March 25, 2002
No Crying in Football, Part Deux
By Dave Sabo
Here we go again.
About a year ago, Buffalo Bills GM Tom Donahoe threw a temper tantrum saying that it was unfair for the Texans to hire a head coach when they wouldn’t be playing for another two years and other teams still had head coaching vacancies. The Texans had just hired Dom Capers and Donahoe was in a snit because Capers up and cancelled his scheduled visit with Buffalo.
Now it appears that Tommy Boy is pushing to make his whimpering about the Texans an annual event.
Earlier this week, Donahoe whined to the Houston Chronicle that it was unfair that Houston was taking advantage of other teams’ fiscal irresponsibility. This not only allowed the NFL’s newest team to stock their roster with some proven talent, but also allowed cap strapped teams to relieve themselves of a good amount of their financial burden.
But there’s a twist to this latest round of puling: Donahoe is not alone. No, sir. He has recent recipient of the NFL’s “Executive of the Year” Award, Steelers president Dan Rooney, wailing away right beside him. Now, Donahoe is a well-known ignoramus and crybaby. But I expect more, a lot more, from Dan Rooney.
It’s fairly simple to understand where Donahoe is coming from. He’s still pouting about the Capers situation. He dragged his feet on making a decision and got burned. Throw in the utter debacle his eventual head coaching hire, former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, turned out to be and it’s no wonder that he’s looking to draw attention away from the mess that is the Buffalo Bills. I also have to believe that he’s still holding a grudge with the Texans’ organization for hiring Casserly as their GM rather than himself.
Donahoe doesn’t bother me so much. It’s pathetic, really. But can you blame him? He’s botched the whole enchilada up there. Last year, he had to make a choice between Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson. A year later, both QB’s are gone and he’s looking at having to go with Alex Van Pelt to “lead” a 3-13 shambles. It takes effort to screw up that badly.
If you think about it, the only logical reason for his crying is that he and the Bills don’t benefit from the situation. It was imperative that they hang on to what little high-priced “talent” they have. The Texans’ selection of WR Avion Black did virtually nothing to help them with the cap and Houston stayed away from their over-priced veterans.
On the other hand, I was kind of irked with Rooney. As I said earlier, I expect more. I’ve always had a good deal of respect for the Rooney family. Oh, I hated them, but I respected them because they’ve been a class organization. Until now, anyway. This whole outburst is beneath, or rather should be, beneath the Rooneys. I guess a lot of things have changed since the old man passed away.
After thinking about it, however, I know what’s up with Dan. He’s jealous, plain and simple. He’s insanely jealous. He’s looking at all the cap room the Texans have and it’s just killing him. Remember this is the president of a team that, year-in and year-out watches two or three Pro Bowlers hit the road because he can’t pay them. Meanwhile, every agent in the League is using the Texans and their bankroll as leverage. Notice how none of these opinions came out until Houston made their offer to Rooney’s kicker, Kris Brown?
Just look for the real message behind the quotes and it’s obvious. Here are a few examples from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
What he said: “I’m not saying they’re doing anything that’s illegal, but they are taking advantage of people who they think have cap problems, which they (the Texans) don’t have.”
What he meant: “They’re getting quality talent that the rest of us can’t afford.”
What he said: “They’re trying to maneuver in there to take restricted players. There again, they have the right to do it, but it’s a problem the way they’re doing it, what they’re
putting into contracts.”
What he meant: “Dammit! They figured out a way to minimize the cap hit for a pretty solid kicker (outside Heinz stadium) while preventing us from matching their offer. Now,
I’m gonna be stuck with someone who’ll suck worse at home and all I get is a 7th round pick to show for it.”
What he said: “We predicted exactly what we’re talking about (when the Jaguars and Carolina Panthers entered the league in 1995), that they would have a special position because they don’t have any players. Therefore, they have almost and unlimited cap.”
What he meant: “We screwed ourselves for $750 million. We knew this was coming but we got greedy. And then McNair almost talked us into an even BETTER deal! Next time (yeah! right!), we each pick one player and the expansion team HAS to take him!
You can do the same thing with Donahoe’s quote, too.
What he said: “They’ve done it within the rules, but I don’t think it’s fair that some teams abused the salary cap, and they were able to eliminate their cap problems the way they
What he meant: “Man, why didn’t they take Rob Johnson in the expansion draft?”
What it all comes down to is that the Texans must be doing something right if respected front office people, not to mention Tom Donahoe, are complaining about a team building it’s roster completely within the rules established by those same respected front office people.
I can only hope that their efforts on the field result in the same complaints.
Once again, Dave Sabo made every effort to let Donahoe and Rooney tell their side of the story. Calls to both offices went unreturned. Crybabies AND cowards, the both of ’em! Dan Rooney Return to Houston Pro Football If you have a question, comment or suggestion, contact Dave Catch up on past installments of The Armchair Quarterback