FanPost

Goodbye Zimmer, Goodbye Spielman -- The ShockN Awe Perspective


As some of you may be familiar, I wrote a post a couple weeks back titled "Mike Zimmer is a Great Coach." A few hilariously thought I did that ironically or, even more amusingly, thought I wrote the post to taunt those who wanted Zimmer fired. They took my compliments towards Zimmer and the facts I pointed out as insults towards themselves. (I did insult talking heads -- media with a platform -- who targeted Zimmer with unfair comments but no one on this site is a "talking head")

What is my perspective now? After all, Zimmer has been fired.

Nothing has changed. Firing Zimmer does not alter his coaching ability. It is not an accurate reflection of his coaching. This should be self-evident but, if you need evidence, then look at Bill Belichick who was, indeed, fired as a Head Coach.

I did not make the post as an assertion that Zimmer would not be fired. By then I was pretty sure he would be. I made it as an assertion of exactly what the title stated. I made it out of respect for Zimmer, not to disrespect others. I am a loyal person but I am not blindly loyal. Zimmer deserved my loyalty. He took over an utter crap-pile and he did great things.

A quick recap of Zimmer's tenure. It lasted 8 years.

2 years he lost his #1 player early (Adrian Peterson), dooming the seasons.

1 year the offensive line coach died before training camp and could not be adequately replaced, dooming the season.

2 years he lost the starting QB for more or less all year. (Bridgewater and Bradford) How many teams win the super bowl with a back-up QB? Only one, the Dolphins of 1972. Remove the starting QB from a team at the start of the season and, essentially, the season is over. (For instance, do you think the Buccaneers would have won the Super Bowl last year without Tom Brady? Do you think the Packers would still be the #1 seed this year if Aaron Rodgers had retired instead of deciding to become Covid Rodgers?)

2 years he lost the #1 defensive player -- arguably the #1 overall player -- for all (2020) or most (2021) of the year. Danielle Hunter.

That is 7 years of "season over" though a couple of those do overlap. He only had 2 or 3 years with a legit shot at anything. In those years he always had a winning record. In fact, one year, with a back-up QB, he got us all the way to the NFC championship game! Truly amazing!

The final game of the 2021 season was an appropriate end for the Zimmer tenure. It was yet another win.

Zimmer had a winning record. Zimmer was a winner.

Don't lose track of that. We had a winning HC and a winning GM. Ownership fired winners.

The vast majority of head coaches are losers. More than 80% of head coaches are failures if you use the metric that they lose more than they win.

Think about that. Think.

There is no reason to think the Wilfs have a magic wand or some special ability beyond that of other owners out there. All coaching hires, and GM hires, come from winning programs and seem like winners. And then more than 80% of them fail. We have no reason to assume or give credit to the Wilfs that they will be superior to the field.

So, simple math: Odds are greater than 80% that the terminations of Zimmer and Spielman will damage the Vikings and lead to more losses, probably many more, and less winning, likely much less winning. That's just... math.

I know the superstitious mumbo-jumbo argument out there that if Zimmer hasn't won a Super Bowl yet so he never will and that he's had 8 years to win the Super Bowl. As covered earlier, he's had more like 2 or maybe, at most, 3 years where he even had a fair chance among the crowd of competitors for the Super Bowl. The argument that he never will because he never has could be used on every Super Bowl winning coach right up until they did it. It is the same argument Philly fans made about Andy Reid who had 14 years in Philly without winning a Super Bowl -- 6 more than Zimmer! Then Reid had 7 more seasons in KC before he won a Super Bowl. Yet all these people who desperately wanted Zimmer gone for not winning a Super Bowl yet would pass out from euphoria if they got Andy Reid as the new Vikings head coach.

Saying Zimmer would not win a Super Bowl had he stayed because he had not yet won a Super Bowl is as nonsensical as saying you've never died yet therefore you will never die and will live forever.

In the big picture of the HC and GM and winning Super Bowls, there are three necessary elements. The HC needs to be great. Remember, the 32 coaches of the NFL teams are, at the current best guess, the 32 most qualified best people to head coach an NFL team on this planet of 7.9 billion people. They need to be in the top among those 32 as does the GM.

A couple years ago Spielman was ranked as one of the top GMs in the NFL. You'll see, he'll get a new GM position quickly and do very well again.

A couple years ago the great Bill Belichick was asked about who were the best coaches in the NFL. He did list Andy Reid and he also listed Mike Zimmer. Takes one to know one.

What is the third element? (I sound like a prequel to that Bruce Willis movie "The Fifth Element")

Luck. Few injuries, great lucky timing of when you face teams, weather, bounces of the ball, referee calls. Uncontrollable great luck.

Name a year when Zimmer and the team had consistently great luck. Hint: there were no such years. Don't bring up the Keenum 13-3 year when we went to the NFC championship. It is not great luck to lose your starting QB two weeks into the season.

Without great luck, even the best GMs and HCs will not win a Super Bowl. As proof, that is why Belichick and Reid do not win a Super Bowl every year.

It is like surfing. Do you like to surf? Yeah, me neither. But, it is similar.

The GM supplies the best quality of the surfboard and the highest quality suit the surfer wears. Spielman did that.

The HC gets the surfer in the right spot for catching a perfect wave if there is a perfect wave and gets the surfer prepared with the correct technique and training. Zimmer did that.

Then... the perfect wave (luck) never showed up.

I'd like to make another point. I am all for GM accountability. All for it. However, it is not wise to link the GM to an individual coach. Remember, more than 80% of head coaches fail as per won/loss. If you say it takes a Super Bowl win or they are a failure, well, one HC per year wins the Super Bowl and 8 or so head coaches per year are fired. The best of GMs, on an HC hire, maybe have a 30% hit rate. Maybe.

I would not say it is fair to say that Spielman's hire of Mike Zimmer was a poor hire. He was highly recommended and, again, I remind you, he was a winning coach once hired. I also would not say it is fair to say Spielman did not supply talent. He kept the good players (Hunter, Kendricks, Diggs, Harrison Smith x 2, Thielen, Rhodes, Dalvin Cook, etc.) , he acquired good players (Linval Joseph, Tomlinson, Peterson, Woods, Pierce, etc.), he drafted fantastic (Hunter, Kendricks, Diggs, Jefferson, O'Neill, Harrison Smith, Cleveland, Cook, Irv Smith, Dantzler, Osborn, Mattison, Wonnum, etc. etc. etc.), and he made great trades (got a lot for Diggs, Percy Harvin, picked up guys like Mason Cole).

Spielman will be missed by me. I am literally hoping his replacement is as good because I don't think hoping for better is realistic.

Usually ownership will say a head coach was given all the tools to be successful -- by the GM -- and was not and so the head coach should be fired and the GM retained. Or that the HC was not given the tools to be successful and so the GM should be fired but not the HC. But firing Zimmer and Spielman is saying they were both bad at their jobs and needed to be fired... despite the team having a winning record during their tenure together and despite all the unusual bad luck and adversity outside their control...!

It was funny, before Black Monday, I saw an article saying if Zimmer was fired that the Vikings would be the 2nd best head coaching position available. Once Zimmer was fired? NFL.com said the Vikings were the second worst position to go be a head coach! Of course, NFL.com was also the one listing Cousins as an average QB all year. Only once did they put him barely in the Top 10... when they felt they had to because he was ranked #2 in QB rating!

Like everyone, I am excited about the future. Surprised? I think Zimmer and Spielman were done wrong, no mistake, and I think firing them was an error. But, yes, there is something about the excitement of possibilities and a new regime and all that. I sure hope the Wilfs don't mess it up. Remember, the Wilfs put Spielmen into his position and approved the hiring of Zimmer and approved all the free agent moves. It is just that owners can't fire themselves and, if they could, they still wouldn't.

They made these terminations thinking it will improve the Vikings. OK, we will see. We were 8-9 this year with plenty of bad luck -- missed FG end of regulation, 3 games outright stolen by the refs, missing our best player most of the year. If we have that same level of bad luck next year (2022, so sort of this year) then the Vikings need to go 9-8 or better to justify the terminations of Zimmer and Spielman. If we do not have such bad luck then the Vikings need to go 12-5 or 13-4 to justify these moves.

In the bigger picture, Zimmer was a winning coach whose high-water mark in 8 years was getting the team, with a back-up QB, to the NFC championship game. The new HC and GM need, in the next 8 years, to get the Vikings to the NFC championship game with a back-up QB to make the decision a push. To make it a winning set of terminations? They need the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl with a back-up QB or to win the Super Bowl with a starting QB.

That is the only way to validate the terminations of Zimmer and Spielman. Only the above or better will prove it was a wise move.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.