Mike Nolan is the new coach of the San Francisco 49ers; it is his first job at that level and he is now one of only 32 humans on the planet to hold
that position. That's the good news. His father, Dick Nolan, was the coach of the 49ers back in the 60's and that gives him some kind of karmic ties
to the history of the organization. That is the warm and fuzzy news. Now here is the reality; and as usual, reality bites!
The San Francisco roster is a mess; the team is in need of significant improvement at each and every portion of the offense and the defense and the
Dr. John York, who is fast becoming the Mike Brown of this decade, hired Nolan. Dr. York hired Nolan prior to the selection of the new GM for the
team, which means that Nolan will have to work closely with a "colleague to be named later".
Reports indicated that some of the interviews with coaching candidates lasted up to six hours. Say what? They had to take a two-hour break in the
middle there to watch a re-run of the World Series of Poker; what could they possibly talk about for 6 hours other than what a toxic waste dump of a
team was on the field last year.
After announcing his hiring, Dr. York then "initiated contact" with Nolan's agent meaning that all the details of Nolan's move to San Francisco had
been taken care of except for the "compensation package” and the "minor details".
In other NFL coaching news, the Arizona Cardinals - never a franchise burdened with the label, "competent" - hired Keith Rowan as their offensive
coordinator. He will be the fifth person in that job since the 2000 season. In the last five years, the Cardinals ranked 20th in scoring once; that
was the high water mark. In the other four of the last five years, they have ranked 26th, 29th (twice) and 32nd in scoring. Is it conceivable that the
problem there is not the coordinator but the players on the offensive unit?
The Green Bay Packers hired Ted Thompson to be their GM and took those duties away from Mike Sherman leaving Sherman to do the coaching. Thompson had
a prior stint in Green Bay during the days when Ron Wolf was the GM and then he left to go to Seattle with Mike Holmgren. It looks as if the tide is
going out on the idea of one person doing the coaching and GM duties in the NFL. As long as the two people in those jobs work together with more
harmony than acrimony, that is the way to go.
And out in Seattle, Mike Holmgren appears to be staying on but team president, Bob Whitsett, is leaving. Team Vice President, Mike Reinfeldt resigned
recently and he was the Seahawks "capologist". Reports are that Reinfeldt and Holmgren both had "issues" with Whitsett who had been an NBA executive
with the TrailBlazers and the Sonics. In the wake of Reinfeldt's resignation and Thompson's departure for Green Bay, there appears to have been a
power struggle within the Seahawks organization that owner Paul Allen has resolved by firing Whitsett. Reports say that all the folks who have left
the Seahawks organization resented Whitsett's lack of football knowledge and his "heavy-handed management style". Two observations here:
1. If this leaves Holmgren in charge of coaching, cap management and GM duties replacing all the folks who left plus the duties of team president,
this is a recipe for disaster.
2. How can someone who is an executive with the Portland TrailBlazers be "heavy-handed"? That team has been enabling anti-social behaviors for years.
The owner of the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL, Peter Karmanos, says that he is fearful that the NHL season will be lost and that no agreement can be
reached in time to salvage even the remnants of a season. Someone thought that tidbit was worthy of publication and dissemination even though that
conclusion was drawn by the man who actually thought that hockey would be a profitable enterprise in the middle of ACC basketball country.
Memo to Peter Karmanos:
The NHL is in "work stoppage mode" because the economics of the league are screwed up. Your franchise is one of the
poster-children for why the economics are screwed up. The real solution to the NHL's woes is to contract your team and about 15 others like it so that
hockey only exists in places where it is economically viable.
The US Olympic Committee has formed an ethics committee. Just take a minute here to allow the totality of that concept to wash over you. The thought
that anyone involved with the organization or the promotion of the Olympic Games anywhere in the world could possibly serve on a committee that would
pretend to be an ethical watchdog is stupefying. I would have guessed that PETA would sooner name the owner of an abattoir to its governing board
before any Olympic Committee pretended to be concerned with ethics.
But leave it to Scott Ostler to come up with the terse and essential core of this entire matter in this comment in the San Francisco Chronicle:
"The USOC creates an ethics committee. Wonder who you have to bribe to get onto that?"
Finally, a timely comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
"Many of us paused Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the great progress African-Americans have enjoyed in terms of racial equality,
while noting that much work still needs to be done if blacks are to overcome continuing hindrances such as prejudice, poverty and Randy Moss."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon