Let’s get this out of the way first: Todd Graham should still be the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
He led a team that was expected to do next to nothing to a 7-5 record and an appearance in the Sun Bowl, the same postseason game his team played in when it was on the doorstep of a New Year’s Six bowl game in 2014.
But that should be viewed in its own prism, separate from the events that have followed.
After a week-long “process,” ASU announced its new CEO of its football program, Herm Edwards.
That, too, was the wrong move.
With many coaches on the market that have coached any team in the last nine years or a college team within the past 30, Anderson decided to make a call to Bristol, Connecticut, where a man he used to represent has been working for nearly a decade.
It would be one thing if Edwards had a history of success. But there is very little winning to speak of when looking at his track record.
In short, Herm Edwards has never been a successful head coach. He took a New York Jets team that was .500 or better in the four seasons before he arrived and parlayed that into a total of two playoff wins in six seasons and a .487 winning percentage.
He then went to the Kansas City Chiefs, making the playoffs in his first season and then driving the team into the ground before he was fired after the 2008 season.
He may have played to win the game, but he was far from good at it.
Since then, he’s sat behind a desk in Bristol, Connecticut a few days a week and has been a guest speaker on college campuses, which he assured the gathered media at Monday’s press conference is just like being on the sideline.
“When I’m invited to go to Alabama and when I’m invited to go to Michigan and these places where I’ve talked to the teams and visited with coaches, I see the innovation,” Edwards said. “I sit down there. I’m always constantly learning.”
And that’s all well and good that he keeps up with football, but there’s a big difference between talking with players a couple days a year and living and breathing a program. Having to be on the road talking to recruits and selling a brand, one that he’s only vaguely familiar with at this point.
The only thing he seemed to know about the Territorial Cup is that Tedy Bruschi, his co-worker on NFL Live, went to Arizona. He said he has “rich history” in Tempe because he turned down Frank Kush during his recruitment.
He’s so disengaged with the program that he referred to his ESPN colleague and ASU Hall of Famer Darren Woodson as “Rod” and appeared to not know why a site covering the team would have “Devils” in its name.
Most coaches won’t have a deep connection to a school before they go, but they’ll at least do enough research to not have to look down at their notes before quoting Pat Tillman, a man who has a statue erected at field-level in Sun Devil Stadium.
It’s fitting that the most iconic moment of Edwards’ football life came when someone else dropped the ball, because that’s exactly what Ray Anderson did hiring him.
All that’s left for ASU fans to do is to pray that Anderson is the program’s Joe Pisarcik.