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Tennessee Titans: On Tommy Smith Not Being A Good CEO

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Is Tommy Smith a bad CEO?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Is this a bit of an overreaction?

There's a couple of talking points when it comes to Tommy Smith being the CEO of the Titans franchise that a good amount of fans are latching on to.

Let's define success.

There's a big difference between financial success and franchise success in the record books, and that's where I believe the crux of the arguments will lie.  In the current climate for the NFL, I would find it hard not to make money or increase the value of what you hold.  Putting a good product on the field is just a bonus, right?

Does it behoove the owners to win consistently and secure more and more future fans?  Absolutely.  Winning puts butts in seats and hats on heads.  You want little Timmy to be a Titans fan?  Well you better hurry up and get good because right now little Timmy is rooting for the Colt's because he has Andrew Luck on his fantasy team.*  Yes owners care about money first and foremost, but winning increases the bottom line.

Tommy Smith doesn't live in Nashville, or even Tennessee for that matter.

To which I say, neither did Bud Adams.  Not that that is really a good defense.  Would it be better if the owner of the team lived in town and better understood the nuances and culture of the city?  Sure.  The biggest thing I could see his helping would be game day experience, which Smith has vowed to make better for the fans.  For what it's worth, this experience has gone down hill drastically over the past few years (regardless of team play) and Smith is a lot more present in town than Bud ever was.

There's also something to be said for an absentee owner that let's smarter people do their jobs.  I don't want a Jerry Jones/Dan Snyder owner that meddles a bit too much.  Either way, I'm not sure how much his zip code matters.

It all starts at the top.  Titans need a "football mind" at the top.  Bring in Manning.**

Let's take Manning out of this for a second since that argument has a lot of irrational directions it can go in and is it's own topic.***  The idea that a football owner needs to have a football mind is a bit lost on me.  What about Robert Kraft?  The Rooneys? Or any other football team owner? Here's the list. Paul Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks in 1997 and they are about to try and repeat as Super Bowl champions.  Look at his bio.  Super nerd genius? Yes.  Football mind?  Nah.

The idea that you need to have an intimate knowledge of X's and O's to successfully (on and off the field) run an NFL franchise is bunk in my book.  If you're the CEO of something this massive, you hire the best and the brightest you can get to handle that stuff and so far I haven't seen anything that has shown Smith hasn't tried to do just that.


Before this abomination of a season, Webster was well regarded not just by fans but also in the league.  Ken Whisenhunt was the most sought after head coaching candidate out there, both by fans as well as pundits.****  Smith retained Webster and they landed Whisenhunt.  Then the season happened.

The blame for the downward spiral of game day experience/food/etc. may very well be placed at Smith's feet.  I'm good with that.  But a football mind wouldn't help these things either.  It's just poor management.

The Adams family may or may not sell the team in the near or distant future.  Personally, as long as the Titans stay in Nashville, I don't care.  The deck is stacked against the family if you look at the odds for generational businesses succeeding, so maybe it would be best for everyone to sell the team.  But overall I don't see the correlation between the emergence of Tommy Smith and the current state of the team.  If it continues down this path without serious correction, that view will surely change (and quickly).

* This is a true story of a friend of mine although names have been changed to protect the innocent.

**  I saw this one on Twitter a bit, but can't remember who.

***  I can't stand Peyton Manning.

**** We were all so wrong.  Except a guy named Pratt.