Jeffrey Lurie Enters Competition for Philadelphia’s Worst Sports Owner
In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia has a sports team ownership problem.
It took last week’s Eagles front office fiasco to get me thinking about this. And the Eagles are the one viable team in this town right now.
Jeffrey Lurie has now owned the Eagles for 20 years. Not only is there no championship of which to speak, but now I’m very leery of the direction this owner provides towards that end. When confronted with in-house bickering of his lieutenants, Lurie caved like a pre-fab house in a stiff wind. His anointing of Chip Kelly as the main architect of the franchise and demotion of Howie Roseman from general manager to vice president of shoulder pads, or some such thing, was not exactly generalship. It was a panic move from a weak leader.
Here is the situation in Cliff’s notes:
Kelly, the football magnate, wasn’t exactly comfortable working with Roseman, a man who never played nor coached football in his life, and who is a charter member of the new wave of analytics GM’s. Remember back in the old days when you hung out in friendship circles of three, and two friends invariably would pair up against the one? That was Kelly and personnel executive Tom Gamble. Roseman’s solution to regain equal power in player evaluation was to unceremoniously fire Gamble, then have security gendarmes usher him out of the building.
Presumedly, this was done with Lurie’s blessing and the owner apparently not realizing it wouldn’t sit well with Kelly. (Note to self: This is what can happen to people like Lurie whose considerable family wealth and the fact that he’s never HAD to have a job removes him from the real world. He didn’t think Kelly would freak?)
Kelly rushed up to the ivory tower and most likely let Lurie have it, perhaps threatening to bolt. Next thing we knew, Kelly had finished off his coup d’etat. He’s now in charge of everything and will be allowed to hire a flunky who will sanction every personnel move the coach suggests.You mean to tell me that Lurie couldn’t have gotten both of these juveniles in a room, banged down a gavel and said something like “I am the owner. This is the structure I’ve set up because I believe it in. Now go off in a room with a glass of milk and a box of animal crackers and make it work!” Ask yourself whether such in-house wrestling would ever happen with, say, the Patriots.
But enough about the Eagles.
The Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup in 40 years. And while the franchise burns its way to a non-playoff season, Ed Snider continues to fiddle a tune that there is nothing wrong with his methodology. Ed’s “Flyer Way” is now a flawed and archaic mindset. In the year 2015, it is not true that hiring ex-Flyers who were popular with the fan base guarantees success in the NHL. Maybe Ron Hextall is different. Maybe given time, he will exhibit outside-the-box philosophies that he learned as a front office man with the Los Angeles Kings. My sense is this: So long as Snider is around, any executive will manage the franchise to please “Mr. Snider” instead of concentrated on methods that actually win.
Which brings us to the Phillies, who many insiders predict may be the worst team in baseball this year. They gave us good for a while. But now their quirky ownership setup has buried the Phils in a big pile of goo. Serving as the executor for an ownership of five entities put pressure on team president Dave Montgomery to keep the money flowing. And holding on to popular veterans for that end took a major toll. Behind the scenes, one owner, John Middleton, is posturing to take over more than 50 percent of the team so he can make the big decisions. Until then, the Phillies stink.
I would like to have some things to say about the Sixers, but Josh Harris seems like an odd little fellow who has no idea what’s going on and is just in this game as a venture capitalist.
And so it goes.
Philadelphia is the fourth-largest market in the country. Right now, three of the four professional teams are terrible and the other right now is an organizational mess. The people here deserve better than that.