The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are San Diego Chargers President Dean Spanos and General Manager AJ Smith. They get the award for the following.
SAN DIEGO -- Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired Monday night in a shocking move by team president Dean Spanos, who cited a "dysfunctional situation" between the coach and general manager A.J. Smith.
Less than a month after San Diego's NFL-best 14-2 season was wrecked in a playoff loss to New England, Spanos cited the exodus of both coordinators and other assistants in firing Schottenheimer, who had a year left on his contact.
"This decision was so hard because Marty has been both a friend and valued coach of our team," Spanos said in a statement. "But my first obligation is always to do what is in the best interest of our fans and the entire Charger organization. I must take whatever steps are necessary to deliver a Super Bowl trophy to San Diego. Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure. On the contrary, and in the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today I am resolving that situation once and for all."
Mortensen reported that Spanos told Schottenheimer on Monday that it wasn't going to work between him and Smith. Mortensen also reported that Smith began calling Chargers players Monday night, telling them not to panic in the wake of the firing.
When told the situation between Schottenheimer and Smith was described by Spanos as "dysfunctional," Schottenheimer said "that's a pretty accurate description."
>As for Schottenheimer's relationship with Smith, Schottenheimer said: "I don't know why it was so bad. Everytime I tried to get an explanation of why there was such a bad reaction, he always had the same rebuttal ... he didn't want to talk about it."
Spanos indicated in the statement that the Chargers will pay Schottenheimer for the last year of his contract.
Three days after the Chargers' playoff meltdown Spanos decided that bringing Schottenheimer back for the final year of his contract gave San Diego its best chance to win.
"Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month," Spanos said in the statement. "When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager. In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation and create an environment where everyone at Charger Park would be pulling in the same direction and working at a championship level."
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was hired as head coach of the Cowboys on Thursday, following offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and two other assistants out of town for better jobs.
Although Schottenheimer said last week that change was inevitable, Smith sounded concerned, saying, "Both in the same year -- Wow."
Tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski became Cleveland's offensive coordinator, and linebackers coach Greg Manusky was hired as San Francisco's defensive coordinator.
I don't give many Sports and Entertainment Knuckleheads.(The last was here and that was over a month ago.) This decision by team management is worthy of one. You fire a coach who goes 14-2 because some of his coaches get hired away by other teams as Smith claims? Who let them go in the first place? Plus Spanos talks about doing what is in the best interest of the fans. I'll tell you this, fans don't care about General Managers but what the results are the field. You fire the head coach and let five assistants of a sucessful team go. That is going to improve a 14-2 team?
What really is at work here is a personality conflict between Marty Schottenheimer and Charger management. The ultimate losers will be Charger fans, this team is liable to go about 9-7 next season due to this turmoil. The two culprits for that downfall will be obvious. San Diego Chargers President Dean Spanos and General Manager AJ Smith and they are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.