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SBD/December 31, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
The Eagles Monday officially fired coach Andy Reid after 14 years with the organization. Reid is the franchise's all-time winningest coach with 140 victories, but Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie in a statement said it was time for the team "to move in a new direction." He noted the team would begin its search for a new coach immediately (Eagles). In Philadelphia, Jeff McLane cites sources as saying that Reid was "informed on Friday that Monday would be his last day" with the team (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/31). ESPN's Chris Mortensen said, “Jeffrey Lurie pretty much sent this signal last January when the Eagles didn’t make the playoffs. He said, ‘This is not acceptable.’ Certainly, he reinforced that this summer that Andy Reid did not have a lifetime contract with the Eagles. And it’s time, I think. Maybe it was time for Andy to move on because 14 years is a long time” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/31). Reid following the team's 42-7 loss Sunday to the Giants said, “I’ve loved the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s all I have to say. And I’ve loved every minute that I’ve had the chance to coach them” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/31). Reid last week said that he “wanted to continue coaching.” In Philadelphia, Jeff McLane noted the Chargers and Cardinals “have been rumored as possible landing spots, but Reid could ultimately take a year off” (PHILLY.com, 12/30).
END OF AN ERA: In Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann writes Reid is the “best coach in the history of the franchise,” but he “did not connect on an emotional level with the fan base.” Reid “simply coached well enough and consistently enough to raise their expectations to a place where they had never been.” Still, Hofmann writes it "is time," and Reid “deserves to be fired” after 8-8 and 4-12 records in the last two seasons. But Reid's replacement “has to know that the job is harder than the one Andy Reid took over in 1999 because the expectations are so much greater" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/31). Hofmann in a separate piece wrote Reid “will be remembered for being the best coach the Eagles ever had at the same time he is remembered for failing to win the Super Bowl” (PHILLY.com, 12/30).
The Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert Monday "following the completion of a 5-11 season," according to Jay Glazer of FOXSPORTS.com. The future of Shurmur and Heckert "came into question as soon as Jimmy Haslam purchased the Browns from Randy Lerner during the preseason." While Browns CEO Joe Banner worked with Shurmur and Heckert while with the Eagles, those ties "didn't help Shurmur or Heckert keep their jobs as Banner seeks to place his own fingerprints on the Browns." NFL Network's Mike Lombardi, who worked with the Browns from '87-95, "will likely draw strong consideration" for the GM position (FOXSPORTS.com, 12/31). In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot reports following yesterday’s loss to the Steelers, Shurmur “stepped up to the podium and admitted he's gotten the silent treatment” from Haslam and Banner for the past few weeks, which “should've told him all he needed to know” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/31). Also in Cleveland, Terry Pluto noted the move marks the “sixth regime change” since the Browns returned to Cleveland in ’99. While there was “little fan support for keeping Shurmur, Heckert’s drafts have brought a sense of hope to at least some customers” (CLEVELAND.com, 12/30).
FRONT OFFICE MAKEOVER: In Akron, Ridenour & Ulrich report the Browns hired Padres Senior VP/Business Operations Brent Stehlik as Exec VP & Chief Revenue Officer. Stehlik, a Cleveland native, "oversaw all aspects of revenue generation and marketing" for the Padres. He and new Browns President Alec Scheiner worked together with the Cowboys -- Stehlik was Dir of Business Development before joining the Padres in '10, while Scheiner was Senior VP & General Counsel before joining the Browns earlier this month (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 12/31).
The Jaguars as expected fired GM Gene Smith Monday morning, though the “status of coach Mike Mularkey, his staff and the personnel department headed by Smith remains in doubt,” according to Ryan O’Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Smith had “two years remaining on his contract and was one of 10 original Jaguars employees.” However, the team “never qualified for the playoffs in Smith’s four years in charge of the front office.” The move is the “first major firing” for Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan (JACKSONVILLE.com, 12/31). Former Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver "convinced Khan to keep Smith last year" after Khan bought the team. Smith was allowed to "lead the search for a new coaching staff" (ESPN.com, 12/31). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette writes Smith needed to "be a goner because his fingerprints are on this team more than anyone.” Smith brought in “almost every player on this talent-challenged roster.” He “selected head coach Mike Mularkey, with Khan's approval, and convinced the sideline boss to retain several assistants from the Jack Del Rio regime.” Frenette: “Every major Smith move made has yielded little in return. Too often, it's been a disaster” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/31).
TANNENBAUM OUT IN N.Y.: Jets Owner Woody Johnson Monday said GM Mike Tannenbaum will not return to the team after 15 years with the franchise. The team will conduct a search for a new GM with the services of Korn/Ferry Int’l. Jed Hughes will lead the search. Coach Rex Ryan will return for the ’13 season (Jets). In N.Y., Mark Hale reports there had been "speculation Tannenbaum ... would be asked to stay in the organization in another capacity," but Johnson "instead chose to make a clean break" (NYPOST.com, 12/31). Also, in N.Y., Ben Shpigel notes Tannenbaum's tenure "will be remembered for drafting cornerstones like Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold and his aggressive moves in free agency and the trade market that repositioned the Jets as contenders." However, he also failed to "stock the team with adequate depth and, particularly in the past few years, a meager draft haul" (NYTIMES.com, 12/31). CBSSPORTS.com’s Mike Freeman cited sources as saying that Johnson “isn't just unhappy with the Jets' dismal season.” Johnson is “unhappy with what he views as a franchise that can't keep its business behind closed doors.” League officials “are wondering is if Johnson's unhappiness with how the team is run will stop” with Tannenbaum’s firing (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/29).
START OF A TREND: ESPN's Adam Schefter said this is "going to be the first offseason, or postseason, where there is going to be a ton of general managers who are let go." Schefter: "We are going to see five, six, seven general managers who are sent packing. We never see that. We expect head coaches to be let go at this time of year. But general managers, for the first time, are drawing as much scrutiny and criticism and interest as ever before” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/31).
In addition to the Eagles and Browns, there are several other NFL teams making coaching changes following the conclusion of the '12 regular season. THE DAILY provides a roundup of the possible movement.
ALL OUT OF LOVIE: In Chicago, Dan Pompei reports the Bears fired coach Lovie Smith despite the team finishing with a 10-6 record. The Bears began the season 7-1, but finished the year with a 3-5 mark (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 12/31). ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the team has "sent out consent forms requesting permission to interview head-coaching candidates" (TWITTER.com, 12/31). In Chicago, David Haugh writes teams “typically don't fire coaches after 10-6 seasons,” but this is “no typical season.” Haugh: “At some point, Bears management must hold Smith accountable for years of consistently failing to field a legitimate playoff offense. Clearly this wasn't one despite talent at the skill positions” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/31).
ROMEO IS BLEEDING: ESPN.com's Schefter reports Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel was fired Monday, but not GM Scott Pioli, "at least not now." The Chiefs finished the season 2-14 and secured the No. 1 pick in the '13 NFL Draft after being "predicted to finish near the top of the AFC West." The Chiefs have not won a postseason game since '93 (ESPN.com, 12/31). In K.C., Sam Mellinger reports the Chiefs “completed the least competitive season in their franchise’s proud history” Sunday with a loss to the Broncos, and the team’s situation is “an indefensible mess.” Crennel is “the coach of a team with five Pro Bowlers and two wins,” and Pioli is the GM “who brought in just one of those Pro Bowlers” (K.C. STAR, 12/31). NFL Network's Albert Breer said, “The fan backlash if they were to keep any element of the current football operations would be pretty severe." The Hunt family history "is to be patient with people." Breer: "That would lead you to believe that they might give Pioli another shot.” However, Pioli is "going to have to present a plan to Clark Hunt that makes sense, and Clark Hunt is going to have to give Scott Pioli one more chance at getting the head coach and quarterback position correct”("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).
CHARGERS TO FIRE TURNER, SMITH: In S.F., Vic Tafur reported Chargers coach Norv Turner “expects to be fired” Monday, as the team will miss the playoffs for the third straight season. Turner after Sunday's game against the Raiders, "We're going to meet with the team and I'm sure they'll start looking for a new coach” (SFGATE.com, 12/30). In San Diego, Nick Canepa reports Chargers President & Chair Dean Spanos Monday also will fire GM A.J. Smith after 10 seasons with the franchise. Spanos “had to make a business decision.” Canepa: “There have been TV blackouts. Apathy and anger has been growing in his fan base. There is a chance of losing this town as he attempts to get a new stadium built. In the past, Spanos hasn’t always heeded the fans’ wishes, but this time he had no choice.” It is expected that Dir of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye “will take over” as GM (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/31).
GAILEY OUT IN BUFFALO: In Buffalo, Mark Gaughan reports the Bills fired coach Chan Gailey "after three unsuccessful seasons." Gailey's firing means the Bills "will have their sixth head coach in a 14-year period in the 2013 season." Bills GM Buddy Nix "may well be ... next to go," but he was "uncertain of his status as of Sunday's season-ending game" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 12/31). NFL Network's Charley Casserly disagreed with the decision to fire Gailey saying, "They have to stick to a program and see it through. It’s three years, get sick and tired of somebody, let’s get them out of here. You have to ignore the fan base, the pundits, everybody up there” ("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).
SIT AND TALK THINGS OVER: Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he will sit down with team Owner Jerry Richardson "in a few days to evaluate the season.” The club went 7-9 this year, ending the season winning six of its last nine games. Rivera said, "The process is going to begin when we get back to Charlotte. Mr. Richardson has been fair and I appreciate the opportunity that he's given me and we'll see how things unfold" (NOLA.com, 12/30). The AP's Steve Reed reported on his Twitter account, "I'd highly doubt if we'll hear anything on Ron Rivera's future today, if even this week. I'm told Jerry Richardson is not around today" (TWITTER.com, 12/31). NFL Network's Michael Lombardi said, "I think that decision is going to wait until they decide on where the new general manager comes from, whether they stay in house or bring someone in” ("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).
GRANTED A REPRIEVE: In S.F., Al Saracevic writes the "ax is unlikely to fall” on Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen after one season. The odds are that Raiders Owner Mark Davis "will retain his top two hires, but the assistant coaches and the roster will undergo major overhauls.” McKenzie and Allen have “failed to emerge this season as convincing leaders, and communication has played a role." They both have the "brains and the background to succeed at this level, but neither inspires great confidence on a personal level” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/31). In Nashville, David Climer wrote signs "point to Mike Munchak’s return as head coach in 2013” for the Titans. Team Owner Bud Adams turns 90 this week, and there is “little reason to suspect he has the stomach for a second coaching change in two years.” Climer: “At his age, I can’t see Bud starting from scratch” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/30). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes Monday “might not bring change or clarity” for the Cardinals, as that “might take a while.” While Steve Keim is “expected to take over as general manager, the future of Ken Whisenhunt could be more of a negotiation than a termination” as coach (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/31).
Nearly 400 students, parents and faculty members from Sandy Hook Elementary School were “the centerpiece of a powerful pre-game ceremony” before Sunday's Eagles-Giants at MetLife Stadium, according to Pat Leonard of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The honorary guests “formed two lines to welcome Big Blue and visiting Philadelphia Eagles players, then joined hands and lined the perimeter of the field in a moment of silence to honor the 26 victims of the Newtown, Conn. school massacre” (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 12/30). In Hartford, Mike Anthony notes Sandy Hook students, parents and faculty “boarded buses, chartered by the Giants, about 8 a.m. at Newtown High School, then made the 85-mile journey.” It was a “moving pregame ceremony, the crowd cheering the announcement of the Newtown contingent and then observing a moment of silence” (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/31). In New Jersey, Andrew Gross notes a “convoy of nine buses brought the families to the media entrance and they were greeted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the bowels of the stadium” (Bergen RECORD, 12/31). Giants coach Tom Coughlin said, "We certainly wanted to honor and respect them. We wanted to try to do our part to help them in the healing process. I hope they left with some inspiration today" (AP, 12/30). Giants S Antrel Rolle: “Just seeing those kids puts things in perspective. Life is extremely short and you have to live it to the fullest and unfortunately a lot of those kids weren’t able to even enjoy their Christmas for this year” (N.Y. POST, 12/31). Meanwhile, the Bills “affixed a ‘WWFD’ decal on the back of their helmets for Sunday's game against the New York Jets to honor two fallen West Webster volunteer firefighters” (AP, 12/30).
The Padres have "launched a new 'membership' rewards program" that team President & CEO Tom Garfinkel "believes could become a model for other professional sports teams," according to Bill Center of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Garfinkel said, "We’re very excited about the membership program. The fans are excited." The Padres' new membership program is "open right now to purchasers of season tickets," and it will expand to "anyone who buys a ticket (through the club) as soon as single-game sales begin around FanFest." Garfinkel said that the goal of the new program is "to build a stronger connection between the Padres and their fans." Center noted "subscribers to the new program are identified as 'Members of the San Diego Padres Baseball Club.'” The rewards will "expand beyond tickets and souvenirs to include year-round events -- some including Padres players and staff members -- and discounts at participating partners." The new membership program will "have three levels (blue, gold and platinum) and four divisions (fanatic, social, business and family)." Full season-ticket purchasers "become platinum members," while half-season ticket holders "immediately qualify at the gold level with holders of a 21-game plan entering on the blue level." Benefits "increase with status." The Padres have "already held five events since the end of the 2012 season for the 'members,' including the Dec. 8 holiday party on the field (open to all members) and a tailgate party before a San Diego State football game (open to social members)." Garfinkel said one goal of the new program is to make the rewards "more attainable and meaningful.” He believes that the new membership program has "helped spur an increase in season ticket sales." The Padres said that season-ticket sales are running 25% "ahead of the same time last season" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/30).
TWEET RAVINE: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck reported the Dodgers are "currently considering a 'Social Media Loyalty' program that 'would give fans points for retweeting, replying, and helping the Dodgers gain followers.'" The plan would be to "have points redeemed for special offers, including tickets and merchandise." The Dodgers "broached this possibility in a survey they sent out to their Twitter followers last week that included all kinds of social media-type questions." The goal is to "increase their action on Twitter and boost their numbers of followers." The Dodgers "already have" more than 217,000 Twitter followers (LATIMES.com, 12/28).