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St. Louis G.M. shell game could be coming

Jeff Fisher AP

Four years ago, the Dolphins were able to hire Jeff Ireland away from the Cowboys by giving Ireland final say over the roster and the draft.  No one believed that Ireland actually had that authority; it widely was suspected that former V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells ultimately called the shots, and that the team put in the contract whatever had to be put in the contract in order to bogart Ireland from the ‘Boys.

A year later, something similar occurred in Cleveland, where the team hired coach Eric Mangini and then brought George Kokinis from Baltimore, with Kokinis getting final say in writing but many believing that Mangini still had the power, as a practical matter.

The same dynamic could be coming in St. Louis.  On Saturday, Charley Casserly of CBS reported that the Rams have made no final decision on the exact authority that coach Jeff Fisher will have, but that it’s not an issue because Fisher will have major input regarding the selection of the next General Manager.

Wait, what?

Fisher, according to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports and Adam Schefter of ESPN, spurned the Dolphins because owner Stephen Ross refused to strip final say from Ireland, a man whom Schefter says Fisher would have been interested in hiring as the G.M. in St. Louis, if Ireland were available.  And now we’re to believe that Fisher instead chose a situation where he may not have final say over the guy who is hired to serve as General Manager, even if Fisher’s input on the hire ultimately is rejected by management?

In our view, it’s a shell game, aimed at allowing the Rams to import from another front office a guy who currently doesn’t possess final say.  Unless the Rams hire someone who currently isn’t employed, whose contract has expired, or whom his current team no longer wants, the Rams will have to give the next G.M. final say in order to hire him away from his current team, even if the next G.M. will essentially do with that final say whatever Fisher tells him to do.

Here’s hoping that the league office slams the door on this kind of sham.  But we won’t hold our breath.  Fisher spent the last year embedded in the league office, helping the Competition Committee and otherwise aiding the Commissioner.  If the league ever addresses this fairly significant loophole when it comes to front-office maneuverings, it won’t happen until after Fisher and the Rams slip through it.

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32 Responses to “St. Louis G.M. shell game could be coming”
  1. profootballwalk says: Jan 15, 2012 12:57 PM

    ‘Bogart’ does not mean take away from. Bogart means keep for yourself.

  2. touchdownroddywhite says: Jan 15, 2012 12:58 PM

    7-9 next year with no post season….

  3. 12thman88 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:00 PM

    so they’re being creative in trying to lure talent to their city that is seriously lacking in it? someone alert the commish!! things are getting out of hand

  4. jenniferxxx says: Jan 15, 2012 1:01 PM

    Fisher looks like the love child of Jack Nicholson and Nick Nolte.

  5. teal379 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:07 PM

    Given what Fisher has actually accomplished and looking at how this entire thing has gone down, I can’t help but think that this ENTIRE thing is going to end badly.

    I can’t imagine an outcome where the Rams become a dynasty with Fisher and the power games being played with his employment status.

  6. mikeeg says: Jan 15, 2012 1:13 PM

    Jeff Fishers career record is barely over .500.. i wish i could be that mediocre and get nearly 7 mil a year…

  7. starfan79 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:14 PM

    Need to dress up tht teams front office for a proper move to L.A

  8. stampnhawk says: Jan 15, 2012 1:21 PM

    Is this that much different that Pete Carroll and John Schnieder? You may be framing it ala Hue Jackson and some sham, but not that cut and dry. There is something to be said for being able to work with a GM.

    Schenider was hired a week or so after Carroll, but PC is Executive VP too, so technically should have say about who the GM should be given that role, but is also the coach “below” the GM.

    Now, Fisher may not have that title, but in Seattle, if Carroll as coach doesn’t like the job Schnieder is doing, he can fire him with PC wearing his VP cap. Similar dynamic here, where the GM has potentially less pull than the coach.

  9. rosloe62 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:23 PM

    Hey tdtoroddywhite,
    What’s wrong with 7-9 and no playoff appearance next year. All that means is they’ll be tied with the Falcons.

  10. borisbulldog says: Jan 15, 2012 1:26 PM

    “Bogart’ does not mean take away from. Bogart means keep for yourself”

    Leave it to a mary jane smoker to pipe up (pun intended)!

  11. backindasaddle says: Jan 15, 2012 1:34 PM

    Maybe it’s the rule itself that is the problem. Teams should be able to structure their management in whatever way they see fit and the league should stop mandating such rules. The “Rooney Rule” is another one that should go. It’s archaic, unnecessary and is a race-based policy. There should no place in this day and age for race-based policies. Get rid of it.

  12. titanstoronto says: Jan 15, 2012 1:35 PM

    Is Fish wearing a Lions shirt?

  13. coolhand5930 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:36 PM

    My lord, the horse is dead, quit beating it. I’m neither pro or anti Fisher.

    This isn’t Fisher looking for total control. It’s Fisher wanting to make sure he’s in sync with whoever they hire. If Fisher for example wants a ground and pound, defense first approach, and the GM does nothing but bring in speed guys, then the situation isn’t going to work.

    And to those who keep knocking Fisher’s career record and say he’s mediorce, look at his teams’ rosters over the years. How many time can you say “Man, the Titans were stacked”? Or, how many seasons did McNair make it through without missing games.

  14. grogansheroes says: Jan 15, 2012 1:36 PM

    Next up on CBS, CSI St Louis, starring Jeff Fischer.

  15. rosloe62 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:38 PM

    Fins fans keep ripping the Rams and Fisher, but what has Miami won lately? As long as Ross is owner, be prepared to always be the bridesmaid. At least the Rams are putting something in place that has potential!

  16. roamingabriel says: Jan 15, 2012 1:44 PM

    Rams are in the playoffs next year… ;^)

  17. sufferingbirdsfan says: Jan 15, 2012 1:46 PM

    The Rams owner does realize that this guy spent 17 years with the Titans and never got it done right? He should be glad to be working not acting like he’s Don Shula.

  18. mattyice2011 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:47 PM

    Don’t get why there’s such a fuss over the fisher hiring …. He’s a career .500 coach and will be fired in 3 years …. As soon as he left Tennessee they immediately became much more competitive and had their first winning season in 3 years

  19. roamingabriel says: Jan 15, 2012 2:06 PM

    grogansheroes says:
    Jan 15, 2012 1:36 PM
    Next up on CBS, CSI St Louis, starring Jeff Fischer.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    CBS is the worst…….

    But, the Rams play in the NFC, which is on Fox…

  20. whatevnfl says: Jan 15, 2012 2:13 PM

    Oh so this article is not naming Art Shell the St. Louis gm…..oops. Carry on.

  21. titanstoronto says: Jan 15, 2012 2:14 PM

    mattyice2011 says:
    Jan 15, 2012 1:47 PM
    Don’t get why there’s such a fuss over the fisher hiring …. He’s a career .500 coach and will be fired in 3 years …. As soon as he left Tennessee they immediately became much more competitive and had their first winning season in 3 years

    Hey Matty, you forget those 3 years were with Vince Young and Kerry Collins. Amazing he was able to win a game at all! What was Andy (QB Guru) Reid’s record with Young?

  22. buckybadger says: Jan 15, 2012 2:23 PM

    This is the problem when hiring coaches with big names. They tend to have big egos. You need a GM and Coach will do their own jobs and not interfere with each other. That is the best model to follow.

  23. calwilliams06 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:31 PM

    So, Fisher is now playing a “shell” game to follow on from his “leverage” game?

    3 division crowns in 17 years suggest he’s better suited to off-field games I suppose.

  24. jamesx27 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:33 PM

    Why is Jeff Fisher wearing a Lions shirt in the picture?…

  25. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Jan 15, 2012 2:35 PM

    Fisher must have final say on everything even the food court menus, especially with all those lombardis on his resume, oh wait…….

  26. Tom G says: Jan 15, 2012 2:50 PM

    ohh I thought they were going to name Art Shell as GM!Glad I read the article.

  27. xpensivewinos says: Jan 15, 2012 2:57 PM

    Seems like Fisher is making the same play that just got Hue Jackson fired :)

  28. oldcracker says: Jan 15, 2012 3:36 PM

    Where else could you hire your boss?

    I sign a contract with a large freight company. The freight broker or dispatcher tells me where to go, what my load is (and what it pays), and where to take it. My dispatcher hates me. He keeps me on the road for weeks at a time. The company puts money into my bank account. That is how it works.

    Besides, how did that Man-Kok arrangement work out in Cleveland?

  29. roamingabriel says: Jan 15, 2012 3:40 PM

    titanstoronto says:
    Jan 15, 2012 1:35 PM
    Is Fish wearing a Lions shirt?

    jamesx27 says:
    Jan 15, 2012 2:33 PM
    Why is Jeff Fisher wearing a Lions shirt in the picture?…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    His kid is on the Lions staff and the pic was taken at camp last year. Also, Schwartz was his DC with the Oilers…

  30. drewbo22 says: Jan 15, 2012 3:48 PM

    It will not matter as this dweeb of a head coach and whom ever is his hand picked gm will not win anything. Because he will get the wind knocked out of him at least twice a year by Jim Harbaugh with those after game back slaps.

  31. stl45fan says: Jan 15, 2012 4:05 PM

    Don’t hate the Rams, hate the GAME! They tried to play fair and look where that got them! 15 wins in 5 years.

  32. connman72 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:33 PM

    Completely agree with some of the other observations above. Fisher is a decent coach but not worth all of the fuss t his hire is receiving. Will be surprised if he is still their coach in 5 years… Or maybe even 3.

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