Everyone has a different threshold for pain as well as a different level of patience. Some get irritated if there's a car in front of them in the drive-thru and they ask for ketchup. Some actually wait on the little coach at the front of a restaurant for an hour to eat.
NFL teams are fighting to keep fans on the seats, even when the team is winning. Almost nobody goes when they are losing. The in home experience continues to get better and better, doubled down on by the continued increase in ticket prices.
Are team owners and NFL front offices beginning to listen to the fans too much?
Today is black Monday, and a number of head coaches will get their pink slip for not winning enough. The Cleveland Browns let coach Rob Chudzinski go on Sunday night after just one year at the helm. Not only was Chudzinski handed a mess of a team, but he also went through three quarterbacks throughout the season.
Here's part of the quote from the team:
"Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and there's an urgency for success."
The question is if you can you really tell how a head coach is going to be after one year?
This may or may not be the right move. If you know you've made a mistake then I applaud you from moving on and correcting it as quickly as possible. The question is how do you know if you've made a mistake or not.
Fans are what they are. Fanatical. They are full of knee jerk reactions from week to week if not play to play. They will boo or cheer the same player within minutes and are passionate about their feelings. If the front office starts listening to them too much, I fear for the league and the increasing "urgency" the Brown's speak of.
The Titans organization has been visible and vocal since Tommy Smith has taken over for the late K.S. Bud Adams Jr.. He has spoken with the media on a number of occasions and placed 16 year Executive Vice President Don MacLachlan on the local radio for fans to vent to. His message has been that they hear the fans and understand their disgruntlement. They've held focus groups and Don has said he regularly listens to the local talk radio shows in order to try and keep a finger on the pulse of the fans sentiment. They hear the fans and want to do whatever it takes to make them happy. They may even be reading this blog right now.
Do you know who calls in to local sports shows? Angry guy. Bent guy. Played-in-high-school-season-ticket-holder-watching-football-for-51-years guy.
The quick hook is getting quicker when fans see first year head coaches make the playoffs and instantly turn around bad teams. Chip Kelly with the Eagles, Andy Reid with the Chiefs, and Mike McCoy with the Chargers, all made the playoffs in their first year with their current team. Two of those teams also had a change at quarterback as do most turnaround stories.
The long term success of the quick turnaround team is a bit of a myth however. I wrote about that more in detail earlier this season.
As far as the Titans are concerned with Mike Munchack, you can argue he's had his chance. It's not a cut and dry situation, but three years has become the measuring stick to see if a coach is really building something or not. So far today Jim Schwartz was fired after 5 years, Schiano was only given 2, Shanahan was let go after 4, Leslie Frazier made it a little over 3, while Kubiak of the Texans as let go during his 8th season.
I don't think all is lost if Munchak is retained. I won't be saddened if he is fired either. I can easily see the justification both ways. As for the bigger picture, Tommy Smith and company need to do whatever they think will build a long term successful team. Not worry about fans threatening to not renew their season tickets. If you win, even with coaches and players they didn't want, they will come.
As someone else once said "I hope Tommy Smith is reading this".