Eric Mangini is back for next year at least, and now there is a new reason to consider. Yes the team didn’t quit on Mangini and they played solidly and maybe even over their heads down the stretch under his tutelage. But let’s think about it a different way. Let’s look at two other coaches around the league in Dallas’ Wade Phillips and San Diego’s Norv Turner. Wade Phillip was on the proverbial hot seat in Dallas all year long and not only did he get his option for 2010 picked up, he was given an extension by Jerry Jones. Similarly, in San Diego I think fans were relatively shocked to wake up one morning to find out that San Diego’s coach Norv Turner was given an extension after losing to the Jets 17-14 in the playoffs. So, what gives? Three coaches who were on the hot seats for various reasons, and all are coming back in 2010 and possibly beyond.
Well, I was listening to Opie and Anthony last week and they had Chris “Maddog” Russo on the show from Miami where he was covering the Superbowl. During that segment of the show Russo mentioned something interesting. He claimed that he had heard insider rumblings that the recent coaching extensions and moves were being affected by some of the more macro type situations around the NFL.
As most fans know, 2010 is an uncapped year meaning that there will be no salary cap and no salary floor. The NFL owners seem to have every intention of playing hardball with the players’ association. As a result it seems that a lockout could be a real possibility in 2011. So the insider rumblings that Russo reported claimed that a lot of the current coaching moves were made with an eye on retaining stability going into 2011 in case there is a shortened schedule or missed time around training camps. The idea being, even in a strike shortened season, a team that has had consistency in coaching, gameplan and approach will be able to get started that much faster than one with a new coach and a relative unfamiliarity between the players and the staff.
Now, obviously this is me applying conjecture to an insider rumbling that was reported third hand from radio row at the Super Bowl, but doesn’t it make sense? You can argue that Mangini earned the right to come back or that he didn’t, but combine a solid second half of the season with these larger looming NFL issues, and it makes even that much more sense.