Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Killing chances

I don't blame Bobby Petrino for wanting to get out of Dodge.

He was put in a no win situation. He was initially expected to win with (statistically) among the worst quarterbacks in the league. He was told to build his offense around Michael Vick. Weeks after taking over the team, the Falcons traded back-up and potential starting quarterback Matt Schaub to the Texans. Then the dogfighting scandal hit, and Vick was done.

Sitting on a rudderless team with petulant stars like DeAngelo Hall, all Petrino could do, if lucky, was tread water. If this team failed to win a single game, enough went wrong around the team that Petrino could have been held blameless.

Even with the limited tools at his disposal, he still managed to eke three wins out of the Falcons.

Regardless of all of the above, Petrino has just succeded in killing any chances for college coaches to move to the pro-ranks anytime in the near future.

Recent history will play big in the heads of the NFL's general managers as they search for their next head coach, and the combined 18-27 NFL records of Petrino and Nick Saban (15-17) will serve as a big warning beacon. The bigger warning beacon, however, will be how the two coaches unceremoniously left after denying interest in college coaching openings.

An interesting aside - the denial games both Petrino and Saban played with their NFL jobs are not common to NFL coaching job changes. As a matter of fact, the only instances in the NFL that I can think of in which this happened are with these two coaching changes.

Right now this is happening all over college football, where a coach signs a contract to work for a school, and leaves before even a year passes in the contract year. Sometimes it's been within weeks.

Saban and Petrino brought it to the ranks of the NFL. And the GM's aren't going to forget that anytime soon.

No comments: