The guys behind ProFootballTalk.com have managed a truly impressive feat. They have built what is alternately the best -- and worst -- football news source on the Internet.
The PFT guys really shine in the offseason, when the focus isn't the games on the field, but rather the backroom dealing that determines who ends up playing where and for how much money. Because they have lines into so many agents, coaches and front office staff, they essentially function as a clearinghouse for all NFL rumors. The fact that everything they print comes to them from self-serving sources who hope the information they provide will benefit themselves doesn't really matter that much to fans, who just want the scuttlebutt. (Although it does put them into a somewhat interesting position when they're commenting on the journalism ethics of everyone else on the interweb.)
The problem for PFT is that the NFL offseason -- while it seems endless -- does actually take a short break every year for that period of time when, well, games are played. These aren't boom times for the kind of rumor-mongering that makes PFT its money, so they end up having to fill the site with other stuff. Unfortunately, way too much of that "other stuff" comes in the form of finger-wagging pronouncements upon the alleged misbehavior of others, complete with one of two solutions:
1) For league problems, new rules to govern behavior;
2) For individuals, firing.
In fact, with the possible exception of Bill Belichick (and I'd have to go back and check), there's not a coach in the league that PFT hasn't at some point been firmly convinced should be canned. The site spent much of the season's first half crusading against Brad Childress up in Minnesota, who in two years has done nothing but reshape an entire locker room, clean up a mess of a franchise recovering from years of no discpline, and get his team on the cusp of a potential playoff berth. Oh, and as of right now, the team seems to have made the best pick in last year's draft to boot. (And sure, he's made some mistakes, but he was right about this one, eh?)
Of course, none of that matters to PFT -- although they've piped down a bit as the wins have accumulated -- since the real problem with Childress is how he talks to the press. And AMAZINGLY that's the exact same problem Reid has .. and also why he should be fired too:
Look, we're not saying that the guy shouldn't be allowed to continue with the team because two of his five children have exhibited chronic behaviors that require more time and attention than an NFL head coach is able to give without compromising performance in his profession. But the fact that Reid permitted this obvious effort to shape his image to occur during the football season makes us wonder whether he truly "gets it."
Why not focus solely and exclusively on getting the Eagles back to the playoffs, and then tell his story in January? Well, if the goal was to ensure that folks in Philly feel good about him during the moments of frustration that arise in the wake of a failed football season, focusing only on the football season would have prevented him from projecting a sympathetic portrait in time to temper the push to get the team to make a change.
The fact that he took even a second away from his work during the regular season to "tell his story" -- and then to edit the telling of his story -- is all we need to know.
It's time for Reid to move on.
Ye gods, that's stupid.
Reid should be fired because he chose to take a couple hours of his time during the season to tell the story people have been clamoring to hear? Especially because it was a sympathetic outlet that was more likely to explain rather than attack? Man, that's dumb. Hey, PFT guys, here are some things you may want to consider:
- By not dwelling on the story when it first came out, Reid kept the whole mess from being any more of a distraction than it already was.
- By dealing with it now, rather than waiting until after the season, Reid ensures this unfortunate season will end cleanly, without spillover into an extremely important offseason for this franchise.
- By telling the story in a controlled setting, Reid was able to ensure he could do the whole thing short and sweet, nipping any ensuing controversy in the bud -- with the exception of other reporters who got their feelings hurt that they didn't get to be in the room. Wah.
All of these things are good. If you're an Eagles fan, you should be happy he handled it this way.
And look, it's not like Reid took a week off to go visit a monastery or something. He took a few hours during his week to deal with something that he thought he needed to do for his team. Even NFL coaches who work 100 hour weeks have a couple of hours when they are doing something else. As long as he's not shooting up or beating his wife, what do we care how he spends that time?
Stick to regurgitating those "rumors," guys. You're better at it.