Jan 172002

How about taking a job right out of college and being the highest paid employee in the history of that organization? It rarely happens, but hey, you’re special. Or at least someone thinks you are.

You received an adequate amount of experience and success in college, but have never performed at the highest level. Obviously, people think you’ll succeed, and being the confident person you are, you agree with them. There are more qualified and experienced applicants, but there’s just something about you this boss wants. He’s into taking gambles.

Being no idiot, you take the money. Who wouldn’t? If you fail, you still get the cash anyway.

You say you’ll get the job done and numerous other things people want to hear. But only time will tell whether or not you’re telling the truth.

Your name is Steve Spurrier.

Okay, so Spurrier’s not exactly fresh out of the dorm rooms and a poor lifestyle, but college is the highest level he’s ever coached, unless you consider the United States Football League as a form of competition. He did a good job at the University of Florida, going 122-27-1 with six Southeastern Conference titles and the national championship in 1996. But is that worth $25 million over five years of dealing with overpaid football players who only put in some effort when they’re in front of national audiences?

Though college athletes can be just as cocky, they’re putting in the extra time to get to the next level. Spurrier knew his players at Florida would work for him because if they didn’t, they didn’t play. If Spurrier benches Michael Westbrook in Washington for not running out a route, Westbrook still gets paid.

And salaries are another aspect of NFL life Spurrier never dealt with in Florida /_” at least not publicly. Tony Banks and Kent Graham, the quarterbacks currently on the Redskins roster, are not under contract for Spurrier’s rookie season. Maybe he’ll convince Rex Grossman, his QB this past season at Florida, to enter the draft. But then again, when was the last time a Florida signal caller made it big in the NFL?

But it is Spurrier’s offensive prowess that many believe will make a splash in the NFL. His Gators led the nation in total offense this season, and Spurrier has always been known to run up the score. He admitted in his farewell party from UF that he maybe should have even ran up the score a few more times /_” especially against in-state rivals Florida State and Miami.

That ruthlessness may be Spurrier’s lone strength in the NFL. He never has and surely can’t start putting up the nice guy front now, because coaching tenures in the NFL last about as long as beer at a college party. Spurrier’s predecessor in Washington, Marty Schottenheimer, was out after one year following an 8-8 year. That was even after he became the first coach in NFL history to lead an 0-5 team to five consecutive wins.

But obviously Washington owner Dan Snyder wants to win – and now. Since he bought the team in 1999, the Redskins have yet to suffer a losing season. However, Spurrier is now the fourth Redskins coach in that time, and .500 seasons the last two years have set the bar for Spurrier to surpass.

But I’d do everything Spurrier has. Unless you consider his pride, it’s a win-win situation for him in that he’ll take in $5 million a year regardless of the number of losses. But it’s not the money; it’s the challenge, right?

I think Snyder would be better off gambling in Vegas.

Jon is a junior journalism major.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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