Too Many NFL Teams Are Hiring Coaches Before General Managers

By Ben Grimaldi
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Last week in the NFL, there were seven coaches out of a job in what has been termed ‘Black Monday’ in the league. Perhaps more significantly, there were six general managers fired as well. Surprisingly to me, a number of those head coaches have been interviewing for new coaching positions, yet very few of the GM’s have been doing the same.

Am I the only one who has found this trend to be a little backwards? The way it usually works is the owner and general manager hire the coach, not the other way around. I can’t think of many successful situations where the team had its coach choose the general manager? Yet here is Andy Reid, hired as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach yet, they don’t have a general manager.

The Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns are interviewing head coaching candidates without having a GM in place as well. I don’t know what to make of this situation but it doesn’t seem to make any sense. The best I can describe is this way; you just got out of college and you accepted an entry level job. Then, a few weeks later, the company wants you to hire your boss. How can that situation possibly work?

By hiring the coach first, you are saying he is more important than the general manager, who is supposed to be the person running the team.   Think about this, what happens if there’s a problem with a player on the team; who does he turn to, the coach or the general manager? One guy affects your playing time, the other one your salary, so who do look to for help? If you’re the coach who was hired ahead of the general manager, wouldn’t you be upset if a player went over you head and brought it up to the GM? There is a chain of command in the NFL and these teams are bypassing the hierarchy.

Anyone will tell you communication is one of the keys to running a successful franchise and I find it very difficult to believe that can happen when you hire a head coach before the general manager. What happens if they don’t agree on which direction to take the organization or if their philosophies don’t mesh well? Heck, what if they don’t agree on anything, then who does the owner blame?

It’s a slippery slope these teams are entering into and we’ll wait and see how it all turns out but the process appears to be backwards. Teams should be hiring general managers first and coaches second. If this trend continues, I expect to see more coaching changes in the future, especially since the general managers didn’t hire the coaches in the first place.

you can contact or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi



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