On the Tunney Side of the Street 42

by Jim Tunney

After Further Review ...

I was encouraged to see the leadership stance taken by the NFL Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher who removed Titans quarterback Vince Young from the T.E.A.M. This decision by Fisher followed a verbal battle between the two following their overtime loss to Washington Redskins in week 11. While all of the "inside story" has not been revealed, it is the understanding here that Young used profane language - in a personal way - towards Fisher after that loss. What further irritated Fisher was that Young texted an apology rather than meeting face-to-face with Fisher. Ah, the younger generation and their technology. Fisher doesn't text.

Part of what is known is that Fisher was unhappy with Young's lack of commitment, work ethic and effort. Reading between the lines, it would appear that the flare-up that happened after the loss to Washington was perhaps the "straw," etc. Many times a strong disciplinary move by the leader, (Coach Fisher), and the employee (Quarterback Young), takes place after a number of "little things" have occurred.

Young was a first-round draft choice by the Titans in 2006 after an All-American career at the University of Texas. Fisher, who was a defensive-back for the Chicago Bears when they won Super Bowl XX, has been the Titans Head Coach for 16 years - the longest tenured coach in the NFL today. The real story, for me, is "Who's in charge here?"

Having observed the NFL for 50 years, I have noticed a "decline-of-authoritative power" in the NFL coaching ranks. The player-coach relationship has been broken with: 1) money (players being paid - guaranteed exorbitant salaries & bonuses - much more than their "bosses"), and 2) the heavy infusion of agents who negotiate the athlete's salary. Negotiations are conducted between the club's owner and the player's agent. The coach isn't involved.

I doubt we'll ever return to the Lombardi, Shula, Landry, Noll, Walsh era where the coach was "really" in charge. The authority of an NFL head coach must be absolute. The Coach must be the leader "in charge." Absolute has to do with legal, ethical and a sound philosophy of leadership practices. Hopefully Titans' owner Bud Adams will support Coach Fisher in maintaining the role of the coach as its leader.

Will you support a leader who leads with a sound understanding of his/her followers?