As Texans owner Cal McNair contemplates the next moves to be made by the football team he inherited, McNair has made his best move yet.
McNair has sought the input of his most valuable employee regarding the team’s next head coach.
The son of team founder Bob McNair recently told ESPN that the direction of the franchise came up during a recent dinner with franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. As explained by Adam Schefter of ESPN, “McNair wanted to hear Watson’s thoughts and opinions on who should be the next head coach, and Watson shared his opinions with McNair.”
McNair specifically told ESPN “that he welcomes Watson’s input, respects his opinion and wants the star quarterback to be happy.”
Some will look at this and exclaim that quarterbacks shouldn’t have input in such decisions. That players play and coaches coach and owners hire coaches. Others will say, “Why shouldn’t quarterbacks have input?”
So why shouldn’t quarterbacks have input? Teams want quarterbacks to act like supervisors on the shop floor, showing up early and staying late and taking work home and setting the example that inspires and leads the other players. Then, teams want quarterbacks to sit down and shut up when big decisions come around.
It’s a short-sighted approach that fails to reflect the fact that it’s much harder to find a great quarterback than it is to find a great coach, and that the team won’t achieve as much as it can if the relationship between coach and quarterback doesn’t work.
Although a balance exists regarding a quarterback’s input in issues like coach selection and roster construction, the better the quarterback, the more important it becomes to listen to him. Indeed, if Watson gets sufficiently disenchanted with the organization that he decides he’ll make it known internally that he wants out and that he’ll do the bare minimum until he gets his way, that’s not going to be good for business.
Ultimately, that’s not going to be good for anybody.
So, yes, McNair should listen to Watson — unless McNair wants to risk Watson deciding, in a year or two, that he wants to continue his career somewhere else.