One of the things about media is that controversy, over-the-top and in-your-face is what sells (those things plus sex, actually). For me, those things are hard to do. I (thankfully, I suppose) have two problems with the above things:
1) I try not to write stuff about people that I wouldn’t say to their face; and
2) Jesus tells us that we’ll be held accountable for every word we utter.
Those things, for the most part, tend to keep me in check.
Not so much for Greg g Doyel when he writes. Recently, he’s gone after ‘Bama’s new offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin and Mike Shanahan’s son, Kyle:
It’s offensive, the way this guy gets great job after great job, and the same goes for Kyle Shanahan, the second most notorious Daddy’s Boy in football coaching. (Hey, Lane, you’re No. 1; and that’s not my index finger I’m raising.) On the same day Kiffin was announced as the offensive coordinator at one of the best football schools in America, Kyle Shanahan interviewed for the offensive coordinator position with the Dolphins.
It’s disappointing, disheartening, even disgusting that people like Kiffin and Shanahan continue to find open doors and welcome mats after spectacular failure, when good men — men who didn’t climb onto Daddy’s back for their start in the football business, or any business — sit by the wayside, either unemployed or underemployed because they don’t have a father who was better at their job than they ever will be.
[Yes, you read correctly. In the piece, Doyel gives the proverbial middle finger to Kiffin. For some reason, that strikes me as terribly unclassy behavior from a big-time writer. Maybe it’s just me.]
This is mostly the same old stuff that we’ve heard before: these guys supposedly woke up on third base and thought they hit a triple. It’s the ageless accusation of nepotism.
Don’t get me wrong; the thought, related to Kiffin, has actually crossed my mind a time or two as well. That, plus he must be a tremendous interviewer.
But Doyel’s nastiness made me think twice about these accusations.
My first thought was, “what is Kiffin supposed to do?” So he grows up around football and wants to follow his dad into coaching. Is he supposed to change his last name and take a vow of poverty? Is he supposed to toil among the junior high ranks until he’s a tenured history teacher and then call it a career?
Most of America despises nepotism and I agree with them. But America also used to look fondly on fathers that had a positive effect on their children and children that wanted to follow their fathers into the family business (even if that business is football).
Most of America also understands that you can’t deny that relationships exist and that so much of what we do is based on them. And that isn’t, by definition, a bad thing.
So did Kiffin benefit from nepotism? As best I can tell, he’s never even worked for his dad. So there’s that. Did his dad get him a job as a graduate assistant at Colorado State or quality control guy with the Jacksonville Jaguars? Did his dad make Pete Carroll hire him as an assistant?
Sure, his last name probably didn’t hurt, and his dad may have even made a phone call or two, but at the end of the day, the guy has to get the job done. Coaches and their assistants aren’t tenured and there will be an accounting of their performance and they will be turned loose if the job isn’t getting done.
Did Monte Kiffin make Pete Carroll continue to promote Lane Kiffin? Did Monte Kiffin cause the late Al Davis to hire Kiffin to coach the Raiders? Did the elder Kiffin cause the Tennessee Volunteers to give Lane the keys to their kingdom? Did daddy cause USC to hire him back as their head coach starting with the 2010 season? And finally, did daddy cause Nick Saban to hire junior as his offensive coordinator?
The more you think about this, the more the idea is absurd. If you want to give Monte Kiffin credit, give it for probably opening the door back in the early days of Colorado State, Jacksonville and first being hired at USC. But after that, the family influence most likely ends.
Kiffin has shown questionable behavior that makes me question his character. To be honest, I’m not really sure what kind of human being he is. But what I think about that doesn’t really matter much. Right now, what matters in the coaching world, is what Nick Saban thought and Doyel even admits such:
Thing is, Nick Saban is a brilliant football coach. The guy knows how to put together a staff, and he’s not about to hire Lane Kiffin because Lane’s father is Monte Kiffin, one of the better defensive football minds of the last few decades. Saban hired Lane because he thinks Lane can help him, or because he likes the continuity Lane brings — Lane was on campus this past month as an “adviser” or “observer” or “village idiot” or something — or maybe because Saban fell under the same spell that people fall under when they talk to Lane. I fell under it in July 2012, and let me tell you this: Never again.
Is Saban simply trolling the entire football world or does he perhaps think Kiffin can do the job? You know the answer to that.
Kiffin might need to apologize for things he did at certain places or for how he didn’t get his job done, but he doesn’t need to apologize for getting hired. That’s absurd.