Frustrated Titans fans wanted action and they got it Monday when team ownership parted ways with General Manager Ruston Webster, launching searches for both a new G.M. and head coach.
It was a symbol that Amy Adams Strunk, the team’s controlling owner, hears the fans’ frustration and shares it.
But, Adams Strunk remains a mysterious figure for fans because she lives in Houston and has made no public statements since assuming majority control of the Titans last March. Many fans perceive that distance as aloofness and a lack of interest in building a winning football team here in Nashville. That feeling has fueled much of the speculation, both locally and nationally, that the Titans will be put up for sale in the near future.
President Steve Underwood, who agreed to take that role permanently before relieving Webster of his duties, reiterated Monday that the team has never been for sale and is not for sale. He added that Adams Strunk is involved with every aspect of the team on a daily basis, and that Kenneth Adams IV, a minority owner of the team, holds a high ranking position within the building.
According to my sources, Adams Strunk is more involved than many people realize. Think about it, in just about nine months on the job she’s already fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt, paying him $15 Million to walk away, and now the General Manager.
At the same time, we haven’t heard from Adams Strunk at any point. Not when she took over, not when she fired Whisenhunt and not yesterday when the team launched searches (led by her) for the two most important positions in the organization. I’m told that Adams Strunk prefers to keep a low profile, and that’s her right, but it’s time that she and the organization understand how her lack of a public profile is concerning for a frustrated public they hope will fill their stadium and buy their merchandise.
During Monday’s press conference, it was asked if Adams Strunk planned to make any public statements or become more visible during this time of transition. Underwood seemed surprised that fans would care to know the owner of the NFL team in their city and want to hear from her during a time of great uncertainty.
I don’t think Adams Strunk needs to move to Nashville to be a good owner for the Titans. In fact, I think there’s a lot to be said for the anti-Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder. An owner that hires good football people, signs the checks and gets out of the way.
But, the Titans are at a crossroads. They are on a 10-year decline and have tied for the worst record in the NFL the past two seasons. Fans want to know that ownership feels their pain and frustration. They want to SEE and HEAR it.
The coach and G.M. searches will chart the course for the Titans for the next decade. The team finally has a franchise Quarterback in Marcus Mariota to build around and it’s imperative that those are strong hires.
Amy Adams Strunk is making those hires.
Does anyone know what she’s looking for or what her short and long-term expectations are?
I don’t think anyone wants the Titans to get those hires right more than her and the rest of the Adams family, but without transparency from ownership, fans will continue to doubt their ability to identify and hire the best candidates and, ultimately, their desire to build an elite franchise in Nashville.
Adams Strunk and the Titans want us to believe that they are headed in a new direction. We just haven’t seen enough to know what direction that is.