Each year the Labor Day weekend serves as D-Day in the NFL. It is a time when NFL players participate in their own game of “Survivor” and believe me, no one wants to leave the Island.
Anxiety runs high for players waiting for final roster cuts. However, this year the rapid pulse and sweaty palms belong to more than just the players. It seems as though no one is safe during a preseason when critical evaluations have also exposed coaches and front office members to being voted off the Island.
The recent firings of offensive coordinators Jeff Jagodzinski, Chan Gailey and Turk Schonert sends a message that no one is really safe come cut time in the NFL. Even Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson relieved his own son from management duties, hidden behind a change in both title and responsibilities.
The recent shake up at such high levels of an NFL organization has also served as a warning bell of indecisiveness and mismanagement of club resources. Cutting coaches does not necessarily offer financial cuts in teams’ operational budgets. Remember, the clubs are still on the hook for paying the salaries of each one of the coordinators who were recently fired. As a team owner, I wouldn’t want to pay a million dollar salary to someone who is no longer working for me.
The league recently released a report which projects at least 10 to 12 clubs will face one or more television blackouts due to their failure to sell out home games during the 2009 season. How is it that during these tough economic times, NFL teams can still afford to write off huge salaries while dismissing employees, who in some cases were hired just a few months ago? Real world calamities would call for a reassignment in order to cover up poor hiring decisions. Such moves at the club level are contradictory to claims of economic hardships.