We’re getting ready for the watching/review of the 2018 Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ Dallas Cowboys documentary. Episode #1 review of the Dallas version is planned to be published May 17. Until we get there, please to enjoy my groundbreaking study of the 2017 Rams’ doc…groundbreaking by me as that show is where we built Rams’ fantasy theories that crushed it and cashed in on them over and over in our handicapping…as it took about 10+ weeks into the 2017 season for the public and Vegas to get figure out/on board. What will I discover with the Dallas series? We’ll find out soon. Until then…
Rams 'All or Nothing' on Amazon…Episode 6/8 Review
Well, they made this the episode where we get the behind the scenes look at Jeff Fisher getting fired. There's a lot happening in this episode, covers three games/three ass beatings for the Rams, but obviously, the Fisher firing is the main attraction. So, let's start there…
I think the thing that struck me the most about watching Jeff Fisher addressing coaches and the team that he had been fired was not the lack of emotion from anyone else, although to me that was loud and clear..and maybe normal/not telling -- the thing that struck me about this moment was what happened after he made his announcement.
I think what captivated me most about the post-firing announcement reaction was the handful of players and coaches addressing the team/room with more clichés than ever before. Is there anyone in the NFL, player or coach or GM, that does not speak in clichés only? Fisher departs the room/building and then we get a litany of people talking about how everyone needs to 'try harder', everyone needs 'to focus'…players taking blame saying they 'didn't do their best in leadership'. Everyone talking about how they let down the coach.
I'm sure all that talk sounds good, but I'm sure there was more than one player and more than one coach thinking – he got exactly what he deserved. Jeff Fisher brought this upon himself. It begins with poor choices to fill his coaching staff. It extends into poor coaching habits and techniques with the players. It encompasses bad choices of which players (and QBs) to start over another. There's the play calling to question. There's a lot the falls at the feet of a bad NFL head coach. But what does everyone do inside the building (or for the cameras)…they start blaming themselves and their lack of focus and effort.
Of course, with all the horse $#!# talk of needing more focus and trying harder, the losses keep mounting. You would think someone would stop the madness and try something different? They never do. The coaches just keep yelling more expletives and more clichés. It's the living definition of: The beatings will continue until morale improves. I swear to you, and I've said it a million times and you probably get tired of hearing it – NFL teams are the worst run businesses in America. The worst run successful businesses in America. The fan base keeps growing, and the fan base worships the football players and coaches as gods. It all feeds into this profanity and cliché spewing system – these people are so revered that they actually believe they are good at what they do. Why should they change? They wouldn't even know what to change if they wanted to. They were raised in this football 'culture'. They know nothing else in life. They all constantly get fired every 2 to 4 seasons and they blame it on the nature of the business. It's not the nature of the business…if you don't suck at what you do in most cases.
As far as the players and coaches reactions, Jeff Fisher making his announcement in front of everyone, and me watching the reactions on the player's and coach's faces and body language, made me think that was not a lot of love in that room for Fisher. More a tolerating. The coaches all came up and shook his hand and hugged him, eventually. But the hug train more struck me as what happens when some people start clapping at a public event, and then everyone else chimes in because they feel like they're supposed to. I'm sure some people close to Fisher took this news hard, but then everyone in the room had to come up give a hug and say something nice. It's just what decent humans do. As I saw the hugs and handshakes from the coaches happen one by one, I just didn't see real human emotion in most cases. I did not see the shock and sadness that you would expect if a beloved person was leaving. I've seen, in person, more emotion expressed at a good manager leaving a department at a corporation than what I saw when Fisher announced he was leaving.
The coaches were sad/shocked because they had to know they were all toast. The players were pretty stone-faced. Sure, a few of the guys who know they have no business being starters or maybe even in the league we're upset – they could see the gravy train just pulled out of the station. But for the most part most players in the room barely blinked at the news.
The funniest part to me was watching the QB table. Every meeting Case Keenum, Jared Goff, and Sean Mannion sit together at the same table. Two those guys have no business being in the NFL. I'll let you do the math on which ones. At the end of the Fisher announcement, Keenum and Mannion have their head in their hands, looking a little shocked/sad. Jared Goff is looking up at the room with no emotion…almost appearing as if his day just changed for the better. More on Goff in the moment.
One last thing about the firing...
The Vice President of Football Operations comes in to talk to the team and announces Special Teams Coach John Fassel will be taking over. I'm not sure what the protocol is in such a situation, nor do I know what they edited it out, but I can only go by what I saw. Fassel is announced as head coach, and is given a chance to speak -- and says a sentence and sits down. In a time of crisis, the guy is given an opportunity to show true leadership…and for the rest of the episode there is no moment of him grabbing the rains. Maybe he felt the body wasn't cold yet, but I think he was just more in shock and doesn't have a real aggressive leadership bone in his body. He's just a really nice guy. Another coach's son raised in this culture, in this bubble. No 'real world' experience. No preparation either.
You’d think if you were an NFL coaching hopeful you’d take public speaking classes and various engagements. You’d have a takeover speech ready. You’d have the playbook for just such a moment. If you ever got a chance, you'd be ready to go because you were shadowing the bosses…if you’re at the facility for 20 hours a day. Not John Fassel. He resorts to 'I'm going to do what coach Fish would do' (savvy, because that just got fired) and 'Gosh, this is a lot of work…I'm not really sure I know what to do. Aw shucks'. You get one moment…and you're a deer in the headlights. My non-football loving son, who loves this documentary series, said it best – "It's as if a fan won a drawing to coach the team. Don’t they have anyone more prepared?"
My 19-year old has more common sense than an EVP of Football Ops, who probably makes seven-figures a year.
I'd also like to ask -- where the hell is GM Les Snead during all of this? We are six episodes in and I've seen Les Snead on the beach with his wife and kids for about two minutes. That's all I've seen of him. During the Arizona documentary last season, The general manager was fairly visible throughout the documentary. It didn’t help him, but he was in the middle or most things. Les Snead has literally been a ghost through six episodes. What exactly NFL general managers do? I'm beginning to wonder even more. I always rail about the head coaches, but I'm probably not being fair by not railing more about how awful general managers are at their jobs. Again, the more I get exposed behind the scenes of the NFL…I know it's the worst one successful business in the entire galaxy.
Other Notes for this episode…
-- The more I get to see Jared Goff behind the scenes were addressing his teammates – the more impressed I am. I hear a lot of people downplaying Jared Goff as timid or not a leader or whatever. I don't see that at all. He's just not a loud mouth spewing clichés or cursing every time he gets a chance. For a rookie, he seems to know when to push and when the pull. He doesn’t display any entitlement. He's played it cool, but now starting to assert himself…which is the way it should be done as a #1 pick rookie. Don’t force it, slowly earn it, but don’t back down to anyone.
-- On the opposite end of the spectrum… I'm going from being concerned about Todd Gurley to really despising him through this episode. The only time you see Gurley talking is to no one in particular, just a general group in an area, and it's him just spewing profanities and frustration that no one is doing their job. Newsflash, Todd – you absolutely have sucked from the entire 2016 season back into the back half of your 2015 fraudulent Rookie of the Year campaign. At some point, someone's going to start asking questions of whether you have the heart for this. We know you have the athleticism, but do you have the mind and the heart? I'm really beginning to wonder about that.
-- In this episode, we were reminded about the Eric Dickerson controversy that popped up last season. The spat that Dickerson and Fisher had. Eric Dickerson seems to be pretty insightful and was railing on the poor coaching job the entire season. In a he-said/she-said series of events, Dickerson claims Jeff Fisher blocked him from being around the team for being too critical. Fisher claims nothing of the sort. After watching all of this in the documentary and remembering it last year, I'm still taking Dickerson side of things. Doing something petty is right up Jeff Fisher's alley.