On Adams, Reinfeldt and Manning

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
2:26
PM ET
Bud Adams' circular logic and irrationality apparently cost Mike Reinfeldt his job.

Adams fired Reinfeldt, executive vice president and COO of the Titans, with two years left on his deal.

[+] EnlargeBud Adams
Wade Payne/AP PhotoTennessee Titans owner Bud Adams deserves some of the blame for his team's performance.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean spoke with Adams to learn of the move. Wyatt thinks the team’s failed pursuit of Peyton Manning was a primary reason Reinfelt was dismissed. Adams felt Reinfeldt dragged his feet in getting the Titans chase of the star quarterback underway.

Perhaps that was the case. I certainly believe the Titans front office and coaching staff were reluctant to follow their boss’ directive.

On Sunday and Monday, coach Mike Munchak even took a shot at Adams' infatuation with Manning, saying the team didn’t do well in free agency last year because much of the class disappeared while the plan was set aside for focus on Manning.

Two things about the Titans worked against Tennessee as a suitor for Manning. One, Reinfeldt and general manager Ruston Webster are not John Elway. The Titans front office doesn't include a Hall of Fame quarterback who won two Super Bowls and knows how to get the most out of his final years. It’s hard to blame Reinfeldt for that.

Two, while Manning liked Munchak a bunch, I’ve heard he was not wild about his offensive coordinator, Chris Palmer.

Palmer worked as quarterback coach for the New York Giants for a time, so Peyton Manning certainly got some insight from his brother, Eli Manning. Manning surely had a chance to hear a sales pitch from Palmer about how the Titans would craft an offense for him. Perhaps he didn't like it or perhaps the two didn't hit it off. Perhaps Palmer just didn't do as well as Denver coordinator Mike McCoy.

Whatever the case, the primary reason Palmer was in place for Manning not to love was… wait for it … Adams.

Adams failed to resolve his head coaching situation in a timely manner after the 2010 season. In deciding to stick with Jeff Fisher before later coming to a mutual decision that the team and Fisher needed to part ways, he cost his next coach the time to assemble the best possible staff.

Munchak wasn’t able to compete for the best coordinators who were available, because they’d already found landing spots. And so he went back to an old friend. Palmer had coached for the Oilers in Houston. Later, when he was coach of the Browns, Palmer tried to lure Munchak to Cleveland to coach his offensive line. Palmer parted ways with the Giants when they wouldn’t give him an out in his contract allowing him to leave for a coordinator post. Palmer was working in the UFL when Munchak came calling.

So, one of the reasons the Titans didn’t get Manning was Palmer. And one of the reasons the Titans had Palmer -- fired with five games left this season -- was Adams.

Adams parted ways with Reinfeldt on Monday.

If a strikeout on Manning was the primary reason, once again Adams has failed to put the appropriate share of the blame on the right person: himself.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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