Familial Fumbles: Lack of Qualifications Plague NFL Team Owners, as Tennessee Titans Fire Head Coach

Tennessee, USA – The world of NFL team ownership is unique in that there are no prerequisites or qualifications for the position. In a league where franchises are valued at billions of dollars, it is intriguing to see these businesses run like small family-owned stores. Often, when a family member passes away, another family member steps in to take charge, regardless of their knowledge or experience in running a football team.

This phenomenon is prevalent throughout the NFL, with control of teams being passed down within a family. A recent example comes from Tennessee, where Amy Adams Strunk, the daughter of Bud Adams, made the decision to fire head coach Mike Vrabel. The complexities of the team’s ownership, split between three branches of the family, led to a messy situation that took years to resolve. Ultimately, Strunk assumed control, despite lacking the necessary skills to run a billion-dollar organization.

A deep dive by TheAthletic.com reveals the strained relationship between Strunk and Vrabel. The conflicts ranged from Strunk’s discontent with Vrabel’s personnel decisions to her taking offense to Vrabel’s praise of the New England Patriots. These issues, however, have no bearing on Vrabel’s coaching abilities or his success in leading the team to the number one seed in the 2021 season, despite a constantly changing roster.

The reality is that dealing with a great head coach requires finding a way to coexist, as demonstrated by Robert Kraft’s successful relationship with Bill Belichick in New England. The ability to navigate interpersonal challenges often leads to exceptional achievements, like winning six Lombardi Trophies. Unfortunately, some owners fail to recognize the value of working with talented coaches, resulting in missed opportunities for success.

This issue is not unique to the Titans; other teams, like the San Francisco 49ers, have also struggled to cooperate with their head coaches. Jim Harbaugh, despite leading the team to multiple NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl, was ultimately fired due to clashes with management. The inability to manage egos and prioritize winning can undermine the potential for long-term success in the NFL.

Great coaches possess a strong vision and often push those around them relentlessly to achieve peak performance. However, it is the owners, who often inherit control of the team without proper qualifications, that lack the understanding and insight to recognize a great coach. This lack of experience can lead to disastrous consequences, resulting in lost opportunities for teams and their fans.

One suggestion to potentially address this issue is to structure NFL teams as corporations. While not a perfect solution, this approach would introduce a CEO who earns their position based on qualifications rather than inheritance. Additionally, a board of directors could provide oversight and accountability, ensuring that petty conflicts do not harm key relationships within the organization.

Until these changes are made, fans can expect to be mere spectators in the ongoing family dramas that shape the direction of their favorite NFL teams. The case of Green Bay stands as a unique example, where a stock sale decades ago created a management structure that prioritizes qualified individuals to run the team. This ensures that the team’s success is not hindered by unqualified family members taking control.

In summary, the lack of qualifications required for NFL team ownership remains a fascinating aspect of professional football. The recent firing of coach Mike Vrabel by the Tennessee Titans highlights the challenges that arise when inexperienced owners assume control. The need for open communication, collaboration, and qualified leadership is essential for long-term success in the NFL. Until changes are implemented, fans will continue to witness the impact of family dynamics on their beloved teams.