Fired and Hired

Submitted by Pita Horne

January 13, 2015 – The Buffalo Bills hire Rex Ryan as their new head coach
December 27, 2016 – The Buffalo Bills fire Rex Ryan.
January 11, 2017 – The Buffalo Bills hire Sean McDermott as their new head coach.

As the NFL offseason continues, the teams who failed to make it to the Playoffs begin the process of improving for next year. This may involve upgrading the roster through the draft or through trades. In many instances it involves changing the coaching staff.

This year, Washington decided to clean out the coaches on the defensive side of the ball firing four, including the defensive coordinator. Firing assistant coaches for another five teams wasn’t enough. Buffalo, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco all fired their head coaches as well as some assistants.

In the case of Buffalo, Rex Ryan was their eighth coach since 1998. No coach in that period has survived to the end of their fourth season. Only Wade Phillips (1998-2000) has managed a winning record in that period. Perhaps Sean McDermott will prove to be the guy that can lead Buffalo out of the longest current playoff drought (17 years) in the NFL.

This time of year reminds me that we’re all accountable to someone.

During the season the coaches are king. Players’ careers hang on a thread of good health and the goodwill of the coaching staff. The coaches decide where players land on the position depth charts. A fumble or three and player’s snap count might drop significantly.

The coaches have the responsibility to hold the players accountable for their training, their preparation each week, and their on field performance.

When the season ends, the general manager, team president, and the owner hold the coaches accountable for the team’s performance. Will they stay, or will they go?

Although not as direct, the public also has a role in holding ownership accountable for various big picture decisions. They do this through social media, talk radio, and financially through the purchase (or non-purchase) of season tickets and team merchandise.

While this can all turn into a great big blame game, accountability is healthy trait for all areas of life. We might tend to think of accountability as another word for punishment, but it should also lead to reward. Teams and organizations that lack accountability typically also lack discipline and therefore usually lack wins because mediocrity becomes acceptable.

Maybe we don’t have highly visible accountability mechanisms in all aspects of our lives, but how might that help us?

Jesus reminded us that God holds all of us accountable for how we conduct our lives. Matthew 25:31-46 describes God holding people to account for the way they treated the less fortunate around them. It’s easy to focus on the “firing” in this story, but the clear statement of expectations accompanied by accountability also clarifies the path to wonderful rewards.

If the Lord were to sit and talk with you today – what accountability structures do you have? If you don’t have any, how could you develop them to improve your walk in Christ – not so you can ‘earn’ a reward but so God’s grace and light might shine even more brightly in your life.