Ken Whisenhunt's termination as head football coach of the Tennessee Titans brought widespread joy to fans on social media on Tuesday as the news began to spread that Titans ownership had listened to fans cries for a change in the leadership of the team on the field.
Now that the move has been made one can easily look bak over the last year plus of WHisenhunt's tenure in Nashville and see some smal, yet telling signs of what we saw play out on Tuesday.
Let me start by saying that I have no personal axe to grind with Whisenhunt. He was always polite to me personally. He could be turse at times and at times, even seeming argumentative of combative to members of the media who asked questions that he might have found inapproriate of that did not place him in the most favorable light. Regardless of those things, I write this in a reflective manner and not in a disgruntled media fashion. I take no pleasure in seeing a man lose his job- though he is being paid well to not coach this team- and being fired is a tough thing to deal with on a personal level.
That said, when we look back at his time in Nashville, there were little things that Whisenhunt did that showed perhaps he was more worried about outside issues that necessary.
Take for instance the changes he prompted in regard to the media.
Upon his arrival Whisenhunt immediately changed the security doors on the media work room and the outside fence surrounding the practice fields. In the past media members had a key card that allowed for access into the designated media areas. Not anymore. You must now be buzzed into the media work room. Anytime you leave the work room to visit the restrooms which are in the lobby of St. Thomas Sports park, you must be buzzed back in to return to work. This in itself is no big deal, it's not even an inconvieninece in the grand scheme of life.
Whisenhunt also changed how the media is fed during training camp. No he did not cut out our meals, so I'm not writing this in anger over lasagna, but now the media are no longer allowed inside the cafeteria to eat. Instead the cooks must now deliver the food to the media work room via cart. Ok, that too is not so bad, now we don't have to walk across the building for our daily meal.
However, Whisenhunt also disallowed the grounds crew and support staff from entering the cafeteria too. The cooks now must truck their meals outside to the shed on the same cart that the media food is delivered on. These guys are emplyees of the Titans and work as hard as anyone to make sure that the field and equipment are ready for the coaches and players to use.
Even if you do not want the players to have to deal with the media inside the cafeteria, whats wrong with the supprot staff eating with them?
I bet Whisenhunt didn't keep Ruston Webster and Steve Underwood from rubbing elbows in the cafeteria with the players, so why not the hardest working people in the organization.
There were other issues as well, some of which I will not go into because frankly, I don't want to seem like I'm piling on. As I said, Whisenhunt was always polite to me personally, but these little changes spoke volumes about him personally.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that Whisenhunt has an ego. In fact most people who have spent any amount of time around him would agree and say that it is a sizeable ego. There's nothing wrong with that, if you win games.
At the same time, when you are worried about the dinning arraingements in the cafeteria that you keep team employees out, perhaps you are being a bit to controlling. Perhaps the time wasted on those trvialities would have been better served by coaching the players, working on schemes and watching opponents film.
Of course we could go into great detail on some of the gmae management and play calls that every armchair quarterback- myself included- want to complain about on gameday. Those obviously played a roll i his downfall, but it was the little things that as I look back and reflect on his tenure that make me realize the micro-management issues that preceeded his arrogant end in Nashville.