This will be a football-heavy weekend. The slate opens Christmas day—Friday! Shit!—and features a Saturday triple-header, the usual Sunday smorgasbord, and finally a Monday-nighter. Socked in there at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday are the Detroit Lions, who will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there’s a problem: The Lions, who have already fired two coaches this season, may be plum out of coaches.
Given that the NFL has been hosting and facilitating an extended coronavirus outbreak for 15 weeks now, an entire coaching staff being knocked out of action due to close contact concerns, if not by a rash of positive tests, was inevitable. Having recognized this inevitability far earlier than the Lions themselves, and earlier even than the NFL’s league office, the Defector managing board stands prepared to invoke Section F.12.7–9 of its operating agreement and once again draft its staff into emergency football service. Quite simply, the Detroit Lions must hire us to coach their players on the gridiron this Saturday.
We are not the best or even the only option. Surely there are perfectly competent actual football coaches kicking around looking for work. Just this week the Houston Texans interviewed the unfairly maligned and prematurely terminated Jim Caldwell for their own head coaching vacancy. The Lions fired Caldwell in 2018 despite Caldwell having compiled a perfectly respectable 36–28 record as head coach across four seasons. Caldwell is the last Lions head coach to have performed even moderately well in the role, and the first since Jim Schmidt in 1972 to leave the job with more wins than losses. There can be no doubt that he would outperform the Defector staff as emergency interim head coach of the Detroit Lions, if for no other reason than he will not need GPS assistance in order to locate their stadium.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that a person with any realistic coaching prospects would consider taking temporary reign over a loser football team with which they have not been associated for three full seasons. Fortunately, we have no such issues of dignity or professional standards. We have done the math and determined that our 22 staff members should be able to fill some reasonable majority of the positions of an NFL coaching staff, certainly covering the various coordinator jobs. The rest is preparation and can-do, and since several of us play daily fantasy football every weekend, we come with a certain baseline understanding of the nuances of the sport.