The first man interviewed with the team twice. He was one of two men who got the privilege of a second interview. He has spent 16 years in the personnel side of the business, working for three teams.
During that time, the teams he worked for compiled a record of 142-114, went to the playoffs nine times, won five division titles, won seven playoffs and made the Super Bowl once. In his most recent year on the job, his team was 12-4 and made the playoffs.
The second man interviewed with the team once, coming into the process late after a snafu that had nothing to do with him. He has spent 15 years in the personnel side of the business, working for three teams.
During that time, the teams he worked for compiled a record of 116-124, went to the playoffs six times, won three division titles, won two playoff games and never even made a conference championship game. In his most recent year on the job, his team was 4-12 and put together one of the most embarrassing seasons in the history over the franchise.
The first man is Charlie Bailey, who runs pro personnel with Jacksonville. The second man is Rick Spielman, late of ESPN and who is now the GM of the Minnesota Vikings. Spielman was hired this week by Minnesota after it endured the entire Fran Foley resume fiasco.
While some people in NFL circles will tell you that the list of candidates for the job wasn’t particularly strong (up-and-coming Eagles personnel man Jason Licht wouldn’t touch the job), when you look at Bailey vs. Spielman, the decision to hire Spielman is simply dumbfounding.
Certainly to John Wooten, who is the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes minority hiring. Three weeks ago, Wooten thought the hiring of Bailey, who is black, was a foregone conclusion.
“Heck, Charlie deserved that job over Fran Foley, no question,” Wooten said, referring to the original process. “When they told us it was Fran Foley getting the job, we were shocked. I was thinking to myself, ‘What is that?’ Fran Foley has never even put together a draft board.”
Foley, who is a good man, unfortunately hadn’t done a lot of things he claimed, which triggered this mess. However, now that he was out, Wooten simply assumed that Bailey was next in line.
Funny thing is that the Vikings never even picked up a line to call Bailey after the Foley mess. Instead, they went with Spielman, who happens to be close with Minnesota President Rob Brzezinski from their days together in Miami.
While it’s tempting to invoke race into this story, it’s not even relevant. The bottom line is this: Bailey, who has his detractors, is simply better than Spielman when you put the resumes next to each other.
Examine it further, and the gap is wider.
Fortunately for the Vikings, Spielman will not have final say over personnel decision. That’s because he’s terrible at that.
In his one year as GM of the Dolphins in 2004, Spielman personally set the Dolphins back for years. He traded a second-round pick for quarterback A.J. Feeley, who proceeded to help the 2004 Dolphins set an NFL record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Spielman traded a third-round pick Lamar Gordon, who played two games in 2004 before getting hurt. OK, that happens. But Gordon was so bad in training camp in 2005 that the Dolphins couldn’t even trade him for a seventh-round pick and had to cut him.
Spielman traded Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye to Chicago for wide receiver Marty Booker and a third-round pick when he couldn’t get Ogunleye signed. Right now, the Dolphins are trying to upgrade on Booker and the third-round pick was essentially later traded for Gordon.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Spielman also was the point man on three other drafts with the Dolphins. Overall, his four drafts produced one Pro Bowl player, wide receiver Chris Chambers (Ogunleye was undrafted and was signed before Spielman got there). The rest is a litany of mediocrity, ranging from tight end Randy McMichael as the best pick to cornerback Jamar Fletcher as the consummate bust as a first-round pick.
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