While I wish Lovie would have stayed on as coach for the Packers sake, canning him was the right move. There are certain coaches who will NEVER win the big game. Lovie is one of them. Why?
Lovie has that “un-it” factor. Some coaches have the “it” factor – and these coaches win big games. They embrace the big moments. The “it” coaches should be fairly obvious: Sean Payton, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin, Mike Holmgren, Mike McCarthy (at times at least) – along with aspiring it guys like Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Mike Smith and 2 of his NFC South counterparts Greg Schiano and Ron Rivera. (Yes, I think the NFC South will become the dominant division in the next year or two). But many more coaches have the “un-it” factor. These are the people who stand on the sidelines at big moments in big games, like a deer in headlights. It is fairly easy to distinguish these guys simply by watching their faces on the sidelines. Who are the un-it coaches? Mike Sherman (classic), Bret Bielama (trust me on this…Arkansas will never with the big game), Jason Garrett, Marty Shottenhiemer, Norv Turner, Jim Schwartz, Lovie Smith, Brad Childress, Joe Vitt, Wade Phillips, Romeo Crennel. You know exactly what I’m talking about here. These guys are overwhelmed by the moment. Now, they are not necessarily stupid – in fact they may be really good at certain facets of their jobs – but they just aren’t going to lead well when it really counts and this lack of it-ness will directly rub off on the team. They will NEVER win the big game and as an organization, you are better off dumping them as soon as you realize this.
Incidentally, it is rare that an un-it person develops into an “it” person (because it’s almost an innate quality), though this can happen. I’m curious about Gary Kubiak – I’ve thought of him as an “un-it-er” for a long time but I’m wondering a bit if he’s coming around. Probably not. One interesting case study is Andy Reid, a guy who at one time seemed destined for full it-ness only to fall off badly to become fully un-it.
Incidentally II, there are also “it” and “un-it” players. Mark Sanchez comes to mind first when I think of un-it players. He is awful. Rex Ryan has tried to force it-ness on Sanchez when he just doesn’t have it. Awful. Aaron Rodgers, both Mannings, Brady all come to mind when I think of “it” QBs. RGIII, Luck And Russell Wilson are 3 rookies who have serious “it” potential. In fact, it was thoughts about the “it” factor that led me to post this spring that I wouldn’t be surprised if Russell Wilson ended up starting and being a good NFL QB.