Football teams at every level are trying to find competitive edges, and this means getting more minds in the room that make decisions. On the surface this seems fairly easy. After all, these are really wealthy organizations who can afford to bring in whoever they want. There’s just one problem: There aren’t enough job titles in football.
This lack of basic naming has led to stuff like this.
What is a “GAMECHANGER COORDINATOR” you might ask? And that’s a really good question. It’s been clarified that the role of GAMECHANGER COORDINATOR pretty much is a special teams assistant. That doesn’t sound prestigious enough though, so GAMECHANGER COORDINATOR was born.
It’s not just college football that’s doing this. On Wednesday the Carolina Panthers announced they were promoting Samir Suleiman, who has been their director of player negotiations and salary cap manager to the newly created “Vice President of Football Administration.” It’s another completely made up position that has important job responsibilities to be certain, but it’s far more about the prestige of a new position itself.
The only thing teams fear more that making the wrong personnel decisions is having the right person in the fold and missing out by losing them. Hell, look at the Washington Football Team. In 2013 they had Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur AND Sean McVay on the same coaching staff, and all of whom left to become far more successful coaches than who they have now.
This is an extremely pronounced example, and to be fair, the trio of coaches were far too young and inexperienced to get the top job at the time — but the point remains. In Carolina the Panthers had current Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott inside their organization, losing both because they wanted to stick with known quantities in Marty Hurney and Ron Rivera respectively.
It’s here we circle back to the concept of made up jobs. Let’s look at this from both sides. If you’re a promising young football exec then you need to have a resume that shows progression. We’ve seen what happens when someone is stuck in the same role forever, even if they’re really good at it. The perception starts that they’re “not good enough” to hold a top job, so they’ve been stagnant. That’s exceedingly unfair, so you need the occasional title change and additional responsibilities to pad out that resume.
If you’re a team, maybe you have someone in the organization you really, really like. They’re showing a lot of promise, traits that you want to see, but it’s just a little too early. Perhaps ownership has a preference for an older hand, maybe there’s already a veteran exec in the position you’re not willing to jettison. So you need to try and entice the young hotshot to stay, while also buying time for the dominoes to fall and a position to open.
Enter the made up position.
Whether it’s a “Gamechanger Coordinator” or a “Vice President of Football Administration,” the core concept remains the same. These are people you really like, but they don’t have a home in a pre-existing role right now. So you give them a pay bump, a fun new title, all in the hopes they’ll stay with you until a bigger job emerges inside your organization.
It’s really a win-win, except for fans, who have to furiously Google to try and work out what a “Assistant Director of Player Impact” does, only to learn it doesn’t exist. Because I made it up just now, and it sounds real enough to actually be a job.
Since I live to give, here are a few new job titles I’d like to see teams embrace when they find themselves in need of a new made up role for someone.
- Executive Video Game Player Rating Liaison
- Team Chemistry Coordinator
- Director of Good Vibes Only
- President of Image Awareness
- Senior Fan Relations Officer
- Secretary of Football Engagement
- Tailgate Coordinator
These are just a few to get you started. All you need is a fancy job prefix like “senior” or “executive” followed by a football thing, and ending in a job title which could also be a military term if you want. So, if you’re an upwardly mobile equipment manager you could soon before a “Executive Kicking Tee General.”