NFL Coach-GM 'ayatollahs' becoming the norm... May 2001
Trend is to merge on -, off-field calls
May 13, 2001 from the Chicago Tribune by Don Pierson Sports' Writer - Newspaper Clipping as follows:
The Chicago Bears took a giant leap forward with their decision to hire a general manager, but they still may be behind the times.
The trend in the NFL is for the head coach to be the football decision-maker in an organization. When the Philadelphia Eagles fired football operations director Tom Modrak and promoted coach Andy Reid to coach and vice president of football operations, Reid became the 14th NFL coach to assume greater responsibility, most of them within the last three years.
Former Bars GM Jim Finks used to call the coach-managers 'ayatollahs.' Vince Lombardi was the most famous of them, and he won in an era before free agency or salary caps or even agents.
Now the dual jobs require more help than ever. The coaches need to rely on strong personnel men and 'capologists' to fit a roster within the salary confines.
Bill Parcells couldn't get that kind of power over personnel with the New York Giants but did with the New England Patriots and New York Jets, leaving as a legacy the famous line: 'If they want me to cook the dinner, they should let me shop for groceries.'
When the Eagles fired Ray Rhodes as a coaching king three years ago, club owner Jeffrey Lurie said it was a mistake to have one man as a coach and GM. Now he says he meant that it was a mistake to give Rhodes that power.
The Green Bay Packers just named Mike Sherman head coach and general manager upon the retirement of Ron Wolf, the general manager who rescued the team from 25 years of underachievement. Wolf hired Mike Holmgren to coach, and Holmgren left to become a coaching king in Seattle.
Regardless of titles, the list of coaching czars is growing.
The Cleveland Browns' head coach, Butch Davis, has more power than their first coach, Chris Palmer. The Carolina Panthers, a 1995 expansion team, started with a general manager, Bill Polian, but now coach George Seifert has more say than predecessor Dom Capers had. The Browns and Panthers are following the model of the 1995 expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, where Tom Coughlin has been the guru from the beginning.
The Miami Dolphins have kept the same pattern of a Strong head coach from Don Shula in 1970 to Jimmy Johnson to Dave Wannstedt.
Bill Cowher won a power struggle with ex-Pittsburgh Steelers director of football operations Tom Donahoe before last season. Donahoe recently was Named the Buffalo Bills' GM.
After Jeff Fisher got the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl two years ago, his new contract extension gave him more authority than he had working with VP-general manager Floyd Reese.
Dean of NFL coaches Dennis Green calls the shots for the Minnesota Vikings, as done Dan Reeves with the Atlanta Falcons. Marty Schottenheimer agreed to work for Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder this off-season only on the condition that Schottenheimer would get the final say.
Robert LaMonte is the agent for Reid, Holmgren and Sherman. He believes all coaches eventually want the Final say.
'A head coach is like a person who drives a racecar over 200 m.p.h.,' LaMonte said. 'If you drive a car over 200, you'd better be in charge of buying the parts.' Footballhistorian.com