Bernie Kosar and Jeff Fisher

Bernie KosarJeff FisherIt seems to be a week for media personalities butting heads with sports personalities here in St. Louis. I’ve been writing about the Jack Clark/Albert Pujols situation but now we have the Bernie Kosar/Jeff Fisher brouhaha.

Fisher is the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and Kosar is the color commentator for the Cleveland Browns. The two teams played a preseason game this year and Kosar made some comments during the game that apparently caught the attention of Fisher.

Kosar was a standout football player for the University of Miami and then the Browns. Fisher is a well-respected and moderately successful NFL coach. Both men should do their job with professionalism, as should we all.

Kosar’s criticism of the Rams play in the game centered on two things; the receivers dropping well-thrown balls and the third-string quarterback, Kellen Clemens. I didn’t hear the broadcast so I can only go by the quotes I’m reading.

Apparently Rams receivers dropped a number of passes and Kosar said that their mothers would be embarrassed. He also made a comment about the receiver coach. That doesn’t seem to be what drew the ire of Fisher as much as what happened next.

Apparently Kosar has a bad history with Clemens. Before Clemens came into the game Kosar said that he, Kosar, was essentially being punished because he didn’t like Clemens. It’s not really clear what he was trying to say because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is clear he doesn’t like Clemens personally. He took a couple of more shots at the quarterback, that had nothing to do with his play on the field, saying he wouldn’t want his autograph and that Kosar needed divine intervention because he had to watch Clemens for the fourth quarter of the game.

It doesn’t help that Kosar is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy which make his speech patterns slurred as if drunk.

Still, I have to question Kosar’s professionalism in letting his personal feelings interfere with his work. He said nasty things about Clemens not only before he was in the game but admitted that the problems were personal in nature. That’s extremely unprofessional.

At my job I do web development work and we do this for a number of clients. One of these is a Christian organization. I’m an atheist. I would never let that influence me in doing my job properly, in helping make the best website possible without any cost overruns. Nor would I publicly criticize the people I’ve met from that organization. I actually like them! They are quite nice and I’ve really enjoyed working on their site.

When we let our personal feelings for a person or an organization prevent us from doing our job fairly, as best we can, then we are unprofessional. It is a reflection on us, on me.

But, back to the situation at hand. A number of people are saying that Fisher should just ignore Kosar. I disagree, when someone is unprofessional they should be called out as such. Otherwise how will they know? I don’t think Fisher will dwell on this and it will go away rather quickly; but I think he is right to lose respect for Kosar. I certainly did. As a head coach it’s part of Fisher’s professional responsibility to stand up for his players. All coaches who care for their players, and all the good ones do, would do the same.

Fisher went out of his way to mention that he has great respect for the Browns’ organization but had a problem with the way Kosar went about doing his job.

Finally as to the Browns themselves. I feel for Kosar, he’s suffering from a terrible brain problem caused by sacrificing his body for the Browns. I can totally understand how they want to employ Kosar. It just seems a little odd to me that you would employ a man who has a difficult time communicating as a commentator. Apparently he is extremely intelligent and knows football very well but has trouble speaking, stringing together coherent sentences.

Maybe we’ll see some good out of this. Kosar will try to be more professional, Fisher and he will make up and that will be that. We can only hope!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook, and it’s good!)
Upcoming Release: The Spear of the Hunt

How to Succeed

St. Louis RamsToday I drift into the world of sports and the St. Louis Rams football team. It’s been a tough slog for the Rams since they won the Super Bowl and spent time as an elite team in the NFL in the first part of the 21st Century. We’ve gone through three coaches and many, many losses since then. The Rams play their first preseason game later today and their new head coach, Jeff Fisher had a quote in the morning paper that really resonated with me.

What you want to do through the preseason is not give up a lot of points, keep the penalties down, … protect the football, block and tackle and execute, and let the score take care of itself.

Now, a good quote does not a season make, but I’ve been hearing from everyone how confident and composed is Fisher and that snippet really seems to confirm everything I’ve heard. That quote is one to follow if you want to succeed in life. The basic idea is that if you do all the small things correctly you will reach your goal.

One of the things that’s important to do in life is set goals for yourself. That is a good thing. But the thing you can’t do is set goals for yourself without looking at all the steps necessary to complete the goal. The space program is an excellent example of this sort of thing. A manned trip to Mars is something that has long been on the minds of men with Wernher von Braun proposing such a trip in the 1950s.

In January of 2004 President George W. Bush proposed the Vision for Space Exploration which focused largely on a manned mission to Mars. Great, it is good to set goals, now, what are the concrete steps needed to make this happen? The Bush administration didn’t lay it out, they didn’t fund it, they didn’t even have real technology, and most importantly they didn’t understand the fundamental little things that needed to be done to achieve success. Much of the program failed at the cost of a lot of tax payer dollars. This is not the strategy to take to achieve success. Fisher’s strategy is far stronger.

State high lofted goals, Fisher has stated more than once the goal of his season is to win the championship. All coaches say that. He drafted and signed players towards that end. Again, every coach in the league does that. But, that one quote, that I’m not worried about the score or even winning the game, I just want the players to play properly is very encouraging. We need to have that attitude about life, about everything we do. It’s good to have goals but understand the steps necessary to achieve those goals. In this case; tackle, avoid penalties, avoid turnovers, and make blocks.

Apply that thinking to your own life and I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Go Rams!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
New Release: The Hammer of Fire