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Monday, February 14, 2011

A Case For Cronyism

The worries of the buddy system have long plagued the NFL - bringing you the succession of Richie Pettitbon and Rich Kotite at times, screwing up and comers for old friends. I'm sure Ron Rivera can tell you about losing out on jobs.

But what might initially seem like a bunch of nepotism and cronyism is often a matter of trust. It doesn't guarantee success, but nothing does. The buddy system isn't foolproof, it just gives you less unknowns. If I'm a coach, I want guys I know - they know my system, they know what to expect, they know how I work and I know how they do.

And, sure, there are coaches' sons in the league. Some have to get their start under dear old dad, doing menial work. What's the honest difference between John Fassel and another random young guy who has tons of interest in becoming a coach and doing the hard work of getting no credit for 14 hour days? If I spent no time with my family over my career and my kid wanted to do what I do, and he showed an aptitiude? Sure. If he can make his way later, without me, why not? The NFL weeds that stuff out quickly.

Same if it was a daughter. Yeah, you can coach. There's no doubt that Mike Brown runs the most nepotistic franchise out there - hell, he's following example of his father really. But that franchise could be the first to be led by a female executive, and it's both on its way and deserved. I think that's awesome.

I mean, it's not like Andy Reid's kids are employed as position coaches. You have to earn it.


It's gotten tougher with the assistant rules being what they are - allowing little freedom for movement anymore - to get guys that you really know, and trust. And the Rooney rule, when it's not being a laughingstock thanks to teams who don't care about it (and coaches like Ray Sherman that allow it), works - you're not hiring a coach because this guy knows that guy, you're doing so because you're required to do the research.

But it doesn't resolve the biggest issue - that coaches want coaches they know.
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