I apologize for the non-Boston sports media related post here, but I found this whole thing below interesting and I haven’t seen anyone else weigh in on it.
Over the three days of the NFL draft, the NFL Network had top reporter Mike Silver “embedded” with the St. Louis Rams during the process, allowing him complete access to what was happening in their ‘war room.’
That it was the Rams that were chosen for this didn’t seem like an accident. GM Les Snead seems to enjoy the spotlight, and is married to former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson. Jeff Fisher is adored by the national press, a fact seems somewhat curious given that while he has had a few very good teams, including one that went to a Super Bowl, he’s also had some very bad teams. His lifetime winning percentage as a head coach is .532 – pretty good, but not great.
He knows how to work and media and get them on his side. He likes to put on a show for them, and he’s got this whole “legend of The ‘Stache” thing going on.
An incident in the Silver article seems to show how this charisma he has can influence the coverage he gets as opposed to other coaches. (You probably know the one I’m thinking of.)
When the Rams selected cornerback Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, Silver tells of the circumstances around the pick.
It was the arrival of Joyner — and the way the Rams finessed it — that brought the most pleasure to Fisher and those close to him. Intent on drafting the former Florida State star with the 44th overall pick, Fisher and others in the Rams’ war room became convinced that the Titans were preparing to snag Joyner two picks earlier. Rams general manager Les Snead began working the phones, agreeing to a trade with the Bills, who held the selection before Tennessee’s, that saw St. Louis give up a fifth-round selection to move up three spots.
When the deal was consummated, and the Rams turned in the card for Joyner, Fisher burst into a huge grin, and there were hoots and hollers of excitement. A few minutes later, when the Titans traded out of the 42nd selection — a move viewed in the Rams’ war room as confirmation that Tennessee had targeted Joyner, only to come up empty — there was another surge of congratulatory cheers.
“I don’t know how we did it,” Fisher said afterward, concealing a twinkle in his eye. “I just had a feeling.”
“Twinkle in his eye….just had a feeling.” Was it just a feeling?
A fascinating part of @mikesilver’s story: Sure sounds like Fisher had a Titans mole that led to trade up for Joyner.
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) May 12, 2014
A “mole?” So the suggestion is that Fisher has someone in the Titans inner circle – the franchise he coached for 17 years, who is still loyal to him, and gave up this information to the detriment of his own team?
Can you imagine if a former Belichick employee was giving out secrets of his team back to his former boss like this? Where would the outrage meter land? But here, it’s written in an admiring fashion. Silver, has been one in the past to hold no punches when it comes to this stuff, but for “The ‘Stache” its awesome.
Then there was the Michael Sam pick.
Troubled receiver Kenny Britt had found himself in yet another situation over the weekend. The Rams were in the process of dealing with it. Then Silver writes:
On Day 3 of the draft, this ranked as a legitimate headline, and headache. Little did he know — hell, little did anyone at Rams Park know — that Fisher was about to render him (Britt) a mere footnote to history.
So Fisher has decided to draft Sam.
At 5:48 p.m., the Rams officially selected Sam, and the war room scene turned surreal. The ‘Stache soaked it all in, thoroughly enjoying the experience. He got excited when informed by Artis Twyman, the team’s senior director of communications, that the Rams were the franchise which 68 years earlier signed the first African-American player of the NFL’s modern era, UCLA product Kenny Washington.
There’s no doubt that this was a historic, significant moment. The Rams made the pick. They made history. Fisher made history.
OK. Is it at all coincidental that the franchise who drafted Michael Sam just happened to have an NFL Network reporter embedded with them for the entire draft, and who got to see first-hand the entire process play out?
To me, it seems that one of two things happened. Either the plan all along was to draft Michael Sam at the end of the draft if he was still available and have that moment recorded, or Fisher, seized the moment, knowing that there was a reporter there to record it all, made the pick to further the legend of “The ‘Stache.”
Silver concludes his piece:
It’s not what anyone at Rams Park other than the head coach had in mind until about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, but now it’s happening, and the momentum behind it is unmistakable.
Perhaps, in retrospect, we should have seen this coming — for it’s very simple, and it can be summed up in three words: Trust The ‘Stache.
Maybe someone did see this coming, and that’s why Mike Silver was there in the first place.