Zimmer explains decisions to block Stefanski promotion

AP

When the Vikings chose to exercise their prerogative to keep quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski from leaving to become the Giants’ offensive coordinator, some in the media huffed and puffed about Zimmer’s failure to promote upward mobility in the coaching ranks. On Thursday at the Scouting Combine, Zimmer explained his reasoning for keeping Stefanksi in place.

Loyalty to me is a big thing,” Zimmer said, via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “So I come in here four years ago and the offense is 29, 27th, 26th. But I keep them. So the first time our offense is pretty good, then I’m supposed to let all my coaches leave? . . . I don’t think that’s right. If I’m going to be loyal to them and not fire them after they don’t have good years, then I don’t think they should not be loyal to me.”

It makes sense, and it underscores the reality that a contract is a two-way street. The employee who signs a multi-year contract enjoys financial security in the event poor performance results in termination. If an employee prefers flexibility, he should insist on one-year contracts, which would allow him to exit whenever he chooses. Or he should ask for a clause that allows him to leave whenever a potential promotion arises.

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing to let a guy leave with years left on his contract, there’s also nothing wrong with not letting him leave, either.

38 responses to “Zimmer explains decisions to block Stefanski promotion

  1. there’s also nothing wrong with not letting him leave, either.
    ——
    Not in principle but who wants to keep someone on staff that doesn’t really want to be there?

  2. It’s nice when you have to worry about losing your coaches because other teams want them. I know of another franchise in the NFC North that fired most of their coaches because of ineptitude, and their fans still don’t think that was enough.

  3. pkrlvr says:
    March 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    there’s also nothing wrong with not letting him leave, either.
    ——
    Not in principle but who wants to keep someone on staff that doesn’t really want to be there?
    ___________

    He’s been here 12 years, he’s getting a raise, he’s the OC in waiting, and it’s a great team. Why wouldn’t he want to be here? This is Minnesota, not Green Bay.

  4. pkrlvr says:
    March 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm
    there’s also nothing wrong with not letting him leave, either.
    ——
    Not in principle but who wants to keep someone on staff that doesn’t really want to be there?
    —————-
    Have you heard anything from Stefanski indicating he doesn’t want to be there? Shurmur is going to call the plays in NY and if DeFilippo is as successful as many think he will be, there might be an opportunity to be the OC in Minnesota after next season…where he will already be established and be able to call plays. I’m sure Stefanski wants to work his way up to bigger and better things, so I wouldn’t worry about his effort, nobody is going to give him a better job if he isn’t doing well at his current job….All speculation on my part…but it makes sense to me…

  5. I like how you defend anything the Vikings do… this is a petty move by a very petty coach

  6. This is Minnesota, not Green Bay.
    ——
    Yes, because no one in the NFL really wants to play/work for a contender. That’s just something people say.

  7. This is a load a crap. Obviously Stefanski wasn’t kept around because Zimmer was being “loyal” to him, but rather because he is a good coach who will contribute to the team’s (and HC’s) success. He would of been better off just saying Stefanski is too valuable as QB Coach for us and we want you here as part of the Vikings next year. It probably wouldn’t hurt if they gave him a slight raise too. That’s loyalty.

  8. So he not only prevented him from getting a new job, he passed him over for a promotion for an outsider?

    That’s some awesome loyalty right there.

  9. Agree with the contractual obligation analysis; however, it seems to me that the term loyalty is improperly used. You cannot force loyalty by disallowing upward mobility. That is better described as self-interest bordering on selfishness……but completely understandable in the context of a contract.

    I would very interested to see an analysis of Zimmer’s coaching stops and whether he was ever similarly denied upward mobility. If he was allowed the promotion does that not make him selfish and a tad hypocritical?

    Based on his answer and his parsing of this situation I am guessing he was offered a promotion and allowed to take it.

  10. Now I understand why the Vikings defense stopped running the plays sent in. Zimmer is a tool.

  11. richabbs says:
    March 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    This is a load a crap. Obviously Stefanski wasn’t kept around because Zimmer was being “loyal” to him, but rather because he is a good coach who will contribute to the team’s (and HC’s) success. He would of been better off just saying Stefanski is too valuable as QB Coach for us and we want you here as part of the Vikings next year. It probably wouldn’t hurt if they gave him a slight raise too. That’s loyalty.
    ___________

    You have it backwards. Zimmer showed loyalty to Stefanski by keeping him around for three years while the offense wasn’t doing well. Now it’s Stefanski’s turn to show loyalty to Zimmer by sticking around when he has another opportunity. It’s obvious they think he’s valuable because they kept him and there’s no doubt they gave him a lot more than a slight raise.

  12. I was one of those people who thought that wasn’t fair to block the promotion, but having heard zimmer’s expanstion. I have to say that I totally agree with his mentality. Thank you sir for setting me straight!

  13. Interesting – keep the QB coach in his place because they kept him when the offense wasn’t doing well (never mind the QB coach is NOT the OC and the OC being the reason why an offense would do well) but as soon as Bridgewater isn’t the QB he’s saddled with – play improves.

    Was it the coach or the players he had to coach?

  14. irishgary says:
    March 1, 2018 at 6:05 pm
    Now I understand why the Vikings defense stopped running the plays sent in. Zimmer is a tool.

    ////////////////////////

    You can just feel the jealousy pack fan has with the Vikings. One day you will,get rid of McCarthy, but it will be to late.

  15. Ridiculous. Can you imagine if every franchise in the league had this philosophy? There would never be any HC or coordinator candidates. Way to keep a good man done.

  16. So not only did this “loyalty” result in Stefanski getting passed over for a promotion in favor of someone from another team, but *the person hired over him is doing the exact thing that Zimmer is saying he doesn’t like*.

    In other words, Zimmer is effectively saying, “I will reward disloyalty from outside our team, and punish it on our own team”.

    Now add that Zimmer has jumped ship many times in his own career, and has never been prevented from doing so, and you end up with a clear hypocrite.

    Just lost my respect for the guy.

  17. Remember all those folks who were saying “Stefanski probably asked the Vikings to decline on his behalf”? Because Stefanski had no interest, they said.

    Wrong, as usual.

  18. I get what he’s trying to say, but this is the wrong way to go about it. Blocking him from interviewing is just a jerk move.

    He should have been an adult, talked to Stefanski, explained his position, and asked him to stick around.

    I just don’t like the idea that a guy is the “coach in waiting” when that position is open right now… and he’s not being promoted into it. This is clearly just a jerk move, IMO.

  19. Zimmer appears to be showing his true colors here, yes it took him several years to get his shot, but to deny a young coach his chance is BS. This is how the league works. The more I hear about Zimmer he is out of touch.

  20. Who want to coach a team that plays in a glass house? We all know the saying. You play in a greenhouse essentially. It will never be real nfl football in a figure skating arena. Say what you want about green bay. The fans have the tacks to endure the elements. Vikings…not so much.

  21. If it was an upward move/promotion, Zim probably should have let him go. I hope those out east criticizing the move can recall all the times the Pack has denied teams the right to similarly interview coaches under contract.

  22. Forced servitude, yeah, that always works. I wonder if he earned his “tough guy” by never being given a chance by any of his ex-bosses. Tough guy.

  23. Wow, you people don’t get it. Stefanski signed a 2-year contract last year. Most assistant coaches are on 1-year contracts. That contract means you have more security but you’re also locked into the team. If the Vikings had fired him, would you expect Stefanski to not take the money on the second year of the contract?

  24. kevpft says:
    March 1, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    So not only did this “loyalty” result in Stefanski getting passed over for a promotion in favor of someone from another team, but *the person hired over him is doing the exact thing that Zimmer is saying he doesn’t like*.
    _________

    That’s so wrong. DeFilippo was at the end of his contract so he was available to do whatever he wants. In fact, the Eagles blocked him from interviewing for OC jobs last year because he was under contract and they didn’t want to lose him.

  25. All the people moaning would do the exact same thing in a similar situation. Say you signed a 2 year lease on a car and after a year your friend gives you a car…should the car dealership just let you return your other car and eat the second year of that contract to be “nice”? Contracts have negotiated terms and lengths for a reason, if you don’t hold people to their word then the whole system collapses.

    Also, the vikes have to already replace their OC, having to replace their QB coach as well would remove what little continuity there currently is for the offense which is just poor team management. Sucks Stefanski has to wait a year, but it woudl suck harder if the Vikes offense went into the toilet as a result of letting him go.

  26. I like Zimmer but this is a bit of revisionist history.

    The O he inherited was 14th in yards and 13th in point the year prior, and 20 and 14 respectively the year before that.

    He was brought in to fix the defense.

  27. I don’t think this necessarily means that Stefanski did not want to stay here. Let’s say, hypothetically, that Stefanski asked Zimmer to deny the request. He would do that because he wanted to save face, and not want to make it look like he was uninterested.

    What’s Zimmer supposed to say now? “Actually, he did not want to go.”

    If the point of blocking this lateral move (he wasn’t going to be calling plays anyway) was to cover up disinterest, one would expect Zimmer to continue to cover it up.

    I’m not saying this is what happened, I’m just saying that the commenters that say he clearly is being an obstructionist prick may not know the whole situation.

  28. In Teddy We Trust NAILED IT !!!!
    Most Asst Coaches work on single year contracts. If you sign a multi year deal the H.C. has the right to refuse that coach from interviewing. You can’t have it both ways.

  29. It’s not the first time this has happened, I don’t think it’s too big a deal. The only person who could have been screwed is Stefanski, and that’s only if he didn’t want to be there. I think what Zimmer said was fair, but I don’t think loyalty is the proper word to describe it. Loyalty is a choice you make, it’s not a choice you can force on others. Then it’s a command. But I don’t think it’s unfair that Zimmer denied the request. Stefanski has two years on his contract-if he wants to leave when it is up, that’s his choice.

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