this game. Your parents own the team and they’re giving you another chance to fix things.
What are you going to do?
Your first instinct is to fire Trent Baalke and give Chip Kelly one more season to prove himself. That’s what most journalists tell you to do. Baalke is responsible for this terrible roster — not Kelly. Keeping him would create continuity at head coach, which is good in theory. And, you would look foolish firing three head coaches in three seasons. Like you don’t know what you’re doing.
But, you don’t know what you’re doing — you admit that. And remember, your instincts are always wrong. So, you reconsider. You ask yourself, “Is there any possible way that keeping Kelly for a second season might be worse than firing him after one?”
And you realize, yes, the only thing worse than firing Kelly after one season would be firing him after two. Because your franchise will invest a high draft pick in a quarterback just a few months from now, and firing Kelly after the quarterback’s rookie season would force that quarterback to learn two different offenses his first two years in the NFL. And that’s how you ruin your investment.
You must be prepared to fire Kelly now and hire someone better if you can find that person. You have to make a list.
At the top, write, “Coaches I would rather have than Chip Kelly.” And below that, write, “No. 1: Nick Saban.”
Saban is a no-brainer. He’s the best head coach in college football, maybe ever, and he used to serve under Bill Belichick, a roaring success in the NFL. Saban could turn around your franchise.
But in this game, you must be realistic. Saban could go to any team he chooses and name his price. Plus, he’s 65 years old, and may not want to coach a team like the 49ers and endure a season of losing. He may want to coach a team that’s ready to win right away, a team that has a talented roster and a veteran franchise quarterback. You have to be prepared for Saban to turn you down or to stay at Alabama.
So, beneath his name, write, “No. 2: David Shaw.”
Shaw is another no-brainer. He’s a great head coach in college and he used to serve under Jim Harbaugh, a roaring success in the NFL. Shaw could turn around your franchise.
But again, be realistic. Shaw and Harbaugh are close friends and Harbaugh is your sworn enemy. The guy you ran out of town. You must be prepared for Shaw to turn you down out of loyalty to his friend. And Shaw says he doesn’t want to leave Stanford.
And that means you need more names on your list. This is where the game gets tricky.
There are no more no-brainers to choose form. The rest of the good college coaches run gimmick-college schemes similar to Kelly’s and that’s not what you want.