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NFL keeps spinning crazily even for those no longer playing

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

While the world spins off in a momentary dither over Antrel Rolle's "guarantee" of a Giants win Sunday, let us not lose sight of the fact that this is still silly season in the NFL, and the other 28 teams have plenty of game left, even if they have no games left.

In St. Louis, Jeff Fisher is the new head coach, at a cool $7 million per year. Fisher will presumably run everything with a football related to it, even if he won't have the title "Dear Leader," and while anyone can see how difficult it will be fixing the Rams, it becomes increasingly bad when you consider that since drafting Torry Holt in 1999, the Rams have put one of 104 draftees in the Pro Bowl.

And EVERYONE ends up in the Pro Bowl.

Frankly, Fisher would probably be better off hiring three or four general managers, because he's going to burn out a couple just trying to get this motor started.

Scott Pioli allegedly has some control issues in Kansas City. (US Presswire)  
Scott Pioli allegedly has some control issues in Kansas City. (US Presswire)  
Across Missouri, the Chiefs apparently have all the general manager they could ever use in Scott Pioli, who according to an exhaustive story in the Kansas City Star actually puts the original "Dear Leader" to shame. Rumors of bugged offices and telephones, hyper-secrecy, massive office turnover, few wins, and Matt Cassel have somehow made the mercurial/too-tightly-wrapped Todd Haley seem downright charming.

Well, OK. We've gone too far there. But the point is, the Chiefs were always a benign little operation that didn't win enough. Now it's a little Kremlin that doesn't win enough. Either way, Missouri's been getting worked over here.

But wait. It gets better. Another rumor from the Rams (where Fisher is going to be a busy lad indeed) has the team interviewing former Raiders head coach and de facto general manager Hue Jackson to be offensive coordinator. Jackson derailed his career by taking control of the Eyepatch And Sword's entire football operation after the death of Al Davis, trading a huge chunk of draft meat for Carson Palmer. And then, when fired by new general manager Reggie McKenzie, said it wasn't him. Well, good luck with your new gig if you get it, Hue, and remember, nobody believes Amy Trask made the Palmer trade, OK, so try another one.

And one more Rams thing (my, aren't they busy?) -- the apparent hiring of Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as their own new DC, which wouldn't be that big a deal except that the 49ers credited the Saints with showing them their entire blitz package in an exhibition game, thus making it easier for offensive coordinator Greg Roman to scheme for it before last Saturday's game. This would never happen if Scott Pioli ran the Rams.

Which brings us to the apparent retirement of Mike Martz, the former Rams coach who gave us The Greatest Show On Earth, offensive coordinator without portfolio and professional own impersonator, who is apparently retiring after being dismissed in Chicago for not making Caleb Hanie into Jim McMahon. Or something. It is remarkable how quickly he burst onto the national stage, provided some of the most enjoyable football of the last 20 years, made Kurt Warner a potential Hall of Famer, and then kicked around the edges of stardom without ever getting another head coaching job. Weird.

In Denver (oh God, please no -- sorry, yes), Tim Tebow enters the 2012 season as the Broncos' starting quarterback, according to club president John Elway. Really? We had to ask this question, and he had to answer it? Was there an option we didn't know about? Did they have a secret plan to draft Andrew Luck? Look kids, I know the Tebow-moves-needles thing is fun and all, but Trent Dilfer didn't have to put up with this the year after Baltimore's Super Bowl win, and everyone likes to kick Dilfer through the muddy end of the field this time of year. Besides, which of you really believes that Elway couldn't change his mind at any moment if circumstances warrant? A football executive's word has the shelf life of a carton of milk left by a space heater, so what's the big damned deal?

And finally, Roger Goodell has said the league is going to study hiring fulltime officials. He didn't say that someone is going to study the fact that there are at least two few actual officials on the field to cover all the mayhem of your standard game, or that someone is going to figure out a way to translate the rulebook from its original gobbledygook so that the game makes sense again. How about he tackle those two problems before he gets around to figuring out whether the officials should actually be covered by the league's medical plan?

We now return you to Antrel Rolle Theatre. Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com


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