Howie Roseman may feel like the winner on this 2015 New Year’s day because Chip Kelly’s BFF Tom Gamble was kicked to the curb, but he is destined to lose just like Joe Banner did. Push Kelly again and Lurie will fire you too. Trust funders don’t like to have egg on their faces
By Theodore N. Beitchman
If the psychodrama being played out in the Eagles front office seems eerily reminiscent of one that took place three years ago, you have a good memory.
In that one, pencil-necked geek Joe Banner did battle with fat boy football coach Andy Reid for control of the franchise. Banner lost and got fired.
In this one, pencil-necked geek Howie Roseman is pushing coach Chip Kelly’s buttons, and evidently persuaded owner Jeff Lurie to fire Kelly BFF Tom Gamble.
Roseman may feel like the winner on this 2015 New Year’s day, but he is destined to lose just like Banner did. And remember, Banner and Lurie were chums from childhood.
The facts as stated above are not in dispute.
But the details of the how and why are difficult to discern because most NFL teams — and especially the Eagles — are run like the old Soviet Union:
No public statements; no denials; nothing to explain because it is no one’s business; no regrets; only reprisals.
And, like the old Soviet Union, the premier, if you will — Stalin in those days, Jeffrey Lurie today — owes nothing to anyone. He plays employees and fans as if they were pawns, and he moves the pieces around at his will.
Lurie is a not an atypical NFL owner. Born to wealth like the Maras of the Giants and Woody Johnson of the Jets, he was looking to buy an NFL franchise 20 years ago and struck out on his hometown Patriots, settling for the Eagles at $185 million.
Prior to moving here, he made a movie or two that barely made a ripple, having been drawn into the business because his grandfather founded General Cinema.
Lurie, in other words, had never done anything on his own in his life, and had no skills as an executive or a manager.
And 20 years later he still has none.
With rare exception, the owner of an NFL team cannot lose money.
Because of pro football’s immense popularity, which is growing faster than the national debt, and Pete Rozelle’s genius to share the TV wealth — in 2014 the average take for each of the 32 teams was $187 million, and that is only growing — it is virtually impossible to lose money as an owner.
The exception, of course, was Leonard Tose, who owned the Birds from 1969 through 1985 and pissed his money away in Atlantic City and through his excessive spending.
As one of the 32 potentates who own NFL franchises, Lurie rarely speaks. He usually has nothing of import to say anyway, but when he felt compelled to announced last Sunday that Roseman would be back as Eagles GM you knew something was up.
Jeff McLane of the Inquirer is the best Kremlinologist on the Eagles beat, and he reported today that, “Gamble was collateral damage in the power struggle between Kelly and Roseman that the general manager apparently has won for the time being. Their relationship had been strained since almost the start of Kelly’s tenure as head coach but had become acrimonious over the last year, according to several sources within the Eagles and around the NFL.
“It’s unclear whether Roseman would have been driven to the point of leaving, but the 39-year-old GM had conversations about the New York Jets’ vacancy, according to two NFL sources.
“The Jets didn’t put in a formal interview request, but it is believed that Roseman or his agent, Bob LaMonte, had informal talks with either consultant Charlie Casserly or owner Woody Johnson. The Jets’ level of interest was unknown.”
I can tell you what the Jets’ level of interest in a trumped up fantasy football boy like Roseman is:
They just fired a true football man, John Idzik, who had terrible judgment and made too many mistakes.
Roseman undoubtedly used the Jets ploy to get leverage with Lurie.
My advice to Howie Boy is:
Don’t try that one again.
Lurie doesn’t know anything more than you about evaluating NFL talent, and when your push comes to Kelly’s shove, you will be fired.
Just like Joe Banner was.
Lurie hired Kelly from Oregon, and he undoubtedly held out for full control. If Kelly feels that he is losing in the boardroom to a numbers guy like you he will leave, and then Lurie will have egg on his face.
Trust funders don’t like having egg on their faces.