So we've reached the end of the NFL regular season, and it's time for some pontification. As many of you know, I take a lot of football cues from Gregg Easterbrook on NFL.com. Big-blitzing is more often than not stupid. Punting any time you've got a fourth down in enemy territory is pretty suspiciously candyassed behavior, and punting inside the enemy 45-yard line should be punishable by death. Getting beat deep late in the game when you're ahead is, at best, the stuff of human vegetation; player egos must die; cheerleaders should wear as little as possible, even in cold or wet weather. These are all givens, in my little football world.
I depart from Easterbrook on one key issue: he maintains that, while there is a business case for firing head coaches of teams that don't make the playoffs, there is not so much of a football case. After all, only 12 of the 32 NFL teams will make the playoffs (unlike college football, where half or more of division I teams play in a postseason game, even if it's the Tucks Inflamed Anal Tissue Bowl).
I maintain that many professional football coaches suck ass and should, in fact, be fired for football reasons. Herein my first annual review of which coaches should stay, and which should be blood-sacrificed to Satan upon a stone altar set at midfield:
New England: No way. Belichick is a fucking genius. I'm not sure why; he looks like a homeless person on the sidelines, and obscure and inexplicable things he does turn out to be Einsteinian. But the man is a fucking genius and should coach this repulsive team until he dies or retires.
Miami: Saban has only had one year, so far. A 9-7 finish out of this pack of barking dogs was a fucking miracle. And beating the Pats in Foxboro on the last day of the regular season, even with Tom Brady on the bench warming his anal tissues, was superschweet. I must grudgingly admit that I'm mildly impressed.
Buffalo: Mike Malarkey is a complete fucking dumbass, and a pussy to boot--he leads the league in punts from inside the other team's forty. I tried watching some of a Buffalo game a few weeks ago, and Ilse made me change the channel to something involving fluffy bunnies, because the guy's very existence was pissing me off so much (and I don't like Buffalo any more than I like any other team in the cesspool of evil that is the AFC East). Why the fuck is he coaching an NFL team? More importantly, why, two whole days after the season's end, and with seven other coaches already headed to the homeless shelter, is this worthless gob of spit still employed? What the fuck is taking you so long? Fire this fucktard!
Jets: It's not Herm Edwards' fault that Chad Pennington has a penchant for high vagina sprains, or that Curtis Martin dropped dead after 12 games, or that management made a really, really, really bad trade in sending away reasonably decent human being (for a Miami alum) Santana Moss for the prancing egoist Laveranoose Coles. Be all that as it may? I just plain don't like Herm Edwards, and the Jets are really, really pathetic. Fire his ass.
Cincinnati: See? They told you Marvin could coach. If I advocated firing the guy, it would be out of pure peevishness after the Bengals stole him from the Redskins.
Pittsburgh: Bill Cowher has the longest tenure of any active NFL coach. And the Steelers are certainly a reasonably good team. I dislike them, a lot, but that doesn't mean they're not a good team. I also dislike Bill Cowher, a lot. A whole fuck of a lot. It's hard to quantify how much I dislike Bill Cowher. He is a whimperer and a blowhard, a bully and a pussy. And yet, I do not advocate firing him. I do, however, advocate driving wooden stakes through his heart and eyes and burying him in a lead casket reinforced with submarine-hull-grade titanium, many, many miles under the Earth's crust.
Baltimore: I was agnostic about Brian Billick until a recent luncheon engagement with my friend Fester, a Ravens fan. I was already not particularly in love with Billick, who is a local celebrity of sorts (I'm much closer to Washington than to Baltimore, but Billick shows up and gets ovations at Maryland basketball games and other local events), and struck me as...I dunno, more ego than he's worth, I guess. Fester convinced me that the man is simply a bad idea, and it's a shame the Ravens publicly committed to not canning him. Everything good about the team has collapsed since their Super Bowl win, and it's hard to keep giving Billick a pass.
Cleveland: Who the fuck coaches Cleveland? Oh, right, that guy Juliet. Whatthefuckever, he's only had a year. Fire him after Cleveland sucks next year. Which it pretty reliably will.
Indianapolis: Dungy took way too long to figure out how to rip the Patriots' death grip from around his team's throat, but it's otherwise hard to fault him.
Jacksonville: I do not know squat about Jack Del Rio. However, he managed to get the Jags to the playoffs in his second year despite having very little to work with. I can't in good conscience suggest his demise.
Tennessee: Blaming Jeff Fisher for the Titans' collapse is like blaming 9/11 on Bill Clinton. The Titans have been horribly managed since their heyday, and are in the midst of a gigantic and lengthy salary cap collapse. I don't care much for Fisher, but there's no particular reason the guy should be unemployed.
Houston: Already fired. A year late, but already fired.
Denver: The Denver Broncos have scored more points and won more games during Mike Shanahan's tenure than any other team during the same period. That's a hard record to fault.
Kansas City: Vermeil retired. I'd have fired him because I don't like him, but that's a deeply coded genetic response to a guy who once coached the Eagles.
San Diego: Schottenheimer is a disaster. He gave up on the Chargers' last game of the season, when a win could've put them in the playoffs. His team absofuckinglutely collapsed around his ears after they upset the Colts a few weeks back. He's a ranting shitheel, completely batshit fucking insane. Sure, the Chargers were a surprise team last year. That's because Schottenheimer would've ripped out their hearts and served them at the San Diego Yacht Club buffet if they hadn't been. The man is purely bad news. Fire him.
Oakland: Norv Turner was fired today, but Ilse will attest that I spent way too much time watching last weekend's Giants-Raiders game because I was convinced that Al Davis would storm onto the field during the game and have Norv executed. Imagine my disappointment.
Seattle: Holmgren is a doofus, but the Hawks have no business being where they're at. Can't fault that there.
St. Louis: Martz was already fired, and probably shouldn't have been; he deserved another year to try to turn the team into something. This is a team that thrives on its offense, and the heart of the offense was hurt. It's also hard to transition from a great like Marshall Faulk to the next big thing, Steven Jackson; it's hard to fault Martz for having trouble with that, with his quarterback's knee blown for half the season. And with Martz himself in the hospital for a couple of months. But the Rams have been batshit insane organizationally for a while now.
Arizona: Buh-bye, Dennis.
San Francisco: They have a coach? Oh, right. Mike Nolan. I dunno. First-year guy. No QB to speak of, first overall draft pick taking his lumps. I'd give them a year.
Chicago: Sure, fire the consensus coach of the year.
Minnesota: Already fired. I wouldn't have, but I have a soft spot for former Maryland Terrapin tight end Mike Tice, so I may be clouded on this one. I have a hard time accepting that it's Tice's fault that his players are criminals and prima donnas, but my judgment is suspect here.
Detroit: Already fired one, and they need to fire Dick Jauron, too, who is just a total football failure. I think he's actually labelled as "interim," so it may be a given that there's another vacancy in Detroit. The crime there is GM Matt Millen, who's so far up the Ford family's ass a colonoscope couldn't find the guy. And mind you, I like Millen, a former Redskin who was more-or-less tolerable in the broadcast booth.
Green Bay: What? It's Mike Sherman's fault that Brett Favre doesn't know when to quit? Tscha right. Morons.
Tampa: Hard to say that a guy who managed to get this team to the playoffs should be fired. But I don't like him, so I'll be happy to say it.
Carolina: Jon Fox has plenty of time, in my book. The Panthers have turned into a consistently pretty darned good team. They've narrowly--and respectably--missed some shots at the Super Bowl in the last few years. Jake Delhomme was a heck of a find. No need for anything drastic here.
Atlanta: Michael-Mike Vick's head is so fucking big, and he's such a lousy fucking quarterback, that it's hard for me to blame the Falcons' failure on Jim Mora. However, he's their GM, too, or their Executive VP, or some such piffle. He could end this left-handed reign of scrambling, chest-thumping terror. Vick's high point this season came after he managed to throw for over 200 yards in one game, a feat most professional quarterbacks achieve, oh, I dunno, weekly? At the press conference after the game, Vick ripped into the press, saying he didn't want to hear any more that he cain't throw. Michael-Mike? You can't throw, you egotistical cocksucking eldest child of a family of useless, scruffy football criminals.
New Orleans: Already fired, but blaming Haslett for Hurricane Katrina is like...uhm, blaming a football coach for a hurricane. The Saints never had a chance this season. I will say that on the few occasions I actually watched them take the field, I was considerably less than impressed.
NY Giants: Coughlin just got the job, at least in NFC East years. I don't hate him enough yet to want him fired.
Washington: Gods yes. After encouraging the organization to spend $5 mill a year on aging, left-handed religious fanatic Mark Brunell, Gibbs sparked a quarterback controversy that ended with Patrick Ramsey being named the starting quarterback for the entire season. Four minutes into the season opener, young Ramsey was clotheslined by Brian Urlacher or some other vicious Bears linebacker, and knocked loopy for ten minutes or so. By which I mean that, after ten minutes, Ramsey had his helmet back on and was marching up and down the sidelines, passing sobriety checks, and throwing thirty-yard bullets with his howitzer of an arm. All for naught. It appears that one vicious (but perfectly legal) sack somehow changed the equation for sanctimonious liar Gibbs, who forgot to tell us that Brunell is one of his Jesus buddies. The Redskins have other problems; owing to the aforementioned Brunell and a number of other bad financial decisions (the combination of Levar Arrington, Brunell, Clinton Portis, and a number of departed players results in huge charges against the Skins' salary cap), the team faces a huge salary cap crash of 49ers/Titans proportions in the next two years. The time to cut one's losses and rebuild is now, and the Skins admitted as much by drafting Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell in the first round of last year's draft. Yet, instead of putting in Campbell to take his lumps, trading Ramsey for something of value (Ramsey, having begged for a trade after being sodomized by Gibbs, will end up with another team and star, I tell you, star), and relegating the elderly Brunell to the bench, the Skins went for it, scraping out a playoff season primarily on the strength of a defense coached by future Skins head coach Gregg Williams. Mark my words: after the Redskins upset Tampa Bay this week, then get their heads handed to them in Seattle, it will be 2012 before this team plays another postseason game. On the day Gibbs was hired, I wrote this (now reproduced under the Blogger aegis and edited to remove some insider garbage) in protest. I say to you this evening, fire Joe, Jesus El Senor Christo Super Mayamaya Jefe Gibbs, now.
Dallas: I heard Parcells is contemplating retirement. Much is made of his failure to ever complete a head coaching contract, and he has one year left on his contract with the 'Girls. I watched some of their game the other week against...crap, I forget who, but it doesn't matter. Fox, or whoever was broadcasting it, showed a buttload of Parcells memorabilia/vomit on the assumption that he's toast. I don't particularly care. I don't like Parcells, and even if the 'Girls named They Might Be Giants or Bill Clinton or Coretta Scott King as their head coach, I wouldn't like their head coach. Discount my judgment here.
Philadelphia: What a spectacular blowup; Super Bowl to toilet bowl. It happens so very often, for teams that aren't coached by Bill Belichick. One could argue that Andy Reid was crossed by fate for this season. One could also argue that Andy Reid is a fat, stupid bastard who should be run out of coaching altogether. I dislike the Iggles less than I dislike other NFC East teams that don't wear burgundy, but that doesn't mean I like 'em. On the other hand, Philadelphia is the city of my birth, I have a powerful lot of Iggles-fan friends, and I gotta empathize with them here. Reid must die.