The Cowboys fire Phillips and other failures this past week.

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Wilson Football

It was a tough week for picking college games. I went 1-4 and now have a 23-14 record.

I did better on the pro game vs the point spread. I went 5-0 with Indy covering but losing. I now am 19-8 against the spread.

Cowgirl Owner Jerry Jones fired HC Phillips.

JJ finally had enough of the way the Girls were playing and fired the head cheerleader HC Wade Phillips. The 45-7 loss last week to the Packers on Sunday night football was the last straw. OC Garrett is now temporary HC. The team had quit on the coaching staff and that included the O under Garrett. The Girls will not be Boys again until JJ gives up meddling with the team and turns over the football operations to someone that knows what they are doing.

College Football:

#3 TCU 47 #5 Utah 7 – This was a landslide from the kickoff. As I predicted, Utah was badly over rated. TCU moved over Boise State in the latest BcS rankings to 3rd overall. If either Oregon or Auburn fall, TCU will be in the big game.

#10 LSU 24 #6 Alabama 21 – A 4th down trick play and the LSU D holding Bama RB Ingram to 97 yards was all it took to beat #6 at home. With 2 losses, Bama is out of the SEC Championship game and the national title hunt.

#7 Nebraska 31 Iowa State 30 – The three consecutive games against top 25 teams showed in the play of the Huskers. While they got lucky to get the win, they are still in the Big 12 Championship game picture. Iowa State is not a team any bowl opponent will look forward to finding on their schedule.

Texas A&M 33 #8 Oklahoma 19 – The first Oklahoma snap went out of the endzone for a safety. A&M scored a TD after the free kick and the game went down hill after that. Injuries have hurt this team but not enough to explain the problems they are having.

Texas Tech 24 #12 Missouri 17 – Missouri is in misery. The loss to Nebraska took the air out of this team. They started fast but when Tech got their O rolling, the Tigers could not respond. They are in free fall and could lose 1 or 2 more.

#16 Iowa 18 Indiana 13 – Iowa does not play well on the road. They were also recovering from physical games in the last few weeks. They had to come from behind to beat the Hoosiers, a team they should have beaten easily. They will have to play better to beat Ohio State in two weeks.


Browns 34 Patriots 14 – This might be a transformational win for the Browns. If not, the coaching staff can put their houses up for sale.

Jets 23 Lions 20 OT – The Lions are getting better. The Jets have to improve their O.

Bears 22 Bills 19 – This was the sinker of the week and neither may win another game all year.

Top 5

1. Ravens – The Ravens have the D and the O is developing nicely with the WR additions. If they can patch a D Backfield together, they will be in the Super Bowl.

2. Steelers – They handled a desperate Bagels team Monday night. They get #2 due to a couple of teams stumbling.

3. Jets – The Jets thought they had a couple of cupcakes in Detroit and Cleveland. Well, they were taken to overtime by the Lions and the Browns beat the Patriots soundly.

4. Giants – While the O is up and down, the D has really come on despite a number of injuries. This will be a tough out in the playoffs.

5. Falcons – The Falcons are perfect in the division and beat the Bucs.

Dropped out – Patriots – Even with the loss to the Browns the Pats are still just outside my top 5.

Bottom 5

28. Cards – This team is a shadow of they club in the previous couple of years on both sides of the ball.

29. Broncos – Any team that gives up 59 points to the Raiders deserves to be in the bottom 5.

30. Panthers – HC Fox really doesn’t have much talent to work with.

31. Bills – The combination of the AFC and bad drafting has pushed the Bills into the basement.

32. Cowboys – JJ didn’t expect this when he talked about the Super Bowl in Dallas. They have yet to win in the new stadium.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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  • Published: Dec 31st, 2008
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Before you fire your head coach…

Before you fire your head coach…

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Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at ...

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at the White House- Cropped from original image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Bill Smith

There are a lot more open coaching positions in the NFL than there are qualified candidates. On average, about 8 of the 32 coaches are fired every year. Last year only 6 got the ax so you can look for a few more before too long.

NFL stands for “Not For Long” as far as coaches and players are concerned. “Mangenious” last year turned into one of the dismissed coaches this year after the Jets jettisoned Eric Mangini and his staff. Team management totally ignored the fact that the problem this year was the QB Bret Favre and that was a move that Mangini did not support. He also did not support the release of QB Chad Pennington. Farve did not at all fit the Mangini system which was ball control/low turnovers. Pennington doesn’t have the arm to throw deep but that is not part of the Mangini offense. If management had done the right thing, it would have fired itself. Don’t hold your breath for that.

Management faces a huge problem when the expectations far exceed the results. Just before the fans form a mob and storm the castle with burning torches, the management decides to throw the head coach out the 8th story window. They do that in hopes that the act placates the mob below. But the mob will just move out of the way of the falling bodies and continue to charge. Usually however, the problem is not the coach but the lack of talent that management has collected. But you can’t fire a whole team—can you?

The question is do you take the hot coordinator flavor of the month and hope (and if you are the GM pray) he develops into a Bill Cowher or do you hire a formerly fired head coach and hope the second, third or in some cases sixth time is the charm that turns him into the next genius. Then there is the option of selecting the hot college head coach. Each of the approaches have worked great in some cases and failed miserably in others.

For those that take the coordinator of the month path. While former assistant coach hires John Harbaugh (Baltimore) and Mike Smith (Atlanta) might have worked out well, I remind you that Romeo Crennel was the hottest coordinator in the market just 4 years ago. That certainly worked out great for the Browns, didn’t it?

Retreads usually don’t work out either. Bill Belichick that learned by driving the Browns into the ground and then turned genius in New England. For every Bilichick there are dozens of second time around failures. Most coaches were fired for losing. Since the team that fires a coach is already good at that, why would they want to hire someone that lost someplace before?

Then there are the college coaches. Few college coaches bring the credentials that Butch Davis brought to Cleveland. As defensive coordinator in Dallas, he contributed to the championships won under head coach Jimmy Johnson. At Miami he turned around a program under NCAA sanction and laid the basis for a national championship under his successor Larry Coker. Even with all that, he failed miserably at Cleveland. It was so bad he quit with 5 games left in the 2004 season. College coach Bobby Petrino was hired by the Falcons and things went down hill so fast he didn’t last an entire season. He quit after 13 games.

So what is a beleaguered GM to do? There are a few—very few—coaches out there that left on their own. The name that everyone wants is Bill Cowher. But he isn’t excited about giving up a reportedly 2 million a year TV gig that takes less than 30 days of his time. The second most sought after guy is Mike Shanahan who was just fired from Denver. He was really good at coaching but picking players—not so much. Mike Holmgren agreed to retire after the 08 season but is having “Favre-like second thoughts.” Seattle has moved on so he is a good choice for someone. He also had the GM function there and may be looking more for a GM job, his weakness, rather than a coaching job, his strength. Mike, stick with what you do best!

Marty Schottenheimer is available after being drummed out of San Diego and he has won everywhere he has been. But with him there is that playoff game problem. He just can’t seem to win enough to get to the Super Bowl. Other retreads looking for a second or third chance include former Raven Brian Billick, and former 49er coach Mike Nolan. Former Rams head coach Mike Martz is available after being fired by SF from his offensive coordinator job. Anyone that hires him better be really deep at QB because his system tends to use them up like facial tissue. Reports about former Giant HC Jim Fassel indicate he is so desperate he would consider the Oakland job if it comes open.

There are several hot prospects from the coordinator group including Jet assistant head coach Bill Callahan, Brian Schottenheimer the Jet OC, New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and Cowboy offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (I thought he was the coach in waiting for the Cowboys).

Here is a hint for those owners that want a yes man as head coach. Call Jerry Jones. He will trade you Wade Phillips for a future draft choice and a player…. Well you had better talk to him.

That’s what I think. Tell us what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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