Admittedly, trading for Randy Moss was a mistake. The way he’s almost taken a back seat to Brett Favre has been a mistake. But that should not erase what has been a successful stint thus far as the Minnesota Vikings head coach for Brad Childress.
Childress inherited a Mike Tice-led 9-7 team when he became the head coach in 2006. From there, the team started ’06 at 4-2, but bombed the rest of the season and wound up 6-10. However, all wasn’t lost since the pick resulting in such a failed second half of the season resulted in Adrian Peterson in 2007.
Talk about making the best of a bad situation.
In 2007, the team went 8-8 and just barely missed the playoffs. The following season in 2008, Childress led the Vikings back to the playoffs, but lost to his former head coach Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 2009, Childress pulled out all the stops. He signed Favre and, with Favre at the helm, the Vikings went 12-4 and made it to the NFC Championship. Of course, had the officials not been totally blind that day — and if the team could have held onto the ball — the Vikings would have been in the Super Bowl and would have had a very good shot at beating the Indianapolis Colts as the New Orleans Saints did.
So why exactly would a guy who has improved his team’s win total by two games every year for his first four seasons as the head coach be taking so much heat after one bad half of a season?
It hasn’t been pretty, but it also hasn’t been all the fault of Childress. And even if it were, it certainly doesn’t constitute firing him or all the talk of what a terrible coach he is. Clearly he must have been doing something right for his teams to steadily improve the way they had been doing.
Eventually, the improvement was going to stop. We all knew that. It has been a rather ugly meltdown, but it still shouldn’t erase what he’s done to build the team thus far.
For instance, take a look at some of the guys he’s drafted: Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, Ray Edwards, Peterson (as we’ve already mentioned), Sidney Rice, Tyrell Johnson, John Sullivan, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt, Asher Allen, Jasper Brinkley, and then there’s a guy like Tarvaris Jackson who has looked like the real deal at times and rookies like Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart who have unlimited potential.
The man can obviously recognize talent. He’s built talented teams. I’m having a tough time wrapping my mind around why so many are willing to turn on him so quickly.
What is the alternative? Leslie Frazier? Sure, he looks like a guy who could one day turn into a head coach, but do Vikings fans really want to see their team turned over to a rookie head coach or stick with the guy who’s currently five games over .500 for his career after taking over a medicore team and has two division titles and a championship game appearance under his belt?
From where I’m sitting, the choice is simple. I’m not denying that 2010 has been a complete and total disaster but all coaches have those years. To stick with a guy near and dear to Childress’ heart, Andy Reid had a disaster season in 2005 when everything completely fell apart at the seems and he went 6-10.
It’s Philly, so everyone was calling for his head, but I don’t think it was even as bad for Reid then as it is for Childress now.
Cutting Moss was the only thing to do. He admitted he made a mistake cut out a locker room cancer. Percy Harvin can bitch and moan all he wants, but the bottom line is that Moss is no good in a locker room. That was never more evident than when it came out that 31 teams passed on him when he hit the waiver wire.
He clearly has Hall of Fame talent, so that has to speak to the lack of character Moss possesses.
No one is denying Childress is having a bad season on and (somewhat) off the field, but firing him — based on his track record — is not warranted or wise.