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Holler: If Frazier is fired, it’s all busines
Leslie Frazier (Adam Bettcher/Getty)
Posted Dec 30, 2013
Some coaches wear out their welcome, some faster than others. But if Leslie Frazier is fired Monday, it will be about the bottom line, not the man that everyone embraces.
Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “It’s not personal, it’s only business.”
More times than not, it is personal. But, it’s all business.
Today is known as Black Monday – a day when the coaches who are going to get fired start getting the news. The NFL runs 365 days a year. If an organization is going to fire its head coach, the feeling is the sooner the better. Just as Thanksgiving night has co-opted Black Friday, the Cleveland Browns opened Black Monday early by telling The Chud he was one and done.
More will follow.
In some cases, the exodus is obvious. Mike Shanahan and RG3 don’t get along. One of them has to go. One of them turns 24 in February. The other one has to go. Greg Schiano’s people are already gauging interest from college programs.
It’s a crazy time of year in the NFL. The have-nots are looking to appease the fan base after failure. As a result, on the Monday after the regular season ends, the firings strike down with great vengeance and furious anger. Organizational paradigms shift with the drop of the hammer.
There is a growing undercurrent that today the Vikings are going to fire head coach Leslie Frazier. It isn’t because his team quit on him. It could be argued Jim Schwartz should be fired before Frazier. Perhaps both will.
The problem with the “It’s just business” model of NFL ownership, there is a life “behind the door” at the core of football that they don’t see. That is why the Miami bullying situation could exist. It’s all in the attitude. Coaches are the authority figure and, when players revolt, the results are obvious.
If the Vikings fire Leslie Frazier today, it’s not because he isn’t a good head coach. He is.
It won’t be because his team quit on him. They didn’t. At a time when pragmatic fans were thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if the Vikings lost all their remaining games when they were 1-7 at midseason, the Vikings went 4-3-1 in the second half – the best record in the division, as well as a 2-0-1 record against the NFC North in Act II of their annual meetings.
It won’t be because his players didn’t have his back. They do. If you were to ask anyone who has spent any amount of time with Frazier to define his character, you wouldn’t hear a dissenting opinion. If the Vikings had a 36-12 record over the last three years and players were asked if Frazier was a better coach or human being, that 12-win average would pale by comparison.
Frazier is a good coach. He is an exemplary man.
The Vikings are going to undergo a significant overhaul in the next few months and, at the moment, it doesn’t appear as though that is going to include Frazier. Have the Vikings succeeded under his watch? The empirical evidence says no. Given that 8-7-1 won the NFC North, it can be argued that the Vikings were more snake-bit than dismal.
But, in a bottom-line world, over the last three seasons as head coach, Frazier has a regular season record of 18-29-1 in 48 games and is 0-1 in the postseason.
If the thought process at Winter Park is based on a belief that Frazier can be the person to mold the young core of the Vikings team moving forward, he will be back next year. But, in the NFL, lame-duck coaching contracts are rarely fulfilled. Change is constant in the NFL. Players come. Players go. Coaches come. Coaches go. Unfortunately, character isn’t a consideration. If it was, Frazier would have been given a vote of confidence.
He didn’t get it.
In the end, it’s not personal. It’s only business.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for
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