There are good days on the job and then there are bad days on the job. However, for Buck Jeffries, today is going to be more of a ‘Holy Crap! I should have taken the first flight out of town before any of this had a chance to happen!’ day on the job. The worst part? Buck has known for the past five years that this day was coming and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Oh well, such is the life of a professional football coach. First they announce your arrival with great fanfare…
“He’s the greatest coach ever!”
Then they announce your firing with just as much hoopla…
“He is not what this organization needs to move forward.”
Some coaches get to retire without ever getting fired, but most end up like Buck: sacked worse than a fourth string quarterback.
The world championship that happened under his first year of reign? Nothing but a distant memory now. The players whose troubled personal lives he helped turn around? He was there to win games not run therapy sessions. The family time his eighty hour work week took away? Maybe he can make up for that now that he’s out of a job. Well, he will be, after the 1 p.m. press conference.
Buck has never understood the point of these press conferences. Wal-Mart doesn’t hold them every time they let a manager go. Reporters don’t chase after the cashier just given the boot and ask them how it feels to have just been fired. Shoppers don’t yell, “You suck!” or “Good riddance!” at the overnight stock boys they pass in the parking lot. News programs don’t start off with, “Our top story tonight: Wal-Mart in Toledo has just let its Electronics Manager go.”
But, he supposes that’s why he got paid the money that he did. Some days you’re going to have ice cold Gatorade poured over you and other days you’re going to have insults rain down. So he will clean out his office and do his walk of shame like a good boy. That’s how the game is played. As for the game of football? There is likely at least one team that went 6-10 this year who would see Buck’s 8-8 record as a step up.
That’s the beauty of sports: old coaches never die. They just switch jerseys.