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Commanders Assemble Funky Advisory Committee To Fix Team

Magic Johnson and Josh Harris watch the Commanders play football.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders fired Ron Rivera Monday morning, after the team wrapped a miserable back-slide of a regular season with a 38–10 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, their 13th defeat of the campaign. The Commanders were never anything close to good under Rivera, with one measly playoff appearance in four seasons, earned with a shameful 7–9 division crown in 2020. Rivera was brought in to reset the organization's deeply toxified culture, but his only real accomplishment on that front was to outlast the tyrant who'd hired him; Rivera was prone to pointless posturing and avoidable self-injury, and his teams sucked, and new owner Josh Harris carries none of Daniel Snyder's baggage with respect to leadership turnover. Rivera's ouster was a no-brainer.

The turnover may not stop there. General manager Martin Mayhew and executive vice president Marty Hurney are also Snyder hires, inherited by Harris when he bought the team. Though they have not been fired and are expected to assist in the search for the team's next head coach, Adam Schefter reports that Harris is looking to "reshape the Commanders' front office" and is forming up an advisory committee to lead that process. On Monday, he added to that committee former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. Spielman was a senior personnel honcho in Minnesota for 16 years, including 10 as the team's general manager and principle architect. Spielman has experience with shuffling head coaches: It was Spielman who made the call to replace Vikings head coach Leslie Frasier with Mike Zimmer in 2014.

Harris is casting a wide net for advisors as he makes his first key decisions about the future of his franchise. For a situation as dire as the one in Washington—where a once-marquee organization has been brought via decades of breathtaking mismanagement about as low as it is possible for a billion-dollar NFL team to go—it's important to bring in fresh new perspectives, to think outside of the box, to ideate and disrupt in the ideation and disruption spaces. In a bold move announced Monday morning, Harris also secured for his advisory committee the genius behind the profound organizational turnaround of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, from a long-time bottom-dweller and occasional plucky also-ran to a juggernaut; the savant whose creativity not only made the Warriors into a jewel of their sport but changed forever the way teams are built and the way the sport is played. That's right: Josh Harris secured the services of All-NBA point guard Stephen Curry.

Yes, this seems ludicrous on its face. Curry's success in sports has come entirely in basketball. He hasn't played another sport at a high level in his life, unless you count some competent rounds of pro-am golf, and he's certainly never been a part of a professional football operation. But there's no denying what he's accomplished as the face of a basketball team: Curry brought the Warriors out of the wilderness and over a few short seasons completely remade their basketball operation. He brought to Golden State six Finals appearances and four championships; he turned multiple blue-collar teammates into Hall-of-Famers; he brought over a defecting enemy superstar; he carried on his coattails a shuffling who's-who of bone-head teammates; he made an overinflated head coach into a legend; he got the Warriors a ritzy new stadium on the prestigious side of the bay; and he even overcame a front office that was so badly misled by an overabundance of success that it undermined the team's foundation by attempting to supplant its core with a handful of insanely oversold youths. He may never have done much battle out on the gridiron, but if anyone in professional sports knows what it takes to overcome organizational rot and overhaul a moribund franchise, it's Stephen Curry.

Besides, it's not like Curry will be responsible in this advisory role for teaching the offensive lineman how to pass-protect. His job is to help Harris vet candidates for leadership jobs, an important and influential position but not one that will require a full-time embedding with the team. Per reports, Curry will continue with his current basketball job while taking on this new responsibility with the Commanders. Wow!

Stephen Curry rubs his hands together.
Stephen Curry, the person who is solely responsible for the Golden State Warriors becoming a basketball dynasty.Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Hmm, I am being handed a note here that says that Harris has not, in fact, hired Stephen Curry to his advisory council. The note says that actually Harris has hired former Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers, who was let go by Warriors owner Joe Lacob back in May. But this can't be right: Myers was fine at his job and all, but he was very definitely another passenger on Curry's coattails. He is also the guy who hollowed out Golden State's depth on a doomed vanity play for a successor core. He is famously the guy who gave a $123 million long-term contract to Jordan Poole, who is almost certainly the worst guard playing rotation minutes in the NBA today. For crying out loud, Myers used the second overall pick in the 2020 draft to select James Wiseman, a 7-footer who is so bad at basketball that his career might end at the conclusion of his first professional contract.

Well, at least Myers will be inserted into a very orderly hierarchy. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer clarified this morning that Myers and Spielman were brought in only as advisors, not full-time employees, that Mayhew and Hurney will remain, and that they will be evaluated by whoever Myers and Spielman ultimately decide to hire.

Oh, and Myers is also keeping his gig as an NBA analyst for ESPN. It's good to see that so little has changed in Washington's football business. It's important to honor tradition.

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