What if fans ran all teams by popular vote?

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
1:06
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If fans ran their favorite teams cartoonKurt Snibbe/ESPN.com
The Seattle Sounders of the MLS are allowing their fans to vote on the fate of general manager Adrian Hanauer. Fans who are season-ticket holders or members of the team’s official fan association have between now and Dec. 7 to vote on Hanauer’s future.

Seattle’s record is 13-7-10, fourth-best in the Western Conference and good enough to have clinched a playoff spot. So that should help him. In the negative category: the Sounders have never won a championship, he is a minority owner of the team and Hanauer’s family owns a large company. So he’ll be fine if he is fired. Maybe someone who really needs a job could have a shot.

Surely Sounders fans will make a wise decision. Using popular vote to make important organizational decisions about general managers, coaches and players couldn’t backfire, right? It would just change things up a bit. Imagine the current sports landscape if we fans made all the decisions.




Tom Coughlin would have been fired as head coach of the New York Giants long ago. Eli Manning would have been benched, too, only to eventually be voted starter again when his backup got voted out of the job. Who would be coaching the Giants? Possibly Bill Cowher, thanks to the fans approving a 5-year, $100 million contract. Have to spend to win. Any angry mob knows that.

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Erik Spoelstra? Also unemployed. Well, he might have a job, just not as head coach of the Heat. Maybe manager of a local Best Buy. Pat Riley would be the head coach, unless he was also canned when talk raged that the team’s roster was not constructed properly following Miami’s 2011 NBA Finals defeat. Chris Bosh would have been traded and Larry Brown -- a big-name coach who would take any job offered him, even one offered by a bunch of face-painted fans -- would be coaching LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and whichever veteran point guard was acquired for Bosh.

Dusty Baker never would have gotten another job after the Cubs. The Reds would now be managed by Pete Rose.

Andy Reid would have lost his job years ago, cursing him to a life of sitting around his house, asking his wife for timeouts and challenges that don’t exist off the football field (or to Andy Reid after the third quarter).

[+] EnlargeRich Rodriguez
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesRich Rodriguez would've been whisked straight from the sideline to the lockup if voters had their say.
Les Miles would also have lost his job after one too many clock management mistakes. Today he’d be the old weird guy in his neighborhood, mowing his lawn with his face.

Rich Rodriguez wouldn’t be coaching in Arizona. He’d be serving a life sentence in a Michigan state prison after the fan poll “Should RichRod be thrown in jail forever without a trial?” went against him 100 percent to 0 percent.

Tim Tebow would be the starting quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, making the 2012 New York Jets a slightly less-high-profile disaster.

Every NFL draft would feature quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and big-name defensive players from BCS schools in the first round. No offensive linemen would ever be taken before Round 3.

The NBA draft? Every player on a big name college team would go early. So it would be exactly the same for Kentucky players, but all North Carolina and Duke players would get drafted, too.

Free agency? My goodness. Each team would treat it like the Yankees on a bender after a big day at the racetrack. “Should we outbid everyone else for this middle infielder?”

• 100% - Hell yes
• 0% - Perhaps it’s best to make a more cautious approach and not mortgage the future

But we fans wouldn’t mess everything up. In fact, we’d make many teams better.

[+] EnlargeRyan
Tim Farrell/US PresswireNorv Turner wouldn't stand a chance against a popular vote.
Norv Turner? He wouldn’t be a punch line. He’d be that guy who coached the Redskins for a couple of seasons a long time ago.

Bobby Valentine? No matter how dumb you might think the American electorate or Red Sox fans are, no one outside of Boston’s management would have given Valentine the job in the first place. Someone else who is likable and competent would have guided Boston to the cellar this season.

The Cubs, Pirates, Royals, Astros, Raiders, Bobcats and Maple Leafs would be far more successful because it would be impossible for them not to be more successful. Poll: “Yes or No -- Should we do the opposite of what we’ve been doing all these years?” Yes would win, these teams would win.

Roger Goodell would be fired. David Stern would be fired. Bud Selig would be fired. Gary Bettman would be fired. Fire them all. Boo commissioners. Hooray democracy!

Best of all, the NHL season would be up and running. We’d end the labor problems by voting to give the players whatever they wanted. Why not? It’s not our money. We just want to see sports. Money is no object. That’s why we voted to give Yuniesky Betancourt that $100 million contract.
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