Determining Recent Flops with High-Profile Superstars and Coaches (By: @BWMahoney213)
“SHOW ME THE MONEY!” famous fictional sports agent Jerry Maguire once screamed to his wide receiver client Rod Tidwell. It was a landmark quote that has resonated with the sports industry in 2012.
A few teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Marlins, and Philadelphia Eagles are now under heavy disdain from their fans by possibly overhyping famed rosters for the sake of ticket sales, broadcasting, and of course, competition.
A monumental question that arises from these teams (for the least part) is—who is to blame: The players or the coaches? Could it be the fans?
The Lakers gambled for coveted center Dwight Howard back in August and added him to an “Expendables” like roster of future Hall of Famers: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace). As of November 16, 2012, they’re 3-5 and fired head coach Mike Brown. Brown can never eclipse legendary Phil Jackson for collected titles, but surely Mitch Kupchak’s loose trigger eliminated any signs of a squandered season. D’Antoni led Nash’s Phoenix Suns to an impressive 62-20 record back in the 2004-05 season, which bodes well for the starting Laker five to adapt to D’Anoni’s game-by-game rhythm.
Kupchak, like most pundits, are not naïve to the fact that although they’re 8 games in, their time together is fleeting. Bryant is a 16-year pro and 34-years-old. Nash is 38-years-old, but still performing. The Lakers are playing the new game of a strategic run for an NBA Championship by modeling other powerhouses like the Miami Heat (2012 Champions) and Boston Celtics (2008 Champions).
Athletes are now culturally iconic and symbolic to the pseudoscience of power and influence—from kids to burned-out adults. From the championship teams just described, it seems to be a fail-proof plan to win the offseason prizes in order to win the real prize.
Tell that story to the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Both are having horrendous Novembers (if you’re a fan of both then perhaps take a deep breath…) and now each day only pokes fun at their underachieving roles as contenders.
The Marlins cosmetically made the transition to underdog with a purpose to flavor-of-the-week material with a flashy retractable roof stadium fortress that would shield skeptical fans from frequent rainy games. The Marlins changed their location name, designed a new logo with colorful jerseys to sport gifted stars like SS Jose Reyes, 3B Hanley Ramirez, and SP Josh Johnson. They bulked their rotation behind Johnson with pitchers like Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle—both of whom were reliable aces for the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Fighting in the National League East of mild competitors like the New York Mets and Washington Nationals also seemed to give the Marlins life.
A last-place 69-93 record detonated this cast of superstars. The Marlins shipped Johnson, Reyes, and Buehrle (with a few others) to the Toronto Blue Jays for some prospects. Manager Ozzie Guillen got the axe in his only season in Miami. His salty and sweet influence could not rally any sort of run nor show any threat to other NL East foes. The honeymoon ended before it should have begun.
The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL misfired in 2011 with an unstable defensive unit (and a novice defensive coordinator), but essentially promised fans with sticking to 13-year head coach Andy Reid for an “all or nothing” season with solid defensive additions like DeMeco Ryans at linebacker along with gifted draft picks Fletcher Cox at defensive tackle and Mychal Kendricks at weakside linebacker.
Once again the star-studded talent cannot mesh with a seemingly competent coach in Reid. Fans are up in arms with Reid’s tenure every second he is still coach, and the media plucks away at all sources of Reid’s failures of game management and player-personnel overriding his statistical greatness.
The greatest teams of all time all impacted their league(s) with formidable athletes, but also effective coaches that tapped into the potential of every roster spot possible. Athletes dictate a coach’s reputation with the trickery devised or the adversity faced in all conditions. Athletes get the flak for not producing or for not making the tackle. Yet, coaches will have strings to the greatest players. Sometimes it won’t work. We’ve seen it before those put on the spot today. Mike Brown’s ‘Princeton offense’ did not win any of his three games this season.
Ozzie Guillen could not answer the emerging pitchers shutting down Miami bats—when it was either knuckleballer R.A. Dickey or the laser delivery Stephen Strasburg.
Andy Reid’s ultimate fate will be his stubborn inertia when the worst came his way. Reid will likely lose his job by season’s end and the Eagles will move on with someone fresh to the organization, just like Mike D’Antoni for the Lakers and Mike Redmond of the Marlins. By season’s end for any of the three, we’ll know if these coaches—like Jerry Maguire to Dorothy Boyd—can complete each other.