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The Art of the Ultimatum
A simple lesson from The Donald to Joe Alleva for Making LSU Football Great Again
Whether you’re in the boardroom at Trump Tower or the sweat-stained trenches of Lambeau field, maintaining leverage is absolutely critical. Just ask any corporate executive or offensive line expert (i.e. not Les Miles).
The LSU faithful learned this lesson the hard way last weekend. Tiger fans were forced to watch their beloved Bengal Tigers get physically manhandled on national TV on sacred football grounds at the hands of yet another less talented but superiorly coached foe.
Wisconsin fans no doubt took pleasure in watching their beloved Honey Badgers “take what they want” from their maimed and laughably unmotivated prey whilst giving zero sh*ts. But for the Tiger faithful, the pathetic effort was as inevitable as it was insufferable.
The Tigers’ impeccable possum-playing performance was all the more disheartening in the wake of the lofty promises that head coach Les Miles made entering the 2016 campaign. Miles rode into the season promising “hope and change” on offense. Instead, what he delivered in his legen-Dairy letdown against the fighting cheese heads was a heavier dose of the same old, stale offense that had long since passed its expiration date.
Miles didn’t just single-handedly run the Tiger’s talent-laden cavalry into the ground with a play-calling arsenal even Lee Corso could predict. He slapped LSU fans in the face with his false promises. His team’s performance was perhaps the greatest miscarriage of justice to occur in the frozen tundra of northern Wisconsin since the Steve Avery trial (depicted in the hit Netflix documentary Making a Murderer). As Wisconsin natives will attest, the sight of his allegedly “revamped offense” was more grisly and poorly planned out than a crime scene contaminated by the Manitowoc County police department.
As excruciating as it was to watch the Tigers’ championship aspirations sink in the icy waters of Green Bay, in a sense the loss was the perfect encapsulation of everything that has gone awry during the Mad Hatter’s fascinating but increasingly failed tenure at LSU: a talent-laden but poorly coached team playing down to the level of its competition, and a stagnant offense that elicits more yawns than it does first downs.
Athletic Director Joe Alleva is no stranger to humiliation. Tiger fans no doubt remember the blanks Alleva fired during his botched execution of Miles last fall.
The greatest casualty of Alleva’s follies, however, wasn’t the damage it did to the University or his already mutilated reputation. It was the fact that he lost the most important thing on the gridiron and at the negotiation table: leverage. After the Alleva’s attempted coup-de-tat failed, Miles gained complete leverage over the program. He won the sympathy of the LSU fan base and the national media, while Alleva lost the already minuscule capital he had been steadily eroding since his unheralded arrival in Tiger Town.
Second chances are hard to come by in life (unless you’re Jon Snow, the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide, or Les Miles circa December 2015). But thanks to the tragic comedy the Mad Hatter put on display last Saturday, Alleva has been gifted a second opportunity to regain the leverage he lost over Miles last fall and take control of the program.
With leverage back in hand, the formula that Uncle Joe must follow for redeeming his reputation and Making a Miracle out of the 2016 season is very straightforward. This week, Alleva should schedule a televised press conference and have the “Lesticles” to issue Miles a formal ultimatum: lose another game this season, and in the famous words of the once esteemed CEO of the Trump Organization, “You’re fired!”
It might seem like a radical and unprecedented step. But if Miles’s history is any indicator, it is entirely necessary. In an election year dominated by absurd campaign promises and the meteoric rise of outsider contenders, it’s only fitting that Alleva should borrow some of the same tactics employed by The Donald himself in “The Art of the Deal” and officially put Miles on the hot seat.
For Alleva, the case is so simple even an emotionally underdeveloped child like Donald Trump or truth-allergic megalomaniac like Hillary Clinton can grasp it: “LSU doesn’t win anymore. We don’t win at the line of scrimmage. We don’t manufacture anything on offense. We never win against our greatest existential threat in Tuscaloosa (they’re laughing at us, by the way). We’re exporting many of our top prospects to SEC rivals.”
If we want to win again, we need to think outside the 9-man loaded box. We need to build a wall around our state to lock in our best recruits. We need to have the biggest and strongest defense in the nation. We need the spread offense, or at the very least the occasional jet sweep. In short, we need to Make LSU Great Again. If that means some stubborn, white-capped heads have to roll, so be it.
Joe Alleva is, in effect, the unelected representative of the LSU constituency. He has the bully pulpit, and he has the right to represent our best interest. He has the right to throw Miles under the bus faster than a falsely accused lacrosse player. After enduring years of an anemic offense, it would be poetic justice to see Miles lose his job on a quick toss into a loaded box of angry fans issued from the hands of a former second-rate QB in Alleva.
For too long the Tiger faithful have had to suffer a coach whose offense has the enjoyment level of a botched vasectomy, the mangled ingenuity of the recyclable condom industry, the aesthetic appeal of watching a three-hour colonoscopy, and whose very existence is as utterly useless as Barb from the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Miles has proven time and time again he is incapable of making the changes that would be necessary to usher his offense into the 21st (much less 20th) century. The time has come for Alleva to take action in his own hands and to force Miles’s rigid-fingered, grass-stained hand to finally pry open the secret playbook that he buried in Jon Gruden’s backyard in the Country Club of Louisiana years ago. The Tiger faithful deserve nothing less, and Miles and his $4 million paycheck deserve nothing more.
– Andy B., LSU alum