Being an NFL is likely a difficult job. In addition to game-planning and studying your next opponent, you’re also responsible for leading 53 grown men through a season that’s going to feature intense highs and lows.
If you’ve seen “Hard Knocks,” you know how some coaches go about motivating their teams. Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan did it with a lot of expletives and some humor. Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell did it by making his players want to run through a brick wall.
New Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon did it by asking players if they took the bus to training camp … no, really. The Cardinals released a hype video Friday to try and fire up fans for the 2023 season. It opens with Gannon giving an awkward inspirational(?) speech to his players.
Compared to Cambell or Ryan, Gannon’s speech fell flat. There’s not a lot of emotion and conviction in his, “Did you have fire in your gut?” line.
The longer cut of the speech, which can be seen in the Cardinals’ video, is a little better. It’s possible Gannon recovered after a rocky start. It’s also possible that a badass soundtrack can make any speech sound cool.
Unfortunately for Gannon, the longer video also gave us this sad shot of one of the slides used during his presentation, which gives off major “PowerPoint is my passion” energy.
Being awkward is nothing new for Gannon. He was roasted by fans for his unusual interactions with players shortly after being hired.
NFL games, however, aren’t won or lost based on PowerPoint slides or poor first impressions. Gannon doesn’t put his best foot forward in either video, but that doesn’t guarantee he’s bound to fail as a head coach. Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his introductory press conference, and he turned into one of the better coaches in the NFL.
None of this actually matters. It’s fun to watch the videos and cringe at Gannon’s demeanor, and it’s nice football-related fodder to help us get to the regular season, but it’s nothing more than that.
The Cardinals are expected to be awful in 2023, so it’s going to be an uphill battle for Gannon to prove himself in his first season. If he proves adept at game management or strategy, it’s easier to write off his awkward motivational tactics.
But if the Cardinals are 2-8 around the midpoint of the season and reports from the locker room are dismal, Gannon could find himself back in a coordinator role before long.