OT: Why Whisenhunt turned down the Lions (rumor)

Submitted by mGrowOld on January 15th, 2014 at 11:52 AM

I was listening to Evan & Phillips on MadDog radio this morning and they spent quite a bit of time discussing the Lions coaching situation.  Notwithstanding their claim that the people happiest with the Caldwell hire were Packers, Bears & Viking fans I found the reasons they gave on why Whisenhunt turned down the Lions interesting.

According to them, they have heard from two independent sources that Whisenhunt did not join the Lions for two reasons:

1. The Titans offered him 1MM more per year

2. The Lions had Stafford sit in on the interview which made him VERY uncomfortable

I don't know which one is worse (if true).  That the Lions low-balled their #1 choice and didn't leave the door open for further negotiation or that they decided to let a player have a say in the selection of the coach.  I'm sure behind the scenes that input goes on everywhere but to be brazen enough to have the QB sit in on the interview (allegedly) would send a very powerful message to the HC candidate on who is working at the pleasure of who.  And Whisenhunt (allegedly) was not comfortable at all with a structure that had him, in essence, reporting to one of his players.



January 15th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

Tom Brady has had less talent around him than Peyton every year he's been in the league save one, and he went 16-0 followed by a trip to the Super Bowl.  Peyton is a great QB, no doubt about it, but he's no TB.  Take one look at their postseason careers and it's not even close.  


January 16th, 2014 at 12:42 AM ^

Tom Brady went down for a season and the Patriots went 11-5. 

Peyton Manning went down for a season and the Colts went 2-14. 

The fact that the Patriots have one of the greatest football coaches of all time at the helm has played a major role in Tom Brady's success especially in the postseason. I'd definitely take Brady's track record over Manning's, but that doesn't necessarily make him a better QB. It's definitely a lot closer than you make it sound. 


January 15th, 2014 at 1:33 PM ^

  1. I really don't care about the Lions
  2. I really don't care how he is as an OC if he can bring in a talented one underneath him.
  3. The biggest thing that teams needs is a disciplinarian. If he wrangles that team in and keeps them from taking themselves out of games, it will only matter half as much how good the OC is as it did when Schwartz was here.


January 15th, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

And guess last year's team that led the league in personal foul penalties? The team who was the most out of control and thuggish, in dire need of discipline? Another hint, they had nearly DOUBLE the amount of personal fouls as the second place team in that category.


If your guess was the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, you are correct!


January 15th, 2014 at 4:17 PM ^

penalties. Seattle CB's are trained to hold and interfere on passing plays. They get away with it more often than not.

With the Lion's, their penalties usually negate good plays. To say it in another way, stupid penalties. They need discipline and better coaching and I am not sure Cladwell is the guy. But the Lion's had no other alternatives unless they tried to seek out college coaches.

The NFL is the league that recycles HC's. I have no idea why other than to say the GM's are risk averse. 


January 15th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

everything about the Lions for the past half century reeks of a thoroughly dysfunctional organization. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Stafford rumor is true because it would be stupid as hell and exactly what a reasonable person would never think to do. therefore, Lions!


January 17th, 2014 at 5:30 PM ^

I agree with this.  My first thought when I heard he didn't take the job was that he didn't want that label.  The Lions managment hiring you as head coach basically defines you as sub-par.  After the Lions implode what's left of your career, there is nowhere left to go.


January 15th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

Wasn't it public knowledge that stafford was sitting in? I'm just happy they didn't have suh and megaton at the meetings, the nfls 2 most intimidating players.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

It very could've been public knowledge but I'm in Cleveland and it was news to me (and them apparently).  Either way it was stupid - if I was being recruited to come in and turn around a troubled business and one of the employees was sitting in the interview I would have no misconceptions on who I was really working for.  That would make me extremely uncomfortable too as for all I know - he's the problem and my prospective new boss is making it very clear who is important to him in the organization.

They claimed to have never heard of a player ever actually sitting in on the actual interview itself.  

True Blue Grit

January 15th, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

They've never had strong leadership over the many decades and it shows.  The poor discipline demonstrated by the players and endless line of lackluster coaches are just two symptoms of the disease.  There is NO hope for the Lions until WCF is completely out of the picture and there is a new owner with 100% control who is also a strong leader.  And even then it will probably take a total purge of the front office to wash away the losing mentality that's permeated the organization.  


January 15th, 2014 at 12:10 PM ^

and pretty common practice with many teams. You need 2 things to win in the NFL, a coach and a QB. If you've got one, you want him interviewing the other. Cutler sat in on interviews when the Bears did their coaching search, if the QB and coach aren't on the same page, there's going to be lots of problems.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

I'm not so sure about that.  I assume you're referrring to this article when referencing Cutler:


I did some further research and all I could find was that Cutler met with Trestman independently,sometime after the formal interview was over, not that he was actually in the room when the interview took place.

Think about your own career.  Have you ever interviewed for any job where one of the people you'd be managing sat in on the interview?  I'm 54 and I can honestly say I havent nor have I ever asked an employee to join me when interviewing their potential manager.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

It is fairly common to have employees interview the future boss along with a boat load of other people.  It gives the boss an opportunity to see what s/he'll be working with and gives the employees some buy-in on the hiring process.  Of course the employees are usually just one of several interviews.  If Stafford sat in on the whole thing it would be weird.  The coach should be able to freely say "I would draft a new QB." or whatever.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:55 PM ^

Exactly right.  I may not have made my point clear earlier - it's not uncommon to have potential subordiantes meet a potential boss at some point in the interview process - most companies do in one shape or form.

It would be HIGHLY unusual to have the employee sit in on the formal interview itself.  As you accurately state -- how could the manager speak freely?


January 15th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

I'm the youngest member of my group at work by far and was asked to help interview more experienced candidates, one of whom will most likely be the group manager in the future. It was important to the current managers that I felt that I could work with and potentially for the new hire in the future.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

You have to consider the context of the job and not a "normal" occupation. 

As others have stated the HFC and OB1 have to get along and be on the same page.  I dont imagine Stafford sitting in there asking him about his personal life like a GM may but more of listening to his ideas for the offense.  If the candidate and the QB quickly start going through reads/progressions/uses for other players than as a GM I would say hot damn looks like we got ourselves a winner.  If Whisenhunt was that turned off on the idea, than it looks like the Lions made a good choice.   


January 15th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

While the coach may technically be the QB's boss, how often in "normal" working relationships has a "subordinate" been making 4-5x more money than the boss?

Sports teams invest the most in their players, not the coaches. It's said often in the NBA "Can't fire the players, so fire the coach". When the Lions have committed $100MM to Stafford, whoever they bring in to coach for a few years is going to need to work with that investment


January 15th, 2014 at 1:50 PM ^

"I did some further research and all I could find was that Cutler met with Trestman independently,sometime after the formal interview was over, not that he was actually in the room when the interview took place."


Everything I've seen said Stafford had a "meeting" with Caldwell during the day long interview - not Stafford sitting in on the entire interview.


"Think about your own career.  Have you ever interviewed for any job where one of the people you'd be managing sat in on the interview"


Yes, repeatedly. It is quite common in places which use hiring committees.


Look into the process of choosing a Dean/Chair for an academic department at a university for example.


January 15th, 2014 at 11:58 AM ^

I've heard he was also very concerned with Detroit's cap situation.

Wanted to run a 3-4 defense, to which the Lions said, "No.". 

Wanted a hand in making personnel decisions and the Lions said, "No."

Was more excited about living in Nashville as opposed to Detroit.

Was not exactly excited about the glut of competition in the NFC North.

If I had to guess though, like always, it came down to money.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:03 PM ^

All those reasons make sense too and while not nearly as sensational probably were the real reasons he said no.  That and the 1MM dollar thing.

Hot rumor here in Cleveland has him taking Ray Horton as his D-Coordinator.  But interestingly enough the Browns so far won't release him from his contract.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:00 PM ^

Long time since I've seen someone use the old Roman "MM" for Million. Read it as "MegaMillion" at first.

Having lived in both Detroit and Nashville, I can't blame Wiz too much for choosing the latter.


January 15th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

So, in short, the rumor is that the Lions search process for a head coach left some candidates questioning the competency of the organization?  Color me shocked.