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Atlanta team GMs adapt to Presidential Roles


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Sorry if already posted. I did a search but didn't come up w/this article in the forum. Only included the stuff from the article on McKay & the Falcons.

Link to Article

So what is this job, anyway?

McKay said his job as Falcons president, as outlined to him by team owner and CEO Arthur Blank, is "to be in charge of the overall financial well-being of the franchise. If there is anything that gets out of whack, he's going to look at me to explain why and get it [corrected]."

Falcons president: "All of the business side reports directly to Rich. He also is responsible for stadium issues and league matters. And he will be of assistance to Thomas [Dimitroff, the team's new general manager] as Thomas wants and needs it."

Dimitroff, hired last month to replace McKay as general manager, reports to his predecessor. But Blank said the new GM not the president or the owner has the final say on player personnel matters. Essentially, the No. 3 exec trumps the others on that issue.

McKay said he sees his involvement on the football side as "a supporting role" in which he'll help Dimitroff "in any way I can. That probably means negotiating some player contracts, helping on the salary cap. Anytime he wants to talk about trades or anything he is contemplating, I will be happy to put in my two cents."

Amid criticism of his player personnel decisions and coaching hires, McKay relinquished the GM job in the wake of a disastrous 2007 season that saw quarterback Michael Vick go to prison and coach Bobby Petrino bolt for Arkansas.

It was "very difficult," McKay conceded, to give up the GM job.

"But I think in this business you've got to look at what is in the best interests of the franchise," he said. "It doesn't mean I don't have an ego, and it doesn't mean I don't think I could do the job of GM and all that. But when I looked at it from the perspective of what we just went through, I came to the conclusion this would not be a bad setup for us. And I felt it would give us a good chance to win."

McKay, 48, signed a contract extension last month designed to keep him as team president through 2011, although that didn't deter speculation the ex-GM wouldn't be long for Flowery Branch.

"I wouldn't have extended my contract, wouldn't have agreed to what I agreed to, unless I thought this was a long-term plan," McKay said. "I've got a son who is a freshman in high school, and I was one who moved my senior year in high school, so I would rather create stability than instability in my household.

"I know there will be speculation, being somebody who held that [GM] title for a long time, that I'll go back to it. I very well may, but I don't think it will be in the near future."

On the business side, McKay said he will be "much more hands on" than when he also had the GM role. Whereas a year ago he was spending most of his time preparing for the draft and free agency, now he is spending more time on issues such as season-ticket and suite renewals, sponsorships, marketing and community relations. Blank said McKay also will lead the franchise's efforts toward a new stadium.

"The reality of my job is there is plenty to do," said McKay, noting that the team is a $190-million-a-year business that still has "a long way to go" to reach the middle of the NFL pack in revenue.

"The business side has ... an absolute direct effect on winning," said McKay, a Princeton graduate who received a law degree from Stetson. "With the increase in the salary cap and the increase in the spread between high- and low-revenue teams, you have got to find ways to get yourself into the middle of the league [in revenue] if you want to win consistently. ... It's an interesting challenge."

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As to the underlined stuff above, how do you think TD and RM are going to work together w/somewhat different individual goals as to their outcomes? Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it looks very much like TD could pick a player he wants to get and then quite possibly get pushback from McGay because it's a financial gamble, or we can't afford them. I know they're on a budget, and I am **** GLAD they have to work together, but the whole thing of RM still being in charge of contracts worries me a little. Not because of his insufficiencies as an author, more because of any power or influence he might have over decision making, or overriding Thomas' preferences.

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