I did a lot of soul searching before finally deciding to go ahead and make this post. I kept setting it aside, not wanting to be seen as someone who was trying to stir the pot. Yet, there have been a fair number of comments made, not only here at MHR, but on other sites as well that has forced me to come back to this same question again and again.
Is it possible to root for your team to succeed while simultaneously rooting for a coach or player to fail?
Before I begin, I would like to clarify a couple of things. First, I have no intention of naming names here. The purpose is not to call anyone out. It is not to say one fan is better than another. It is not to say that there is only a single way of being a fan. Second, this post is nothing more, and nothing less than my own attempt to explore, discuss and understand a concept that I have found perplexing, confusing and contradictory.
Let me begin by sharing how I've been raised to think about the Broncos in particular, and sports teams in general. I will be using the Broncos/football as an example, because this IS a Broncos fan site after all.
I have long been an advocate of the concept that for a football team to be successful (success here meaning getting to and winning the Super Bowl) must start with everyone (and I do mean everyone) in the organization being on the same page, at the same time, working toward the same goal.
The ownership must be willing to provide the fiscal and physical resources necessary for success. This includes salaries, equipment, training facilities, staff, etc. The owner must run a fiscally effective organization that looks not only to the bottom line, but also to investing in the future, carefully balancing current need against future salary cap restrictions.
The GM of the team must be willing/able to translate the owner's fiscal policies into successful personnel decisions. That is, getting the personnel needed to bring the coach's strategies and plans to a successful conclusion. The GM is the one who is charged with contract negotiations in order to not only bring in new talent, but to maintain existing talent, and provide for the development of all players.
The Coaching staff is responsible for devising training programs, player development, scouting of potential talent, creating effective offensive/defensive schemes and teaching the players how to be effective and win. The coach is responsible for guiding the players during the game, making adjustments to improve the possibilities of winning, and overseeing the entire game.
The players are the ones who are charged with making the coach's plans work. Every one of the 53 players on the roster should be working to the best of their ability to improve at each practice. And every one of them needs to be ready to answer the call to action should it come. All three units (Offense, Defensive and Special Teams) need to know the game plan, know how to adjust should it be called for and be ready to execute their portion of the game at the appropriate time. How many times have we seen good teams brought down when one of the units fails to perform as needed?
As a fan, I choose to root for the team. This means I root for the owner to do all things the owner needs to do to give my team a chance to win the Super Bowl. The GM needs to do his part, the coaches their's and the players need to make it happen. That is what I root for throughout the year. I may not like a coach or a player, but I will root for them to be successful so that the team succeeds.
This is why I become confused, perplexed, and mystified when I read a fan say that they hope that a coach or player fails. Since my assumption is that it will take all coaches and players functioning in unison for the team to be successful, I cannot comprehend how to wish for a player or coach to fail can represent anything other than hoping for the team to fail.
I've found myself distressed, since the beginning of the year, by the number of times I've read (not just here at MHR, but on other websites as well) saying things like "I hope that McDaniels blows it," or "I hope Orton bombs." Neither of those statements, by the way, are direct quotes from any fan, they are intended to be paraphrases used as examples. Both of those suggest to me that the fan wants to see the Broncos fail.
Whether a fan likes it or not, McDaniels is our head coach. Whether a fan likes it or not, Orton has been named as the starting quarterback. Whether a fan likes it or not, Bowlen has backed both of these choices. Thus I find myself unable to comprehend how a fan advocate for either McDaniels or Orton to fail. If the coach and starting quarterback fail, then it seems to me that we can expect the team to fail as well.
A counter-example. I have not been fond of Marshall's off field choices. Nor have I been particularly inspired by the way he has handled each of his off seasons since being drafted. I've been fairly upset by the way he has chosen to act since returning to camp. But, I would still love to see him in uniform, working his butt off to learn the playbook and demonstrated the skills that McDaniels wants him to demonstrate, so that he can be a first team receiver for us again. Even though, I believe that he most likely wants out of Denver, I will root for him to succeed right up to the time he is gone. Should that happen, I still won't root for him to fail, he will simply become irrelevant for me.
Which brings me back to my original question: In your opinion is it possible to root for your team to succeed while simultaneously rooting for a coach or player to fail?
Any way, thanks for taking a moment to walk down this road with me.
13-3 Baby!!! until we aren't