An NFL coach must be many things. One of his duties is to be an excellent communicator.
Good communications skills require much more than knowing what to say. Folks also must know what not to say, and when to not say it.
For Vikings coach Brad Childress, his ego (or whatever it is that prompts him to try to show he’s smart or witty or both) often gets the better of him, and he says things he shouldn’t.
A couple of years ago, he called out Pats coach Bill Belichick for trying to persuade the Vikings not to make a waiver claim for a player whom the Patriots had planned to pass through waivers. Last year, Childress sniped at quarterback Jeff George with all the snarkiness of a blogger when George was merely asking for a tryout.
Now, Childress is crowing about the fact that the Vikings snatched receiver Percy Harvin one pick before the Pats could get him.
“New England was right in there,” Childress said, according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “They were right behind us. No, they didn’t think we’d take him [because of off-the-field] issues. Remember, they have our receivers coach there now. So they thought they could hold . . . and he’d come to them.
“They were down there [last week] working him out the day after I was there. And [Harvin] wasn’t supposed to tell anybody, and I was trying to pull that out of him, who that was. So, it was a little cat-and-mouse game that occurred.” (And, of course, Childress isn’t the slightest bit troubled about the fact that Harvin apparently couldn’t be counted on to keep his word to Belichick.)
Brad, before you wear a groove in your back (that’s our move, by the way), consider this (and we’re gonna wear a groove in our back for a moment): We were able to find out without the application of much elbow grease that the Jets at No. 17 and the Vikings at No. 22 were regarded as the teams most likely to take Harvin in round one. Our sources (who were right on the money, given that the Jets moved up to No. 5 to get Mark Sanchez and then reportedly tried to get the 21st pick in order to pluck Harvin) said not a single word about the Pats taking Harvin.
So maybe, just maybe, Belichick applied the same Vulcan mind trick on the Vikings and the Jets that Belichick played against the Jets last year, when New York took linebacker Vernon Gholston while perched at No. 6, one spot ahead of the Patriots. Belichick then traded down several spots and picked up linebacker Jerod Mayo, who far and away was the better player in 2008.
Think of it this way. Who’s in a better position to get to the truth about Harvin than Belichick, who counts among his close friends Florida coach Urban Meyer? The fact that Belichick didn’t leap frog the Vikings at No. 22 tells us all we need to know.
If our speculation in this regard is accurate, Belichick’s grift is complete, and perfect. The guy who’s crowing about snookering the other guy is actually the guy who got swindled.
Cue Marvin Hamlisch.