I asked the following question in the post down below (the one with the picture of Spags in shock that we tried to run on fourth-and-one):
Discussion Question: Why does a five-point loss to the best team in the conference mean the coach should be fired?
I meant it as a legitimate inquiry, but obviously there's a subtext there. We're all mad as hell about this loss, but clearly I believe you don't just fire a coach because he lost a close game against a team that to all reasonable observers appears to be far superior to his own. My bias was obvious in the phrasing of the question and besides, everyone's still too pissed right now to even think about addressing that one rationally.
So let's try something a little different here. We often get some pretty good discussions going around here. However, one of the problems is that sometimes folks just want to rant and rave, rather than dealing with the discussion as framed. That's cool, I get where you're coming from.
But just as a change of pace -- and because this is such an incredibly important topic -- let's set this one up a little differently. In this thread let's only have comments that are really on point. If you want to simply bitch about Andy, please use the Spags thread. Everyone reads all the comments anyway, so it's not like you won't be seen.
On this post, though, let's keep it to the following topic: Why do you fire a coach? (Note that the question isn't: "Why Andy Reid should be fired?" Let's start more broadly than that and work our way down.)
Now I'm going to kick things off here, but then the floor is open. And I have to tell you, it may not come through in this somewhat detached voice I'm writing in, but I'm absolutely devastated tonight. You folks who are just Eagles fans have it lucky. Those of us in the intersection set of Eagles fans and Penn State fans had about 30 hours to come to grips with the fact that while both our football teams still could have reasonably successful seasons, the big prize now appears well out of reach.
Hell, the reason I'm still up writing right now is because if I go to bed, I'm going to soon after wake up. And then I'm going to have to go to work. On a Monday. With the realization that football season -- the fun part, anyway -- appears to be over.
Winter comes early this year.
All of which is to say, don't think I'm any less frustrated or any more satisfied with the current situation than you are. But before I'm willing to start agitating for cutting ties with the most successful coach in franchise history, I damn well want to be sure it's the right thing to do.
So let's talk.
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Gentlemen (and ladies, I know there are some), the question before the house is as follows:
Why do you fire a coach?
As I see it, barring the truly bizarre events like that he's banging the owner's wife, it all starts with one thing:
The team has problems winning games.
That's pretty much it. But of course, you don't just fire a guy because his team has problems winning games, otherwise no new coach would ever last four weeks with a turnaround franchise. Which means you only fire a guy when:
The team has problems winning games AND you don't think the coach can fix the problems OR you think there's another coach who could do a better job doing so.
And that's it, in a nutshell. Which I think is actually, generally speaking, not the approach most fans take. Whenever fans argue that a coach should go, they always talk about the things he's done to this point. They say he should be fired because he called the wrong plays or kept the wrong guys or went with the wrong quarterback.
But that's precisely wrong. In fact, I think this point should get the indented bold treatment:
If your only concern is winning games going forward, it makes no sense to fire a coach because of what he's done in the past, unless those previous mistakes have for some reason destroyed his ability to succeed in the future.
And by future, I don't mean: "they still don't have a fullback and that could really hurt next week." I mean something like: "the coach has so alienated his entire roster that the only time the players show any signs of teamwork is when they get together to egg the guy's house."
Now I know what you're thinking at this point. It's probably something like, "But he makes the same mistakes over and over and by now we know he won't change so OF COURSE we have to consider his past." This is fair, although it's a mis-reading of my point, which is why I'm putting it out here for you.
I'm not saying we don't consider the full body of the coach's work before making our decision. I'm just saying that, well:
Past decisions or performance only matter to the extent to which they can be used to predict future decisions or performance.
So the fact that Reid pulled the trigger on drafting Matt McCoy probably doesn't mean much these days given his drafting of Omar Gaither and Stewart Bradley. The fact that Reid has never valued the running game enough -- and still doesn't, as seen by his bizarre decision to go without a real fullback -- certainly does.
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So there you go, have at it. Let's see if we can have a recommendation for Mr. Lurie by the end of the week.