Don't let Heimerdinger leave

Welcome to the real world, Mike Heimerdinger.

A world where people under contract get new bosses all the time, and are forced to stay in their current jobs.

I've had that happen to me a number of times.

That's the way it works.

Anyone who calls Heimerdinger being forced to stay as Jets offensive coordinator a "hostage" situation should back off. There is a journalist being held hostage in Iraq right now by religious fanatics. She is a hostage. Don't cheapen the word by lumping Heimerdinger into that category.

Any newspaper that would depict Heimerdinger as a prisoner behind bars, when he is scheduled to make $2.3 million over the next two years, is making a mountain out of a mole hill in an attempt to sell newspapers.

Most people in this world live below the poverty line. I feel a lot worse for them than Heimerdinger.

Is this an ideal situation? Or course not. Should Heimerdinger be bitter about being passed over for the head-coaching job with the Jets? Of course. Is he more qualified than Eric Mangini to be the Jets' head coach? Probably.

But it just didn't work out that way. Maybe because Heimerdinger was the offensive coordinator for teams the last two years, Tennessee and the Jets, that went a combined 9-23.

While most of that wasn't Dinger's fault, that is the reality -- and it didn't put him on any A-lists this year for head-coaching openings. Mangini was on a Patriots staff that won three of the last four Super Bowls. That is why he was in a position to land the Jets job.

Life isn't fair, Mike. We all know that.

But you are like millions of other people every year in the United States passed over for promotions, who have to continue working at their current jobs. However, most of them aren't scheduled to make $1.1 million in 2006.

Well, you might say – "Hey, the Jets let Herman Edwards out of his contract that had two years left, why can't I go?" True, Edwards shot his way out of Hofstra with some underhanded tactics by his legal agent and representatives in the media.

But like the overused cliche goes, two wrongs don't make a right.

And there is another reason why the Jets were willing to let Edwards go and are keeping you trapped in the building. You are a better football coach than Edwards. You are a valuable commodity, one of the top offensive minds in the game. Edwards is sizzle, you are steak.

The Jets have retained Mike Westhoff as special teams coach, and if they could keep you, two-thirds of their systems will remain intact and they have a much better chance of competing next year. You throw in the brilliant defensive schemes Mangini brings with him from New England, and all of a sudden the Jets don't look like a team that is going to rebuild in 2006.

It would be crazy for the Jets to throw at their players a third new offense in three years. You can't win that way in the NFL.

The four teams in the championship games on Sunday have one thing in common - continuity. They've had the same coaches and systems for quite some time. This is huge in the NFL. You keep throwing new playbooks at people, you are never going to get anywhere,

And to make quarterback Chad Pennington learn another new system once again while rehabbing his shoulder, just like last year, is a big mistake. It's putting too much on his plate.

If the Jets do give into the wishes of the New York Post and let Heimerdinger walk, how about promoting offensive line coach Doug Marrone to coordinator and keeping the current system?

Marrone's very bright, and would likely do a very good job.

But the best plan is to keep Heimerdinger. Even though he's ticked off, it's highly unlikely he would dog it or give a half-baked effort. Then he would really hurt his chances of being a head coach.

There is a lot of speculation that Heimerdinger wants to go to Denver and become the offensive coordinator of the Broncos. He would replace Gary Kubiak, who is slated to become head coach of the Houston Texans once the Broncos' season ends.

But in Denver he won't call the plays. Head coach Mike Shanahan does that. Why would Heimerdinger want to be a figurehead offensive coordinator?

It's understandable, however, why Heimerdinger would have interest in that job. He and Shanahan were college roommates at Eastern Illinois. Heimerdinger also served as wide receivers coach for the Broncos in the late 1990s. On top of that, his son Brian is a wide receiver at nearby Colorado State. Coaching in Denver would allow him to see Brian play.

But it's in the Jets' best interest to keep him in Hempstead, whether he's crazy about the idea or not.

Heimerdinger reportedly said he came to the Jets to work for Edwards, and now that he's gone he should be able to walk.

From what we hear, Jets GM Terry Bradway was more involved in the interviewing and hiring of Heimerdinger than Edwards. Edwards did a lousy job as coach the one year Heimerdinger worked for him, so let's not act like Vince Lombardi just left.

Dinger - you need to honor your contract.

That is the way it works in the real world.

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