Randy Moss Debacle Reveals Bizarre Power Structure Of NFL Front Offices

Brad Childress

On Monday, Vikings coach Brad Childress unilaterally decided to cut Randy Moss. He said it was a mistake to sign the highly talented, and equally disruptive, wide receiver.

But it wasn’t his mistake. Rick Spielman, the VP of Player Personnel for the Vikings, is responsible for drafting, trading, and gathering free agents. 

However, Childress has final say over the 53-man active roster, allowing him to undercut what Spielman crafted. How does he have that power?

Thanks to a murky front office hierarchy. A Vikings spokesperson said the ownership group – headed by Zygi Wilf – hires and fires front office executives and coaches. They have the most power. But after Wilf, the power division isn’t so static.

This isn’t unique to the Vikings. For example, on HBO’s Hard Knocks, football fans got an inside look at the power interaction between New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum. When they convened it seemed they were on approximately equal footing, with Tannenbaum getting the final say.

However, experienced coaches with a proven track record often insist on, and receive, complete control over the roster.

When teams are doing well, no one pays any attention to this sort of thing. But when they’re struggling at 2-5 like the Vikings are, it becomes a problem.

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