There is no perfect formula to maintaining order in an NFL locker room. And, in the past, we've seen many great coordinators, strategists and college coaches falter at the sport's highest level because of their inability to sustain support from their players.
Perhaps no single anecdote can highlight the difficulty of acquiring (and keeping) credibility from your team more than this one that came out of a joint interview with ex-Redskins stars Clinton Portis and Santana Moss. We say that because, in the sitdown, the two former players state that new coach Jim Zorn quickly fell out of favor with the team when he nixed their weekly pregame shots of Hennessy that began as a tradition with the late Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor:
Portis also went on to state that Zorn destroyed the squad's ability to bounce back from Taylor's premature death, which had occurred the season before the doomed coach took over.
"[Zorn] ruined that recovery trail," said Portis. "I think it’s known now — even if it’s not, I don’t give a damn; I’m grown — myself, Santana and Sean, prior to the game, we would take a little shot … [of] Henny. We were drinking Hennessy. Me, Santana, and Sean, we did this for a year-and-a-half before anyone knew. It was never two, three- four shots… From that point, we did it every game…"
“All of a sudden Coach Zorn comes in, and [says] ‘Oh, yeah, guys are taking sips for Sean.’ What?”
Moss echoed what Portis said by doubling down on that claim. "It was something that we just did," said the ex-wideout. "We didn’t want it to be magnified. We didn’t want it to be about us, because we did and went out and played the game of football the way we know how to play…He just kind of lost a lot of us, you know. He said that and that kind of lost us together.”
Zorn finished his two years in Washington with a less than impressive 12-20 record, including a 4-12 mark in his second season. That is to say they won four less games without their pregame shot. If you know of a guaranteed blueprint to success in that business,
we're all ears you could probably make a lot of money.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.