John Elway was named Executive Vice President of Football Operations by the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, becoming the latest former NFL player to assume the responsibility of running a football team. But success as a player doesn't guarantee prosperity of an executive, as Detroit Lions fans know miserably well.
That hasn't stopped Matt Millen from portraying himself as a keen judge of NFL-caliber talent or the qualities that make a good head coach while providing analysis for college football and NFL games. It's as if he thinks no one remembers his abysmal eight-year reign of terror with the Lions.
Millen also wasn't shy about explaining what Elway needs to do to make the successful transition from field to front office when contacted by the Denver Post.
"I hope John does better than I did, because I stunk at it," Millen said.
Well, at least he admits it now. There isn't a single person on the planet Earth (except maybe Millen's wife) who's going to disagree with that assessment. (But does he have to be so damn jovial about it now? C'mon.)
Millen went on to detail what he learned in his eight years as an executive.
"There's a misconception about the job," Millen said. "It's less about the game of football. It's less about X's and O's. It's less about personnel decisions. It's a job about managing people. It's about building a consensus when you pick the right head coach. You can't go in and be this football czar and say this is how it's going to work. If you pick somebody that a coach doesn't like and doesn't coach, that's a bad situation.
Of course, this is exactly the sort of hindsight that makes Lions fans want to bang their heads against a desk, knock all their books off the shelf, and throw some big and electronic out of a second-story window. Millen was terrible with managing people. Though he did seem to get better with picking players his coaches liked. Unfortunately, those were still awful decisions.
But maybe after two years away from the job, he can see his mistakes more clearly.
There's much more from Millen in the Post article, if you can bear to read it.