Monday, January 04, 2010

Smell Ya Later, Jim Zorn

I will not miss Jim Zorn. Let's be clear about that from the outset. But I will acknowledge all the problems that were not his fault--a bad, aging, oft-injured offensive line. A general management team too concerned with making big splashes than securing the quiet steady locker room that makes winners. A series of injuries to running backs that lead to a time share between the 4th and 5th guys on the depth chart.

That said, calling the same gimmick place twice in a row was a breaking point for anyone--even for anyone who didn't realize that playing Zorn apologist was a quixotic quest at best. This guy has essentially been fired since mid-October when Sherm Lewis showed up to call plays. (which is also the first time Shanahan said No to this job).

Zorn doesn't deserve all the fault, and he's not receiving it. But he's the guy who can get fired, and along with the long awaited adieu from Vinny Cerrato earlier in the season, we've got a chance at as clean of a slate we can hope for until Dan Snyder sells this team (which will never, ever happen).

That said, here's one opinion that's crazy and wrong-headed and sophistic--it comes, as you might expect from that description--The Washington Post op-ed staff. Jo-Ann Armao, who I have never read before, dropped a quick dumb-bomb in the PostPartisan online blog-type-thing. Armao bemoans the fact that Jim Zorn is going to get some money paid to him because the Skins are having to break a contract to fire him, and asks the question, "Does he [Zorn] really think he has earned that $2.4 million?"

We've seen this kind of stupid from non-sports folks, who treat sports like it isn't a job. No one, NO ONE turns down a severance package because they feel like they don't deserve their contractually stipulated money. Would you? Would Jo-Ann? Probably not.

This was a job like any other job, and Jim Zorn doesn't know when he'll make as much money again, if ever. Over his two-year stint at the head coach, I think it's fair to estimate the revenues of The Washington Franchise to be at least, at least, $500 million dollars. So his severance package amounts to .5% of the revenue generated by the company while he was coaching. That seems fair to me, regardless of record. It's called a contract, and they are usually pretty unfairly stacked against labor, so kudos to Zorn for getting something out of it at all. It's a ridiculous suggestion to say Zorn should feel bad for having not earned it. But Armao isn't done.

Here's her kicker: "It's similarly outrageous that Wall Street bankers and Fannie and Freddie executives are awarded big bonuses for their bad bets. Perhaps one of the reasons for this country’s troubles is that there’s no incentive to produce results."

Do you see what she did there? She compared an amount paid to a worker after a contract is broken by management to bonuses given by management to management. There are bonuses and there are contractually obligated severance packages. Comparing the two, and pretending that they are one in the same, or even similar is entirely too much bullshit, even for a throw-away blog item on the Washington Post.

And what's this bit about "No incentive"? The day Zorn is fired, is she suggesting that there is no incentive to produce results for an NFL Coach? Lady, are you high? Jim Zorn, as Michael Wilbon wrote, just spent the last 6 months getting paid to act like he wasn't getting fired in slow-motion. It was hard to watch--I can't imagine what it was like to be the lead actor on that soap opera. Jim Zorn wins 6 more games, and he's maybe given a new contract, a raise, new endorsements, and treated like royalty in DC. No incentive? That is the fucking definition of incentive. Jim Zorn had all the incentive in the world to succeed. He was just woefully under-qualified for the job that was given to him.


Andrew Wice said...

Fine hagiography. I wish Zorn the best of luck, hopefully as a position coach in some hinterland of the AFC West.

I still believe that most of Zorn's X's and O's decisions were correct. Play-calling wasn't the team's deficiency, execution was. Unfortunately, that is also the head coach's responsibility.

Starting over again with TBD coach number seven in the last ten years. This might get worse before it gets better.

Muumuuman said...

Be optimistic! A revolving door of head coaches has panned out quite well for the Detroit Lions.