Thank you all for coming here this afternoon. It should go without saying that this just wasn’t how we wanted to end the year. We all would love to be preparing for the playoffs right now, but that’s just not the cards we were dealt. Going 1-14-2, after such a promising 4-12 record last season … well, the fans don’t need me to tell them that this is unacceptable for a football club like ours. It truly makes me sick, having to shoulder the responsibility of such an underwhelming season, after all the work I’ve done to build up this franchise, and our brand-new stadium, for this great city. But as the owner, the buck stops with me, and there has got to be accountability all across the board.
The reports are already out there, but I will confirm that I have indeed parted ways with our head coach, our general manager, our assistant general manager, our team dietician, and our director of corporate travel. I’d like to thank them all for their service to the team, but these are changes that simply had to be made if we were going to move forward. I hope this makes our fans sit up and take notice that we are truly serious about improving as a football team.
We have already begun the process of originating a search for a new head coach. Let me tell you, we’re not just going to be chasing after the trendy names this offseason. No, we want a true leader of men, someone who can bring the grit and the fire that we needed just a little bit more of this year. With that in mind, we’re lining interviews up with some truly brilliant football minds who have a real fresh lens on the game—guys like Quincy Coughlin, Oakley Shanahan, Camdyn Holmgren, and Norv Turner. After cycling through eight head coaches over the past three years, it’s starting to become clear to me that we can’t continue to hit the reset button like this. When I make my final hiring decision, it will be someone with a strong long-term vision for the true potential of this football team.
I’m confident that with the right leadership, the success that these great fans deserve will be right around the corner. Whenever I talk to you guys, what do I always say? Success in the National Football League requires a strong foundation, and that’s what we aim to build every day. It’s why we wake up each morning. I believe many of the pieces are already in place. Punting, long-snapping, and left outside linebacking are all areas where, despite what the critics might write, I know we really excelled this year. But this team never truly gelled as a cohesive unit, and it’s imperative we fix that heading into a brand new season. We simply can’t have any more incidents involving airplane misbehavior, circus animals, or the Grand Canyon. Not on my watch.
Obviously, heading into the draft, there are infinite ways to excite our fans and bring new life into this roster. But we can’t just make our choices by looking at talent alone. We need to draft based on character and a willingness to put the team ahead of the individual. I know it disappointed fans when I let our star wide receiver walk last offseason, and trust me, I saw the signs all around the Raytheon Premium Party Porch when he came back this season with his new team, the division champions. But we can’t just throw money around blindly and expect to be a winning football team. We need to spend wisely on men with integrity and not on individualistic prima donnas. When I was that boy’s age, I would have been overjoyed at the idea of a $400,000 contract. But nowadays, that’s supposed to be considered insulting? I understand that plenty of people have their eyes on me, believing they know better, but they need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, What are back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons really worth?
But I’m not bitter. I’m just disappointed. I accept that the fans have their own emotions, but none of them can understand what I have suffered for this franchise. For 67 years, I have been the soul of this team, carrying every burden and paying every bill with nothing but my own indomitable spirit and the dividends from my father’s paper towel empire. And even if we’re facing down some adversity now, the results speak for themselves. I was the one who brought this city a Super Bowl in the 1970s—well, not this city, but a city, before the relocations—and while I don’t expect to be thanked for that gift more than five times a day, a little bit of empathy would be nice. This team is in my blood. It’s in my tendons, underneath my fingernails, and behind my tonsils. And I will bravely stand before you today and say that 11 straight losing seasons is a humiliation to me that cannot be allowed to go on.
OK, I think that’s a long enough opening statement. I’m sure you all have plenty of questions, and I’ll be happy to take as many as I can. Let’s start with you. Yes, you, right there. … Sorry, what was that? I didn’t quite catch the last part.
Am I considering selling? Absolutely not. And frankly, that’s an offensive question. Nobody is going to work harder for this football team and this great city than I am. And actually I think we’re going to wrap things up there. Unbelievable. If the loud minority of ungrateful so-called “fans” continues to advance this kind of nonsense and deny my god-given right to run this team how I see fit, I’m sure the great people of Tulsa, Charleston, or Omaha would make a better home for this franchise. I’ll see you next year, assholes.