Outside Looking In
Deshaun Watson is only 25 years old and has played in the National Football League for four seasons and wanted a say in the naming of a new general manager and coach for the Houston Texans. When he felt that the team did not adhere to the promise that he would be included in the discussion and instead found out the team had hired Nick Caserio from the New England Patriots as the new GM, Watson demanded that he be traded.
Tom Brady has played in the NFL for 21 seasons, has won six Super Bowls and been named to 14 Pro Bowls, yet has not had any input on front office or coaching hires. Aaron Rodgers has been in the NFL for 17 seasons, the last 14 as a starter, won a Super Bowl and has been named to nine Pro Bowls. He also has had no say over which GM and coach the Packers selected, according to reporters covering both of those teams.
Having your quarterback be included in the naming of coaches and front office personnel is a recipe for disaster. Once you've opened that can of worms, there's no resealing the lid. NBA players began gaining substantial control of the naming of head and assistant coaches in recent years. But the NFL is not run like the NBA.
What happened to the days when professional athletes played for the love of the game and the competitive nature? All they seem worried about now is who makes the most money and who is the best at their particular position.
When the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears last season, instead of celebrating the win after the game with his teammates, Patrick Mahomes made sure the cameras captured him counting to 10 on his fingers, an obvious gesture toward him being slelcted No. 10 in the 2017 draft while Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was chosen No. 2 in the same year.
Does it matter who is better? It's a team game and all that should matter is if your team wins, not if you looked good in the game, win or lose.
LeBron James is seemingly upset with someone every day for not being named ahead of Michel Jordan as the NBA's GOAT. Unless you are playing an individual sport like golf or tennis, there is absolutely no way of knowing who the GOAT in any team sport is. Many of Jordan's former teammates and opponents have said that he never once declared himself the greatest player of all time.
I once asked Walter Payton, one of the best running backs of all time, how hard it was playing for four different coaches during his 13-year career.
"I don't have a say in who my coach is and I don't want one," he said. "I just do what the coaches tell me to do. I just want to play football and be the best that I can be."
If you are going to have a star player assist in the naming of front office personnel or the coaching staff, wouldn't the Texans have looked to longtime defensive stalwart J.J. Watt, an 11-year veteran and three-time defensive player of the year, before Deshaun Watson?
Matthew Stafford, a talented quarterback for the hapless Detroit Lions (he was recently traded to the Los Angeles Rams), never asked to be included in personnel decisions despite the Lions have only been able to win one playoff game in the last 63 years, also according to a Lions' beat reporter.
It's understandable that the general managers and coaches on Watson's short list were all African American. With nearly 70 percent of the NFL players being black, the number of head coaches and GM's pale in comparison. And that needs to be improved. With a record number of black coordinators and assistants being hired for next season, it's a step in the right direction and many of those coordinators will eventually get head coaching jobs.
But because Caserio was not among your choices for the GM position, is that a reason for Watson to demand to be traded? No where in Watson's contract was it spelled out that he would be allowed to make personnel decisions. If he was promised to be included and he feels betrayed, it doesn't mean the team has to hire someone from his list.
As talented as Watson is both throwing and running with the ball, most teams would love to have him on their roster.
Twitter tweeters are having a ball making fun of the way the Texans' organization is run. But that franchise has made the playoffs four of the past six seasons; more than a lot of teams can say.
What makes a four-year NFL player suddenly a guru on the top GM candidates? Is he doing background checks on everyone of the GM candidates to see how they evaluate players, deal with agents and contracts, control salary caps and much more?
Shouldn't a player be more focused on studying game film in order to make yourself and your team better and let those with much more front office experience do their job?
What's next ... fans will demand to have a say on the price of concessions? Good luck with that.