Giving a press conference is one of the more lopsided propositions in America today. It is lopsided because there’s a lot more that can go wrong than can go right. There are pitfalls, traps and mistakes – and rarely do any of them go as planned. Most of the people who have to give press conferences aren’t skilled in them because they usually excelling at running organizations, businesses, military units and professional sports teams. They spend very little time in front of a microphone. Any public relations professional worth their salt coaches those in front of the camera about “the message.” Whatever that message is, it is purposely stated and re-stated so that people covering the press conference leave with that notion in the front of their minds. Mike Smith left us with one message yesterday – we’re gonna do things the way we have always done them – in this case, it’s the way they’ve done it for last six-plus years.
That may be a good message, but it’s a bad philosophy. It’s a philosophy that cost the British in the Revolutionary War, it destroyed Penn State football with Jerry Sandusky, it hurt the NFL when it comes to domestic violence and is the reason my parents got divorced! Things get stale now quicker than they ever have before. And as a leader you have to realize when they are going stale, when they have reached stale and how to implement changes. Hearing this three different times Monday is either a sign of stubbornness or stupidity, or a combination of both! Mike Smith needs to do things differently. He is on the Titanic right now and the iceberg is dead ahead. He needs to take a different route because if he doesn’t, that ship is going down, he’s going down with it! Enjoy the bottom of the ocean floor with that stupid jewel and Leonardo DiCaprio!!
If Mike Smith has designs on remaining the head coach here in Atlanta, he needs to do something to save his own job because doing what you’ve done over the last six-plus years doesn’t work anymore. The league has changed, the rules have changed, the personnel on his roster has changed, his coaches have changed. With all that change around him, how can he remain constant? Other head coaches in this position before have changed things, taken over play calling because they all felt that if they were going down, they were going to make sure that they were at the controls. Mike Smith isn’t going to do that. And I can’t understand why.
I credit Mike Smith for sitting there in those press conferences. He is totally exasperated. He doesn’t have much he can say. He can’t blame his GM. He can’t blame his players. He can’t lash out at the media. He just has to take it. And he is going to take it alright … all the way to the unemployment line, because if he doesn’t change and the results don’t change, the head coach will.