At first glance this seems harmless, but I’ve been reading some pretty mixed opinions about whether or not he should be involved. And to be honest, there are some folks out there who are super upset about it. The people who seem to agree with the decision are basically taking the “yeah, so what?” approach. However, people against it are attributing the decision to massive ineptitude and lack of control in the front office. Many are saying that Stafford has not earned the right to sit in on the meetings and that it’s a slippery slope to let him have that kind of power.
It’s not exactly unprecedented, despite what other writers from other sports opinion sites may have stated. The Chicago Bears‘ Jay Cutler was involved recently in their coaching hire. That being said, it doesn’t really matter what the precedent is for other teams or for the Lions. The precedent for the Lions for the past — and always — has been to fail.
So whether you call it “mixing it up” or not, having Stafford in the meetings is a “risk” the Lions should be willing to take. The “usual” formula just doesn’t work, and considering that Stafford is the franchise quarterback beyond a drastic overhaul that would take years to fulfill — years that Calvin Johnson just doesn’t have — he might as well be involved.
To me, that concept renders the “unprecedented” or “slippery slope” arguments irrelevant. The Lions have been on a slippery slope forever. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Constant undisciplined play? Never making the playoffs? A winless season? Been there, done that.
Also, if you’re worried about the rest of the team being upset because they’re getting treated as a less valuable player by not being included in the meetings, please stop worrying about that. A sports team, as it’s often said, is not a democracy. Players are not equal on a team. Hence their different salaries, different positions, different playing times, and yes, different involvement in franchise decisions.
In addition to that argument, there is really no comparison in other sports to how important a quarterback is to a football team. If there ever was an athletic position that should allow for more involvement in decision making it’s the quarterback for a professional football team.
Stafford does need to be fixed and he did seem reluctant to receive help from a “quarterback guru,” but maybe he just hasn’t had the right person convincing him. If a guy like the San Diego Chargers’ Ken Whisenhunt comes in and suggests expert help for Stafford, maybe he’ll eventually listen. Especially if he’s there in the meetings to hear all of his ideas for the future. It might even expedite the trust building process.
If the head coach is like the director of a movie and the quarterback is the star, you can bet that the star is involved in getting the director. The star might be upset with producers, maybe he even has issues with the script, but if the right director comes along then the star gets rejuvenated, works hard and executes the overall vision. Now, people are buzzing for Oscars.
That’s the job of a good director just as it’s the job of a good head coach. You take the talent you have and help them reach their full potential, and you work together to realize the overall objective of the art. Sometimes that means a clashing of theories, but as long as the end result is fruitful and trophies are kissed, then a true franchise you may have.