On the eve of the Falcons’ biggest game of the season, against the Dallas Cowboys, Mora found himself embroiled in a self-inflicted national controversy. Mora’s comments to a Seattle radio station ” including: “I don’t care if we’re in the middle of a playoff run; I’m packing my stuff and coming back to Seattle” ” landed the third-year coach in the Buckhead office of team owner Arthur Blank by Friday afternoon.
“I really screwed up,” Mora said at a news conference from Blank’s office. “Any criticism I get, I deserve. I couldn’t feel worse about letting people down with my poor judgment and that’s what it was.”
Mora insisted Friday he was joking. The radio show host was Hugh Millen, Mora’s college roommate at the University of Washington, the school where Mora said he would love to be the football coach. Mora said he heard a replay of the interview and admitted it didn’t sound like he was joking.
(Mora’s appearance on KJR AM, mp3)
First of all, when I heard about Mora’s remarks — 2nd hand on a national radio show that didn’t bother to read a full transcript nor play a tape of the conversation — I’ll admit, I overreacted. My initial impression what that Mora was trying to get fired. My 2nd conclusion what that he’d lost his mind.
Not until hearing his actual remarks have I come to realize….that not only was he really kidding around, Atlanta’s coach is a pretty funny guy. If Mora was a little too deadpan when volunteering to Hugh Millen that he’d leave the Falcons in a heartbeat, well, that’s where the humor comes from. If aspiring comedians like Mora have to telegraph every punchline and totally spell out when they’re fucking around and when they’re serious, sorry, but that just isn’t very artistic.
A caller to J.T. The Brick’s Algonquin Roundtable Of Sports early this morning suggested that if Mora was coaching in New York or New England instead of Atlanta, an angry mob would’ve stormed the radio station (which would’ve been a neat trick, seeing as the broadcast originated in Seattle). But if the people of Atlanta are somewhat blase about Mora’s alleged disloyalty, all the power to ’em. This is the Non-Story Of The Week, and I was dead wrong for treating it otherwise.