Often, we catch wind of a story, we decide it’s not all that interesting, the folks at the AP subsequently decide that it is, and we get 500-plus e-mails from well-intentioned readers who hope to alert us to the situation.
Sometimes, we still let it go. But since there’s a way we can make ourselves part of this specific story, we decided, “What the hell?”
Before September, I’d been appearing every Friday afternoon on 1010XL in Jacksonville with Mike Dempsey. (As long-time members of PFT Planet might remember, Len Pasquarelli of ESPN once refused to do a segment with Dempsey because Dempsey provides me with regular air time.) But then Dempsey told me in August that I’m getting bumped for some guy named David Garrard, who’ll have a one-hour Friday show during the season.
So my spot was moved to Wednesday, and I think I said something snippy like, “That’s fine, because one thing Garrard and I have in common is that by the end of the year neither of us will be the starting quarterback of the Jaguars.”
Anyway, the new development is that coach Jack Del Rio caught wind of the show — several weeks after it, you know, first aired — and Del Rio has told Garrard to turn in his headset.
Dempsey and I talked about it during my spot on Wednesday. It’s an incredibly short-sighted decision from Del Rio; at a time when the fan base is staying away from games in unprecedented numbers, anything that can be done to shore up the connection with those who remain (and those who might return) makes plenty of sense.
Though Del Rio claims that his primary objection comes from the fact that the show airs two days before a game, we think the truth is that Del Rio listened to the show once or twice and decided that Garrard wasn’t engaging in the patent-pending “talk while saying nothing” approach that many head coaches employ, and that Garrard might eventually be too candid about things going on within the building.
Garrard confirmed, via published reports, that Del Rio explanation that his concern arose from the timing. “He said, ‘As a father figure, I’m just trying to tell you this isn’t
good late in the week like this,’” Garrard said. “‘You can field
things early in the week and . . . rehash the past game. But late in
the week, you want to be studying your film, you want to be with your
family and you want to be off your feet, relaxing.’ I totally
understand where he’s coming from.”
In other words, “If I hope to have a chance at being the starting quarterback of the Jaguars at the end of the current season, I’d better just do what the man wants.”
Our guess is that Del Rio took this approach because he realizes that it’s now too late for 1010XL to rearrange its weekday schedule in the hopes of getting Garrard on the air on Monday or Tuesday. So by raising the issue several weeks into the season, Del Rio essentially slammed the door on Garrard’s extracurricular activity.
(By the way, is it a good thing to have the guy who left a tree trunk and a sharp axe in the locker room as a “father figure”?)
So we bid farewell to our former kinda-sorta colleague at 1010XL. And we actually prefer Wednesday afternoon. By 3:15 p.m. ET on Friday, I’m usually deep into my second 12-pack.