I think I've reached a turning point in my sports fandom. I'm starting to see sports figures as normal people, and my expectations of them have leveled off. They are, after all, just average people in an extraordinary business. Sure, it disappoints me when one of my heroes screws up off the field in some terribly immoral way. But I've come off my high horse (if a 22-year-old even has a high horse to look down from), I think. I understand everyone makes mistakes.
Which brings me to my latest gripe. Boston College athletic director Gene DiFillipo has threatened to fire football coach Jeff Jagodzinski if he interviews for the head job with the New York Jets. DeFillipo has said he and Jagodzinski had an understanding he would be at the Heights for more than two years when he signed a five-year deal. Normally, I would be behind DeFillipo standing firm and forcing loyalty from Jagodzinski.
But from my new standpoint, this is absolutely preposterous.
First, how many times do coaches head off to interview for other jobs after the season? Kirk Ferentz. Nick Saban. Bobby Petrino. The list goes on and on. You never hear their ADs gripe about loyalty and integrity. DeFillipo is under the impression BC is above all of that, for some reason.
Second, no matter what DeFillipo wants to believe, BC is not a top-tier program. It's a nice program, sure, but it will continue to be a Cinderella. They've yet to go to a BCS game, despite having three opportunities to do so (a season-finale loss to Syracuse in the Big East in 2004, back-to-back losses in the ACC Championship game in 2007 and 2008). It's just not a go-to destination when there are other options at bigger schools with warmer weather.
Third, Jagodzinski is a product of the NFL. He would not be at BC if it weren't for being an assistant and coordinator for many years. It's perfectly understandable for Jagodzinski to go back where he earned his pedigree and become a head coach.
Fourth, in my opinion, he is not the leading candidate for the job. All reports indicate that the Jets have been very thorough in their search, and Jagodzinski is not at the top of their list. So DeFillipo shouldn't feel threatened, but he does. Jagodzinski seems very happy, but who wouldn't be lured by a chance to coach at the highest level? Even if he doesn't get the job, it's a good opportunity.
Fifth, most bosses understand when an employee wants to advance their career. They appreciate what they've done and send them on their merry way. DeFillipo's hostility is arrogant, unwarranted, overreactive and childish. A reasoned reaction of, "We'd really love it if Jeff stayed at BC, but we wish him well in whatever his professional endeavors" is apparently beyond him.
If I were Coach Jags, I would interview with the Jets. It sucks that he has to lose his current job (which appears to make him very happy), but so be it. He shouldn't let DeFillipo's shenanigans control his career path. If he interviews, and DeFillipo doesn't fire him, even better. Then DeFillipo REALLY looks like a child.
And to all the Boston fans who can't fathom a Boston coach going to the hated Jets, can you please grow up just a little and realize no one actually involved with those organizations actually cares.