It's now official, Mike Mularkey is the new head football coach and Jon Robinson the new general manager of the Tennessee Titans. Both were introduced to the media and Nashville at a Monday afternoon press conference at the team's St. Thomas Sports Park home.
Team president Steve Underwood once again represented the Titans as controling owner Amy Adams-Strunk was not in attendance at the introduction.
Underwood opened by thanking the media and others for attending before sharing his thoughts on both gentlemen seated at the table with him.
"I want to thank all of you for coming today. This is an important day in the history of our franchise and we are very glad to have all of you with us. Before we begin, I would like to make just a few comments about our process. First, I would like to thank Vin Marino, our Vice President of Football Administration, for holding the reins while we didn’t have a general manager. I have known Vin for over 20 years. He just does a great job for us and we are very glad to have him here and appreciate what he did for us on an interim basis," said Underrwood.. "I want to introduce our new general manager Jon Robinson who is to my far left. All of you know our new head coach Mike Mularkey."
"We are so grateful to have them and their families here with us today. And I also want to thank all of the rest of our staff. You know there is a lot that goes on when you are conducting searches and interviews. They did a lot of extra work and we are very grateful for all of their help. I think for me maybe the most critical thing about today is that we conducted 10 kind of far-ranging, lengthy interviews with our candidates for both jobs and our controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and Kenneth Adams, two of our owners, together were here for every word and every questions of every interview," added Underwood. "That is so important that our general manager and head coach were selected by that process by our controlling owner and in that way finding the very best fits for our organization and where our club is now. Jon Robinson is the product of the most extensive search for a general manager in our club’s history. We are so impressed with Jon’s experience, his vision and his focus on restoring our franchise to greatness. We are persuaded fully that he will work with our staff and our coaches to restore our franchise on and off the field and Amy believes that his talents and attitude are just what we need at this moment in time. I want to give Jon the opportunity to introduce himself to all of you and make a few opening remarks."
Underwood lamented the fact that the Titans conductyed ten "far ranging, lengthy interviews with our candidates for both jobs," during the last two weeks. Whenasked further about the interview process, Underwood added that six of those interviews were with potential general manager candidates while only four were with head coaching candidates, two of which were internal candidates who were already under contract with the team.
Since Saturday night Titans fans have been ablaze on social media over the Mularkey hiring and the events of today's press conference did nothing to slow the burn going on in the fanbase as a whole.
Throughout the press conference as media members tweeted quotes from those seated at the table, fans responded quickly with snark and sarcasm concerning Mularkey and the questionable process surrounding his selection as the team's head coach. Some comments were supportive, but most expressed displeasure with the entire situation.
All the while Adams-Strunk was somewhere else while Underwood danced to the music.
Yes he is paid handsomely for his service, which includeds dancing when she says dance, but considering these were her hires and according to Underwood, her decision to hire Mularkey becuas e of her confort level with him that has raised the ire of Titans fans.
Still it was Underwood left to deliver the message while Adams-Strunk was not even in the building.
I know it is a broken record to ask that the actual owners stand up and speak to the media, but still it was an opportunity for the controlling owner to speak to the very fans that she is asking to support an unpoular coach while holding out her hand as she and the team ask for people to purchase ticket to see the product that she is putting on the football field.
It was the perfect time for her to have stood up, made a short statement on the hirings and then excuse herself if she was truly unconfortable in front of the media and cameras. Her discomfort for a few moments would have gone a long way to soothing the ruffled feathers of Titans fans. She failed to do even that for those who cheer for, and pay to watch her team.
I've heard the counter arguments that say that other owners do not play a major role in being an out front spokesperson for their franchise, and that is correct. However, it is usual operating procedure for them to speak when they purchase/assume control of the team. Like it or not, and perhaps not of her own choosing, Adams-Strunk is now in charge of an NFL franchise and responsible for all that goes with it, including at least one media appearance to help try to sell her product.
Fans will continue to rail against Mularkey until the time comes when he wins games and they are forced to admit he was the right choice, or until the time when he fails and they can say "I told you so," until the next head coach is named.
It was a tough sell going in for Underwood, and while he tried, very few fans even bothered to kick the tires before refusing to buy the latest version of a Titans head coach.
For his sake, Underwood is behind Mularkey, if for nothing else other than to avoid sitting through a similar situation again this time next year.