The Tennessee Titans must be sold. That is clear now. The lies of the executives, the lack of a desire to build a winning program, and the meddling of clueless owners has doomed this team for long enough. Saturday's hiring of Mike Mularkey was the nail in the coffin. It represented far more than simply the hiring of a terrible HC. It revealed what is fundamentally broken with this team's top rungs; and how and why that ineptitude has permeated every level of this organization .
Integrity of ownership
The NFL is constantly talking to players and team staff about upholding "The Shield." It is the league's brand. While that moral ground has taken a hit over the last decade or so, the NFL is constantly trying to reinvent its image and hold itself to a higher standard. The actions of Amy Adams-Strunk and team president Steve Underwood fly in the face of that moral contract. Anyone who has been a fan of a struggling NFL team knows what it's like for their team to make a mistake. Mistakes happen, often innocently. Bad contracts get signed, poor staff choices are made. It happens ever year league wide. But boldface lies? Lies have no place in an NFL ownership box. To claim on one hand that you want to do what's best for the team and its fans, and on the other hand betray that trust and support by blatantly lying to them about their goals and intentions is an outstanding breach of the integrity we should expect of NFL owners. In the press conferences, the medium through which fans should expect explanations from the team, Strunk claimed that an exhaustive head coaching search would commence; searching for a winner was the number one priority. President Steve Underwood announced that he had relieved GM Ruston Webster of his duties due to the win loss records. "Win-loss records are important to me," was the paraphrased message. So what does the team do? They turn around less than a month later and hire Mike Mularkey, a man with arguably a worse record than any active NFL head coach. How will Mularkey bring change? He has already had more HC opportunities than most coaches could dream of, and failed spectacularly in those posts. He was hand picked by the guy the team just booted midseason. The team was in many ways actually worse when he was the interim coach. Anyone who watched the games late last year could see Titans players making business decisions on the field. They had quit on him, clear as day. Where is the logic in bringing him back?
In hiring Mularkey, the case was made that is was for continuity sake. Mariota shouldn't be subjected to a myriad of systems as the team's last signal callers were.
/But when we mean continuity, we only mean at the head coaching position./
Good one Steve and Amy. Well done. In doing so, you just changed things anyway, and in my humble opinion, doomed Mariota to yet another change when Mularkey is inevitably fired within two years. And another gem? The window of opportunity I discussed earlier in the year? The incredible opportunity to build a team around a very good QB on a cheap rookie contract? That window shut closed yesterday as well.
We have seen some of the worst management of a professional sports organization from this team over the last decade. But often times we as fans are willing to let things go, especially if the team wins some games. But it is the lack of self-awareness of these weaknesses that have proved this ownership incapable of growth. The last four head coaches were not even selected by the team's GM. Why even hire GMs if you know better? This lack of football decision making at the highest level reverberates throughout the entire organization. When I read that Adams-Strunk was searching for a GM who would acquiesce to her demands that Mularkey remain onboard, I refused to believe it. How could an executive at this level refute logic by circumventing the opinion of proven football decision-makers? It was insane. And then the announcement came, and it became clear that it was the truth all along. Jon Robinson looked promising as a GM less than a week before the truth came spilling out. He accepted the job not as a true team builder of this franchise, but as a puppet of the ownership. What we saw with Munchak and Whisenhunt has now repeated itself; the ownership thinks it knows better and has appointed the staff themselves. In the business world, this is the sort of activity is linked directly to corporate failure. Thankfully for the Adams family, they could technically run the team with empty stadiums every Sunday and still make a profit with NFL TV money...
As we saw with the previous owner-appointed head coaches, the GM is given a pass. "That wasn't MY GUY." That should be a mural in the St. Thomas Sports Park lobby. This team proved yesterday that they have never had an understanding of accountability. The team revolves around the search for the next scape goat. Unable to admit and learn from past mistakes has hamstrung this team and will continue to do so. This lack of accountability affects every level of the team, down to the players on the field. It is no mystery why so many players and staff members who seem to cling to this organization are never again seen once they are selected as the Titans "scapegoat of the season". The rest of the league can evaluate talent at a basic level. This organization cannot identify talent, not can it develop it, and this is true both on and off the field. If it seems as if the Titans are operating under a different set of rules and accepted practices than the rest of the league, that's because it is. There are few who can compare to the level of ineptitude that has been allowed to fester within the walls of STSP. Just as in the business world, this catches up with you. So has it with the Titans. Eventually those inherent failures show up on the field. And here we are.
So Amy, (or maybe I should be addressing the NFL because the Titans can't even seem to convince the rest of the league that they have legitimate owners), it is time to end the farce. The fans who have footed the bill for your stadium, suffered loyally through constant losing, watched as a parade of idiots took the helm of the team and left it worse off than when they arrived, these fans deserve better. It is time to bring this miserable comedy to an end. Sell the Tennessee Titans.
Signed, Jordan Churchill, and the legion of Titans faithful that feel the same.