Tony Dungy’s comments on Michael Sam: Everyone in the NFL (players, coaches, execs, media, etc.) who knows Tony Dungy, also knows that Tony is as solid of a man as there is, in/or out of the league. He’s direct, honest, modest, thoughtful, considerate, accessible, and a bigger man than most people who have coached in the league. The people that know him knew exactly what he meant when he made those comments about not wanting to draft Michael Sam.
When I saw his comments I knew exactly what he was saying. You see, Tony is so honest that he speaks without a filter. I remember at the Combine in 2005 he told me he was drafting my client, DT Jonathan Babineaux, in the 2nd round if he was there. However, the Falcons drafted him a pick before the Colts could snag him. Later on, I had several people within the Colts organization tell me that they were going to take Jonathan with that 2nd round pick. I was surprised Tony told me that they were going to pick my client but as they say, “he’s honest to a fault”.
So the fact that Tony’s comment got so much national attention, reiterates what he sincerely meant. He was simply saying, “it’s NOT Sam who would cause the distraction, it will be the media that will aggressively, persistently, obnoxiously and sometimes recklessly, be the distraction and constant maintenance for the head coach and his organization. Tony obviously wouldn’t want the responsibility of dealing with the added work in dealing with the media if Sam were on his team. Because Tony knows himself too well, he knew that if he did draft Michael Sam, he would have gone the extra mile, spent the energy needed, and made it a very personal responsibility to protect Sam from any media circus that could follow him or distract his team.
The reality is that many GMs and head coaches didn’t draft Sam this year because of the same reason Tony said he wouldn’t. But unlike Tony (who is retired), they can’t and won’t voice it publicly.
There are many head coaches who didn’t sign Tim Tebow (as a backup), Chad Johnson, Michael Vick, and/or Brett Farve for the same exact reason. They are media maintenance intensive.
The Falcons and Hard Knocks: GM Thomas Dimitroff, HC Mike Smith and company were not HBO’s top pick for Hard Knocks this year. They sought out the Browns (Johnny Manziel), Seahawks, Eagles, Raiders, Redskins, Niners, and several other teams before shaking down the Falcons to ‘yes’.
The Falcons will end up being a good choice though for several reasons. For one, football fans are going to get a good look at why Mike (Smity) Smith, is one of the most loved coaches in the league. His players absolutely love him. We are also going to see one of the more seamless and sound organizations in the league, where everyone is on the same page. Everyone from the owner to the equipment manager is reading from the same script. The Falcons are considered one of the top organizations in the league from a management standpoint. Agents trust and like them, coaches respect them and the owner truly cares about his players. They might not be the most entertaining group, but we are going to get a good look at a solid organization.
Two teams on the move? Will the Buffalo Bills be moved at some point, regardless of who ends up buying them? And what about the Jaguars? Will they be the London Jaguars within the next five years? What I am hearing from people within the league is this: The league office wants the Bills to stay put. They feel that a new owner moving the Bills will send the wrong message to fans everywhere around the league. The Bills, being one of the league’s foundation teams, should forever remain a fixture in Buffalo.
As for the Jaguars, my bet is that they end up in London. The new owner, Shahid Khan has made a valiant effort to make things work in Jacksonville. He’s doing and saying all the right things. However, if he decides to move the team across the pond, the league would give him a police escort to London.
The league has proven that they are committed to international expansion and the Jags are the prime candidates to make the move.
Another interesting component of this conversation is the article written by Sam Farmer of the LA Times. He builds a nice case of why the league may build and own a stadium in LA. Even if it is just talk by the league, it gives those teams who need/want a new stadium or want improvements leverage with their current landlord.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta
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