We'êre not certain what job Jim Mora will have next but it probably won'êt be in politics. This is because Mora doesn'êt lie artfully or often enough to be a pol, and, for too frequently blurting what he really means, he'ês gotten canned twice in the past few years from what somehow are very enviable positions: as head coaches of National Football League teams.
The latest occasion was announced Friday, when word got out that the Seattle Seahawks had let Mora go after just one season as head mentor. Within hours news outlets in Seattle and Los Angeles were reporting that Pete Carroll, the wildly successful coach at the University of Southern California but a mediocre pro mentor, would replace Honest Jim.
How honest? About three years ago Mora was dismissed by the Atlanta Falcons for saying (in jest, he claimed, though many believe otherwise) during a Seattle radio broadcast that he'êd basically drop everything for a shot at coaching at his alma mater, the University of Washington.
Lost on many is the pure innocence of the Mora method. He'ês like that lawyer guy in the Jim Carrey movie Liar, Liar, condemned for a time to tell nothing but the truth. Judging from his public utterances, Mora is fated to tell the truth simply because it seems like the right thing to do.
That much should have been apparent during just about every post-game appearance by the man who now becomes the Hawks'ê second departing head coach in as many years. When his team played well (well enough, that is, for a 5-11 record and one legitimate blowout), Mora found ways to emphasize the right reasons for success. When the club sputtered, he either tried to explain why or conceded that he was as baffled as the fans.
A few days before the Mora pink slip was issued he convened scribes to answer for them what he said would be every last question. Mora may have been emboldened in his frankness because his immediate Seahawks supervisor, Tod Leiweke, had said after the Dec. 3 departure of team prexy Tim Ruskell that organization bosses fully expected Mora to be the mentor again for the 2010 campaign.
Was it a lie? Maybe not. The statement was made prior to the team's tanking during its final four games. Any bet placed on Mora on Dec. 3 apparently was long since withdrawn after the season ended Jan. 3.
Fans, then, are left to wonder what awaits the franchise. Conjecture on the airwaves and across the internet has been viral since Jay Glazer, senior writer for FOXSports.com, broke the story. By 11 am today both of the local radio jock-squawk broadcasts fittingly went to solid Hawk-speculation call-ins and professional analysis.
Tellingly, even the world'ês one omniscient pro-football authority, John Clayton, on KIRO-AM at 11:15, seemed unable to say for sure where franchise management goes from here. If Clayton doesn'êt know, nobody does.
Few appear particularly concerned about the fate of Mora, who seemingly stands to make millions in a severance settlement with a club ultimately run by the league'ês richest owner, Paul Allen. The guess here is that Mora never gets another NFL head-coaching job — not unless he gets a lot better at prevaricating, obfuscating, distorting, equivocating, waffling, and hedging. In short: becomes a much more political animal than he'ês been during much of his pro-football career.