The St. Louis Rams have mercifully ended the Steve Spagnuolo/Billy Devaney era in St. Louis. I say St. Louis Rams in place of Stan Kroenke because he couldn't be bothered to show up and fire the Head Coach and GM himself, instead leaving that duty to Rams VP Kevin Demoff.
Nothing says "commitment to excellence" like having other plans when your whole organization is in tumult.
On the east coast, the Jacksonville Jaguars also are looking for a new head coach after firing Jack Del Rio earlier in 2011. The Jags are under the guidance of a new NFL owner as well—a man you might remember, since his first attempt to purchase and NFL team was blocked by none other than Stan Kroenke.
Two new owners. Two organizations on the ropes. Two positions of leadership to fill. One of these guys seems to get it.
Jerry Jones. The name alone causes an intense reaction as soon as you read it. Picture that man, Jerry Jones. Picture the Dallas Cowboys firing their head coach after a dismal season. Picture a press conference where this firing was being held. Picture him not bothering to show up.
Can't do it? Neither can I. Because as much as guys like Jones, or Daniel Snyder or Al Davis have been vilified in the past for their involvement with their organizations, I don't believe you'd find a single person who wouldn't admit, at least, that they care. Probably too much, but they care.
Shahid Khan is going out of his way to get Jacksonville to embrace him. In fact, here's a link to a piece written over the weekend with him gushing over the popular former owner of the Jags, Wayne Weaver. It's mostly a big thank you note, but it also reaffirms what Jags fans are coming to realize—they've got an owner on their hands who seems to 'get it'.
Because much like the Rams in St. Louis, the Jaguars aren't the main attraction in Jacksonville. That'd be college football. And since the chances of FSU or Florida moving are far less probable than the Jags, that franchise has to work harder, smarter and better to win both games and entertainment dollars. Khan is embracing the challenge and throwing himself into the process head first.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, in the biggest day the organization has witnessed since Kroenke took full control of the Rams as owner, its owner decides that speaking up isn't in the Rams' best interest. I looked in my Leadership 101 handbook and couldn't find the passage Stan was working from.
Sports isn't all that complicated. As fans we really expect one thing… that the people playing on and running your team care. When they win, you want them to act like it mattered that they won. When they lose, you want them to act like it mattered that they lost. All the other stuff is filling, plot points in a bigger narrative. We'll eat dirt all day long with a franchise, but the people getting paid to be involved NEED to care.
And that's the biggest problem with the Rams right now. The guy running the show may care more than any of us or all of us combined. But how the hell is he showing us that? By not granting interviews? By not coming to the presser announcing the firing of the axis of power on the team? By letting everything kind of twist in the wind?
All the relocation talk aside, I think we just want to think about right now. Right now, though, it seems like it's the same as it's always been. Like 2-14 was another minor road bump and not that big of a deal. And that's the thing that pisses me off more than anything. I actually care… but should I?
Rams fans, it's early.
Maybe this whole thing gets turned around. But after the first few months of ownership by Khan and Kroenke, it looks like that twist of ownership history may just turn out to be the Rams' worst move yet.
And when you throw around superlatives like 'worst' with the St. Louis Rams, that's saying something.