In appreciation of Rod Marinelli

I don't know if Rod Marinelli's a good football coach. I'm not in a position to make that call.

Right now, I think much of the football-watching world thinks Rod Marinelli is a bad football coach. That happens when a team goes 0-10. But I can envision circumstances in which, with no change at all in Rod Marinelli, the football-watching world could think he is a good football coach. For example, if he had better players who occasionally won football games.

What I can say is good about Rod Marinelli, though, is his attitude. This guy's got a roster of bad football players and frustrated coaches, all of whom probably hate themselves right now. He's got a city that's fed up with the organization that he represents, and owners who have no idea how to run a team. He's got media guys questioning everything he does, including the brazen act of trying to maintain a positive attitude. There are funeral directors out there who show up to a more cheerful work environment every day.

And it seems like every week, there he is, standing in front of the media, again refusing to throw his players under the bus, and again refusing to quit or give up.

Listen to this exchange between Marinelli and Rob Parker of the Detroit News, which was made available on the Detriot News website:

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Two things ... 1) It's amazing that Marinelli doesn't completely lose it during that exchange; Mike Singletary would be running around the room nude by then, and 2) I think that exchange illustrates really well the difference between how reporters think and how coaches think.

Rod Marinelli's absolutely right to say what he said. How can he believe in his guys, despite the fact that no one makes plays? Because that's the only option.

It's highly unlikely that Detroit will beat Tampa Bay next week either way, but what gives them a better chance? Rod Marinelli continuing to say he believes in them, continuing to show up and encourage and coach and teach them as best he can ... or if he comes out and says, "Yeah, these guys suck. They're not very good. They can't beat anyone"?

It just wouldn't serve any purpose for the football team, which is exactly why Rod Marinelli won't do it. And good for him. Now, it might serve a purpose for Rob Parker, and it might be what he wants to hear, but it's not Rod Marinelli's job to help Parker out. It's his job to help (or at least try to help) his football team.

Being the coach of a bad football team is a tough damn job. That Marinelli has kept his passion and his attitude through ten games of misery, to me, is an accomplishment in itself.

What to Read Next