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Fire Is Overrated

J.P. Pelzman tries to argue that the next head coach of the Jets needs to show emotion on the sidelines. It is a popular theory among fans. Many were frustrated as Eric Mangini exhibited little emotion even while his team's season and ultimately his own job were slipping away in December. However, this theory does not hold much water.

The talk of a football coach showing emotion is overrated. Mangini's problem was not that he was too stoic. It was his unwillingness to correct his coordinators when they made inane calls, lousy gameplans, and terrible in game decisions. Knocking over a Gatorade cooler would not have solved anything. These were the coaching failures.

Nobody can even say they know Mangini was too soft on the Jets. He may well have chewed them out behind closed doors. Until it comes from somebody in the room in Florham Park, any answer to the question whether Mangini was too soft on his players is purely speculation. Even if he did not berate them, it means nothing in terms of his quality as a coach.

Tony Dungy just made headlines for his retirement and the potential end of a Hall of Fame career. He was as placid on the sidelines as any coach in NFL history. How many Colts fans would complain about his demeanor? How about the coach who used to share a stadium with Mangini? Until last season, many claimed Tom Coughlin was too gruff and surly in dealing with his players. Many argued he was not calm enough. Then he won the Super Bowl, and all of the sudden come these stories about him "striking the right balance," whatever that means.

The point is that there are different ways to reach a team. Every coach has his own style. Coaches must be true to themselves. Some are successful with the Parcells screaming mode. Others find success with Tony Dungy's placidity. The perception of a coach's demeanor is an effect, not a cause. Screaming does not guarantee winning. It does not guarantee losing. Winning guarantees the media will say a coach's personality is perfect. Losing guarantees a coach will be viewed as too strict or too calm.

The Jets need to find the guy with whom they are most comfortable leading the team over the long haul. If they feel a guy can motivate a team and successfully gameplan, it should not matter whether he shows a lot or a little emotion.