Billick takes issue with suggestion that he shouldn't work Falcons games

On Saturday, we posted an item pointing out that FOX assigns former Ravens coach Brian Billick to work games involving the Falcons, whose head coach is Billick’s brother-in-law.

We pointed out that the assignment created an awkward situation for Billick, Falcons coach Mike Smith, and the team facing the Falcons.  “Though we realize that there are only so many games to which Billick
can be assigned in a given week, we think he generally shouldn’t be
assigned to work Falcons games,” we wrote.  “It puts Billick and Smith in a delicate
situation (especially if the men get together for dinner), and it
surely makes the opposing coach for the upcoming game less inclined to
share any secrets with the husband of Smith’s wife’s sister.”

On Wednesday, Billick appeared as a guest on The Dan Patrick Show.  And Dan asked him about the issue.

Without specifically calling us out by name, Billick called the suggestion of a potential issue “the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.”  But then Billick offered up an observation that pretty much proved our point:  “I can understand a team might be uncomfortable.”

Indeed, that’s the point.  The Saints might have been uncomfortable with Mike Smith’s brother-in-law having access to practice and production meetings.  The week before that, the Cardinals might have been uncomfortable with it, too.

Given that Billick seems to realize the core concern — that the family relationship gives rise to the appearance of potential impropriety — his complaint regarding the fact that we raised the issue seem hollow and self-serving.

“You got nothing else to write about,” Billick said.  “I know someone blogged on it, whatever, don’t know football whether it’s stuffed or pumped, so let’s come up with some asinine, ‘Well, they’re brother-in-laws so I don’t know that he should be doing the game.'”

Coach, we realize you think that you can be trusted not to share the inside information you receive with your brother-in-law.  But you shouldn’t have to be trusted not to share it, and your brother-in-law shouldn’t have to be trusted not to ask for it.  The family relationship rises to a higher level than the various friendships and acquaintances that exist throughout the sport.  FOX should have realized this, and FOX should have made its assignments accordingly.

“I can understand a team might be uncomfortable.”  From FOX’s perspective, that’s all they need to hear to conclude that Billick shouldn’t be doing Falcons games.

44 responses to “Billick takes issue with suggestion that he shouldn't work Falcons games

  1. It’s not like he’s a referee. And it’s not like he leans towards the Falcons anyway.
    PFT is sort of boring now. Oh well.

  2. “Though we realize that there are only so many games to which Billick can be assigned in a given week, we think he generally shouldn’t be assigned to work Falcons games,” we wrote.
    “We” wrote? How many of you did it take to write that? Is this like those old Polak jokes? “How many Florios does it take to write a sentence?”

  3. I see your point but then what about guys like Phil Simms doing games that his buddy Bill Parcells coaches or a team he works for? You have to trust that he’s professional enough not to compromise the sport. Tony Dungy visited jet camp recently, who’s to say he doesn’t call Payton Manning and give some info?

  4. That’s closing in on FoxNews style editing there. He said “I can understand a team MIGHT be uncomfortable, but [potential conflicts happen all the time].” He preceded that comment with listing other relationships that would be more suspect than his relationship with Smith. I think there are much more suspect relationship issues when an analyst is doing a game where one of his former assistants is now the coach of one of the teams. That former coach has a vested interest in the success of that former assistant because it can reflect directly on his coaching. Coaches want to have one of those famous “coaching trees.”

  5. Are coaches really sharing inside information with the Media? Mike, aren’t you the one that said that coaches can never be trusted to speak the truth? Now all of a sudden they are not only speaking the truth, but giving inside information to the Media who are supposed to keep it to themselves and not share with the opposing coaches or their viewers, presumably. Now, please explain what value this inside information is to the Media if they don’t share it with their viewers?

  6. this whole line of thinking is a joke- there are so many analysts that have ties to former teams- that you could find this just about anywhere- to assume that Billick is more likely to share info with the guy b/c his former coach happened to marry Billick’s wife’s sister is just stupid-

  7. Easy solution. Any game in which he would be part of the “team in the booth” the Falcons go first in the production meetings as far as Billick goes.
    With as much cross pollination that is in the NFL via various coaching trees, front office personnel that have worked together. I would hope that there is some degree of professionalism on both sides. I know that is somewhat naive but it isn’t like Billick is sitting at every practice for the entire week then feeding what he knows to B-I-L Smith.

  8. He’s an announcer, it’s a game. It’s seems odd, that someone with a major in Paste and Cutology,and an minor in Twittering, is telling a rival network who to assign for it’s televised games. What used to be a fun site, has decreased into the abyss of corporate BS. Fact is, if they had been on another network, the one that televises sunday night games, none of this would have been mentioned, and it wouldn’t seem like the PFT ‘editors’ main goal is to act smarter than they really are.

  9. If Billick wanted to do anything to create some sort of unfair advantage, wouldn’t he be best served to share any gained info with assistants of any and all of the teams that he covers? That, in theory, would put him in good graces with said assistants who may consider following him when/if he were to get a gig next year with the (Cowboys, Giants, Vikings, Niners, Browns, Jags, Chargers, Raiders, or whichever team implodes). I’m sure he won’t be on the top of every team’s list, but I’m somebody would at least kick the tires on him. Of course, there would need to be football in 2011 in order for that to happen.

  10. does this mean Aikman should not do Cowboy games? If you want to get into it, you could probabaly question the loyalties of most game analysts since thay are all ex-coaches and ex-players. They all have their own personal league contacts, friends and enemies.
    I don’t see how Billick being his brother-in-law would make him any more prone to spying than any other analyst who has ties to one of the teams.

  11. As pointed out:
    Aikman on cowboy games
    Phil Simms has done his sons games, so has Bob Griese
    Lots of ex-players have interviewed previous teams they played for as well as the opposing team in preperation for shows.

  12. I’ve got to agree with Billick. Should we just assume that if Kurt Warner goes into a meeting against a team against a team playing the Cardinals that he’s going to keep his mouth shut because of Jesus or because he’s got enough integrity not to go to blab to Whisenhunt about the other team’s game plan?

  13. I think Billick is a good analyst, but I can see your point.
    On the other hand, I’d rather listen to Billick than idiot Jim Mora bloviating and attempting to be objective about the Falcons.
    Not that I blame him, he’s an idiot and he’s mad that he was fired by the Falcons for being an idiot. Stupid is as stupid does……
    Drop Billick because he might be biased for the his brother-in-law AND drop Mora because he IS biased against the Falcons (at least the ownership, probably not the players.)
    Yes, I’m a Falcons fan.
    YP2K, good point on Aikman, although I think he’s been pretty even-handed recently. (and I HATE the Cowgirls)

  14. what coach of any team is going to give any “secrets” to an network anayst?
    (“Oh yeah don’t tell anyone, but on third down, we’re going to…”)

  15. If I’m a Head coach playing the Falcons this year no way Billick gets anywhere near my team or facility.

  16. Um, Florio? Any ex-head coach trying to get back into coaching is a total kiss-a$$ in the booth.
    Have you heard a Jon Gruden-called game lately?
    “This guy here. This guy is a great football player. And why not? He’s got a great organization and management to play for.”

  17. Fear-based decisions that insult the integrity of the commentator also insult the intelligence of the viewers, sadly that’s business as usual for Rupert Murdoch.

  18. Doesn’t Dan Foutz do San Diego games? What is the issue here? Aikman in Dallas? I’m sure there are more. Non-issue.

  19. Any dumbass who give the commentators secrets to the game plans deserves to lose and should be out of the league anyway. And I guarantee you Smith doesn’t tell any of his secrets to Billick, just like none of the other coaches do, so this is a non-issue.

  20. I watched and listened to the game and while his comments had no bearing on the outcome of the game(Saints puke kicker handled that) he was obviously biased.

  21. Most of you guys/gals do not get the point. Billick has access to the opposing team’s facilities during the week prior to the game. What analyst are there to do is gain information which can be used during the play of the game. Suppose Billick sees that the opposing team keeps practicing a double flea-flicker and during the game that team actually runs the play. He will most likely comment about the formation and how that team has been practicing it all week long.
    Now, you have Billick having dinner and drinks with his brother-in-law whose lively hood depends on being successful at his job, a job which affords his wife (Billick’s sister) a very comfortable living. Can you be sure that such information will not be forwarded?
    Billick has a much stronger alliance to see his brother-in-law succeed then a Troy Aikman, Tony Dungy, or Kurt Warner. I would have the same problem if Phil Simms or Bob Griese had that access prior to doing their son’s games.
    This should be addressed and PFT has very valid arguments.

  22. I like how NFL network has “The Coach’s Show” with Billick and Mora. Guess they couldn’t find any that weren’t fired.

  23. If you wanted credibility, you should not have become a blogger. You’re opinionated and some people don’t like that. It’s probably something that Mrs Florio has pointed out before, right?

  24. I can’t believe that Florio and Billick could have anything other than a wonderful relationship. Those two arrogant, self important blowhards are made for each other.
    My God, Florio, what do you think goes on at these pre-production meetings? Do you think the coaches hand out copies of the game plan? Do you think coaches somehow don’t realize that game announcers are part of the media? And how forthcoming are coaches typically with the media?
    The coaching/announcing ranks are rife with people who some sort of ongoing relationship, be it a friendship, being former teamates, having been on the same coaching staff, etc. etc.
    I would be willing to bet that every ex-player or ex-coach lists at least one current coach as a very close friend. Who are you most likey to tell a secret to? Your best friend, or somehow who happened to marry your sister?
    This is such a stupid story that I actually feel embarrassed that I spent this much time responding to it.

  25. KWKen said:
    “What analyst are there to do is gain information which can be used during the play of the game. Suppose Billick sees that the opposing team keeps practicing a double flea-flicker and during the game that team actually runs the play. He will most likely comment about the formation and how that team has been practicing it all week long”
    Sorry KWKen, no coach is stupid enough to tip off anything truly strategic to anyone watching practice that isn’t part of their team, regardless of who they are. That’s why most practices are closed. Whatever part of practice these guys get to see won’t tip off game plan.
    It’s like those meaningless running to the locker room at half time interviews that those sideline reporters do with coaches. “Coach, what do you have to do to win this game in the second half?” Well Suzie, we need to get some stops on defense and score some touchdowns instead of kicking field goals. We need to run the ball a little better to do that effectively.” Thanks coach, great insight.

  26. Florio: You are 100% correct. If Atlanta wins a SB, Mike Smith gets more money and Billick’s family benefits. Despite being media, Billick is a coach and can tell something interesting being run by team X and relay such better than Ron Pitts or whoever.
    But here’s the deal: IT’S STILL A GAME!!! The NFL is not stupid and if they have a problem with it, they will fix it. You always see things as black and white and try to champion crap to give yourself unique talking points. You latch on way too strong to this petty stuff when there are many more fishy relationships…like Pioli/Parcells, etc. KC playing Jets/Pats/Bills anytime soon? I’m sure Parcells wouldn’t mind helping get an L in their column and helping Scott…
    But you know what…this story will somehow gain legs, and then it will provide Costas or whoever a softball to lob at you on TV, you will give your answer and look good, Peter King will say something and your popularity increases…you’re smart and playing the game well. I cannot think of anyone whose popularity (for good or bad) has risen as fast as yours. Site is still great but it’s true that it’s no longer the same.

  27. Let the man work. If he didn’t share information when he was a coach and his brother in law was an assistant coach then he isn’t going to share info now.

  28. There are conflicts that are unavoidable. Networks have their top announcers Aikman on Fox and Simms on CBS and they’re going to do the top games but, Billick isn’t in that class and there often isn’t much difference between #2, 3 and 4 games; so Fox should be be flexible about assigning their #2, 3 and 4 crews.
    If you believe that these guys aren’t at practice and in meeting, just listen to Simms sometimes. Every other comment starts out with “as we saw in practice (or heard in the meeting) ….”. I suspect the details of their access is in the TV contract. I’m sure the other NFC East teams, especially, have planted false bits of behind the scenes info with Aikman to see if the Cowboys seem to be acting on it.
    Finally, I never understood why people find these articles so boring and then feel the need to post a comment to that effect. (or that the writers grammar is imperfect) If the topic is boring don’t read it and certainly don’t add to their comment count! Get a life!

  29. I would be willing to bet that every ex-player or ex-coach lists at least one current coach as a very close friend. Who are you most likey to tell a secret to? Your best friend, or somehow who happened to marry your sister?
    I meant every ex-player or ex-coach who is now an announcer.
    And I meant “someone” who happened to marry your sister.

  30. I say maybe three words to my brother-in-law when I see him. What makes you think they have this great relationship Florio? Do a little research you loser. It amazes me that you still have a job. You should be working in a toll booth on the turnpike.

  31. of course he didnt mention you… why are you assuming he read the article? he is just responding to the question being posed…smh.
    yall are like girls… always think somethings about you. lmao

  32. Billick wrote a book a couple of years ago and in that book he specifically talked about this issue. He said Mike Smith wouldn’t give him anymore information in production meetings than he (Brian) would have given any other media nobody during the time that he was coaching.

  33. The first time in history a commentator might have some slight insignificant bias towards the Falcons and they want to raise a stink up. I’m sure Payton just gave up the whole gameplan and Billick psychically communicated it through ESP to his sister who immediately informed her husband Smitty. I bet it comes from outraged Ain’t fans that are angry because he didn’t refer to Brees as “his holy savior” and talked about football instead of bloviating on and on how a football team healed all of the wrongs of Hurricane Katrina.
    This is ridiculous.

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