With plenty of football developments from Sunday to be updated and summarized and dissected, there’s a news item from Sunday morning that merits a brief mention, and a slightly less brief comment.
Dan Pompei suggests that, in the coming wave of NFL head-coaching vacancies, former Vikings coach Brad Childress could get a second chance. “It will be an upset if Childress isn’t a candidate for a head coaching job or two in the offseason,” Pompei writes, explaining that front offices are taking a “harder look” at Childress’ efforts given the Vikings’ performances following his departure.
Front offices should look a lot harder.
The Vikings are struggling now in large part because of Childress. His inability to develop Tarvaris Jackson (or, alternatively, the failed decision to trade up in round two to draft Jackson in 2006) eventually forced the Vikings to bend a knee twice for Brett Favre. Without Favre, Childress was a .500 coach who couldn’t win a playoff game. With Favre, Childress was just good enough to send 12 men onto the field after a time out to blow a golden opportunity to steal a Super Bowl berth from the Saints.
Though this isn’t intended to be an exhaustive and comprehensive list of Chilly’s failures, he simply doesn’t have the total skill set or temperament to be an effective NFL head coach. He’s too thin-skinned, as demonstrated by a pissy email I received earlier this year after mentioning that Percy Harvin’s migraines cleared up completely after Childress left town. Indeed, his people skills leave much to be desired. At press conferences, he comes off at times as mean-spirited (like when he suggested that Jeff George should go to a fantasy camp if he wants to play quarterback) and out of touch (like when Childress used the laughably goofy phrase “programmatic non-fit” to explain the decision to fire Randy Moss).
Regarding Moss, Childress committed the cardinal coaching sin by using his final authority over the roster without giving the guy who signs the checks the courtesy of a head’s up and/or a chance to try to talk Childress out of it. He sparred verbally, and unnecessarily, with guys like Daunte Culpepper over his rehab and Troy Williamson over time off for his grandmother’s death.
Childress proved the Peter Principle at the NFL level, rising through the ranks to a level that ultimately was above his head. Childress is less deserving of another shot than Super Bowl-winner Brian Billick, two-time NFC finalist Dennis Green, or even NFC champion Jim Fassel. At most, Childress should get another opportunity to be an offensive coordinator, and if he does well then maybe he should be considered eventually for a head-coaching job. But to suggest that the Vikings’ current predicament should make Childress look good by comparison is to ignore Chilly’s role in running the ship aground.
That said, plenty of Vikings fans would support his candidacy for another job. Especially if the Bears fire Lovie Smith.