One of the great things about being an NFL owner—aside from having more money than the Royal Family and being an organization that could offer a human sacrifice before the Super Bowl and still see revenues rise—is that company meetings are held in cushy places like Boca Raton, which is where the league’s one-percenters gathered last week.
What, was Monte Carlo fully booked?
While the landed gentry frolicked and decided whether to let teams start from the 25-yard line after touchbacks, media members sniffed around for stories and hoped to find some uneaten foie gras in the dumpster. Philadelphia reporters were particularly interested in the opportunity to interview Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and for their first sit-down with former Birds’ Maximum Leader Chip Kelly. After spending a half-hour or so with the men, they figured, all of last year’s secrets would be revealed.
Except they weren’t.
Kelly tried to make everyone believe that he didn’t really have a lot of say over personnel decisions last year. What they should have found out was how the 49ers ever expected him to be any better out there than he was here. Lurie spent a lot of time trying to explain that Howie Roseman wasn’t really the team general manager, and he wasn’t Executive VP in Charge of Athletic Tape any longer, either. For most fans, Roseman is just the guy who drafted the fireman, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Instead of trying to navigate the Byzantine inner workings of the Eagles, which seem to be less and less reasonable every day, fans and media types should be concentrating on the 2016 season, which should be the beginning of a stretch that will determine whether Roseman keeps his job and ought to be a referendum on Mr. Gold Standard’s ownership tenure.
Kelly is gone, now the problem of San Francisco GM Trent Baalke, who must find a way to co-exist with old Speedy Gonzalez, and who could well be out of work in a couple seasons when the NFL finally regurgitates the football revolutionary and sends him back to college. It matters not whether he bestowed the obscene contract on Byron Maxwell (he did), or if Roseman and Ed Marynowitz were responsible for the transfer of countless unwarranted millions on the charlatan themselves (they weren’t). No one should care whether Lurie dispatched Roseman to consort with other wizards around the world simply to remove his protégé from Kelly’s influence and let the fount of self-confidence bury himself—and the 2015 season.
The important thing now is that the Eagles are moving forward. They have jettisoned most reminders of Kelly’s regime, although there is still a smoothie machine sitting in a closet at the NovaCare Complex. The Birds have settled their QB situation. They have attempted to address problems at safety and on the O-line through free agency. And if Roseman doesn’t botch things in late April, they should add a few players capable of helping out next season and beyond. Kelly and the circus over which he presided are gone. Let’s see what a Roseman-Doug Pederson tandem can do on Sundays.
It’s fun to study history and determine who’s responsible for various successes and catastrophes. Last week’s meeting of the league’s emirs in Boca provided that opportunity. From now on, however, the interest should not be in the most recent coach, no more than we should be scrutinizing the last days of Rich Kotite’s debacle. Lurie has decided once and for all that Roseman is the Man In Charge. Observing and analyzing his tenure should provide enough work.
EL HOMBRE SEZ: Guess all those people who thought Jay Wright wasn’t doing enough at Villanova look pretty silly right now. The Wildcats’ win over Kansas was equal parts talent, grit and clutch play. It’s on to the Final Four for the second time during Wright’s tenure, and while Oklahoma gunner Buddy Hield and friends won’t be easy to handle, VU is certainly playing well enough right now to present a strong test for the Sooners. It’s a big time on the Main Line, and Wright has cemented his status as a Villanova legend.