Eric Mangini and almost his entire staff is fired. Somebody has to be held accountable for this team missing the Playoffs. There was Super Bowl talent on this squad. The Brady injury left this franchise with an unbelievable opportunity. To go from 8-3 to 9-7 and out is inexcusable. This was first and foremost a result of bad coaching. There were too many sloppy mistakes late in the year. The team was undisciplined. The gameplans were incoherent. The in-game decisions were terrible. The players looked lost. Knowing how poor they were in 2008, Mangini talked me into another year of both Bob Sutton and Brian Schottenheimer. He staked his reputation on these guys and lost. Mangini is a bright young guy and will probably be a good coach for somebody else one day. He is not ready to lead a team.
Bill Callahan did a great job with the offensive line and turned the running game into the best in the AFC. I give him a raise if he promises to stay and not get offended my search for a head man will not include him. The same goes for Mike Westhoff, the best special teams coach in football.
I then set my sights on the biggest coaching free agent in football, Bill Cowher. Cowher is already a borderline Hall of Famer from his long run with the Steelers. He won a Super Bowl there, went to another, and took that team to the AFC Championship Game on four other occasions. His teams were always tough and physical. Even as the faces changed and high profile free agents left, Pittsburgh contended year in and year out.
Cowher will be expensive. He is a hot commodity and seems to genuinely enjoy working in television. The pay there is good, and the work is easier and more fun that running an NFL team. However, I have decided money will be no object. I already invested well over $100 million last year giving the roster a facelift, and it did not get me even to the Playoffs. Now I have disgruntled fans a year away from a move to a new stadium and right before astronomical personal seat license bills are sent. I am not afraid to open my wallet to land Cowher.
I am not sure whether Cowher wants the job, but he certainly will come in to listen. I make it clear to him that this will be his franchise. I will give him all the money he wants. He can dictate the terms of a contract, and money will not come between him and any assistant coach he wants. My job is then to convince him the Jets are the opportunity for him.
I tell him what is already in place. For a team seeking a new coach, the Jets have a lot of talent. This team was considered a Super Bowl favorite just over a month ago. On the current roster, Leon Washington, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, Jerricho Cotchery, Kris Jenkins, David Harris, Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace, and Kerry Rhodes are all in place and likely to perform above the NFL average for their positions for at least the next five years. That is almost half of the starters on the roster. This will not be the kind of difficult total rebuilding job you will have to undertake in say Detroit or Cleveland.
Next I introduce him to Mike Tannenbaum. I will explain to Cowher that he will have the final say on any major move, but he will not have to do it all by himself. Tannenbaum will help him like Scott Pioli did for Bill Belichick. I then will explain how nine of that core of ten I just mentioned have been brought to the team by Tannenbaum over the past three years and some of the wonders Tannenbaum has worked with the salary cap.
My next move is to show Bill our starting quarterback, Brett Favre. I acknowledge that Brett is not what he used to be. However, I express my supreme confidence that Cowher is just what he needs. I know that Cowher will use this personnel to build a smashmouth team that will only need its quarterback to manage the game and move the chains. I also know that an in your face guy like Bill will get through to him and cut down on Favre's risktaking by making it clear turnovers will not be tolerated. Even though Brett seemed worn out by the end of the 2008 season, adding an elite coach to a talented team should be enough to sell him on the idea of taking one last run at glory as long as the coach is willing to reach out. Cowher has won with Neil O'Donnell and Kordell Stewart playing under center for him, so even an aging Favre should entice him.
Finally, I have some special guests to court Cowher, Mark Messier and Joe Torre, who I was able to book through friends. The duo will explain what it meant to their legacies and their lives to have brought championships to New York. They will explain that there is no place to win like New York and that Cowher will be a god if he did. Then to prove my point, I will bring in thirty longtime season ticket holders to speak with him so that they can tell Bill themselves how much he would mean to the franchise. I then end my conversation with Cowher telling him that this cursed franchise needed him. If he got this cursed franchise over the top and became the first coach to win Super Bowls with two different teams, he would join Walsh, Parcells, Lombardi, Noll, Belichick, Landry, and Shula with the all-time greats.
With that, I bid Cowher goodbye and hope he took what I said and offered to heart.