Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Breaking news: NFL head coaches can be pricks

Rod Marinelli does not suffer fools gladly. Even if that "Fool" is just doing his job on a radio show that is basically shilling for the Detroit Lions.

During Marinelli's weekly interview on 97.1 FM's Lions Report Monday night (Which I surprisingly happened to hear, as I don't make it a habit to listen to what is normally Lions puffery), Dan Miller asked several questions regarding the failure that was the Lions' offensive gameplan against the Cardinals.

Marinelli did his normal sidestepping of the questions, answering in generalities. When Miller wouldn't stop his questioning the gameplan, as Marinelli was talking in circles, the Sarge went into his drill sergeant mode. He told Miller, in so many words, words dripping with condescension and disdain, that track of questioning was a waste of his time. For the remainder of the interview Marinelli was as uncooperative as he could be, giving short, curt, pissy answers, making Miller's job as difficult as possible.

My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins games.

It was as close to a live radio train wreck as you'll ever hear. Marinelli came off as an outright, for lack of a better word, dickhead. Considering that Miller is the Lions' media mouthpiece, it was an unexpected reaction.

The Marinelli-Miller dustup has been the hot topic of sports talk radio today. But shockingly, more than a few callers sided with Marinelli, which I don't understand. Many fans seem to feel that the media's job is to fluff the Lions, not criticize, let alone ask tough questions. Hell, I give Miller all the credit in the world for pressing Marinelli on what was a joke of an offensive performance, and even worse gameplan. Call a spade a spade, for chrissakes. Miller was totally professional, Marinelli wasn't even close to being so.

If Marinelli can't take legitimate criticism, he's not going to last long as an NFL head coach. He definitely shows his inexperience in his dealings with the media. I doubt he was peppered with questions as Tampa's defensive line coach. There has to be a happy medium between Marinelli's antagonistic tough guy approach to the media, and Steve Mariucci's used car salesman style, buddy-buddy slickness.

Then again, if Marinelli wins games, will fans even give a shit if he treats the media as pissant troublemakers? Probably not, as those fans will be too busy crowning him as the King of Michigan...

This will soon blow over, as most anything sports related does. In fact, you can't even clear audio clips of the interview, as the Lions don't allow them to be replayed. So it's not as if anything is going to come of this incident.

But it's just another mistake in decision making by a head coach that is clearly learning on the job. Marinelli needs to learn when and where to pick his battles, especially when it comes to the media.


  1. Have you ever read "First down and a billion" by Gene Klein (late owner of the Chargers in the Coryell era)? He tells the story there of being at the Owner's meetings one year, and talking to an owner that had just hired a coach. The owner of the coach's former team came up and started going on about what an asshole the coach in question was- called him a liar, a cheat an asshole, etc.

    Another owner was nearby, and when the former owner walked away, turned and said "sounds like you got yourself a great coach there".

    As a postscript, Klein said a couple years later the "new" owner told him that the coach really was an asshole. Said it was more fun to lose with his previous coach than to win with the new one.

    Point being that most good coaches are assholes. I guess Dungy is the exception.

    I also recommend the book to you, heartily. It's a great read about how pro football really works, even though it's 20 years old. It helped convince me that Al Davis is a complete and total prick, rather than just a partial one.

  2. The team still sucks. and as soon as "generic Detroit football fan" realizes and accepts that Marinelli will be hated again. They've played and beaten absolutely no one and I wouldn't be shocked if they lost all of their remaining games.

    The problem with most Lions fans is that they get far to excited when they win a few games. While I realize this is probably a byproduct of how bad they've been over the years it still amazes me.

    Anyhow, is Martz doesn't get a head coaching job this off-season he'll probably be the Lions head coach come 2009. And he's generally much more media friendly.

  3. Lions fans have had nothing to be excited about since a guy named barry suited up for them. Give me a break BD. The incredibly loyal Detroit Lion fanbase deserves this. They have sold out every game at FF since its opened. Before that, they sold out just about ever seat in the Dome. Why can't people just be happy when the Lions are going good. Who knows, they may just suprise you.