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When gag rules NFL what will fans say?

The last time I talked to Bill Parcells he said to me, proudly I might add, "we've got things locked up pretty tight over here ..."

And he's right.

As the father of keeping assistants from talking to the media whenever possible, the founder of the modern era One Voice concept, the person who pioneered keeping the media at arms-distance because, as he once said, "you guys are subversives," Parcells has started something that is expanding throughout the NFL.

Obviously, the Dolphins are under lockdown. The Patriots have been that way for some time under Bill Belichick, who learned it from Parcells. And with the Belichick coaching tree, rooted in Parcells, expanding, the One Voice concept is also expanding.

It went from the Jets to the Browns because Eric Mangini took it with him to Cleveland. It is likely to remain in New York because new coach Rex Ryan is something of a Parcells fan. It is likely to go to Denver, as former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the new coach there.

It definitely has taken root in Kansas City, where former New England personnel boss Scott Pioli, who happens to be Parcells' son-in-law, is now the football czar.

Now comes the latest duplication of the One Voice policy as Dallas owner Jerry Jones has put a gag order on his coaches -- including, temporarily at least, head coach Wade Phillips. This one, by the way is a head-scratcher because unnamed sourced stories in Dallas often come from Jones himself.

But I digress.

The point is from Miami and New England in the east, to Kansas City and Cleveland in the midwest, and reaching as far west as Dallas and Denver, an iron curtain has descended across the NFL continent. By the way, check out Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech if you want to better understand the depth of a great statesman and defender of freedom. 

And what does that mean to you?

That's the question. I perceive most of you don't care. I get the feeling the same folks that have turned blogs like this into money machines for newspapers, the same group that have given this blog a record-breaking month so far, are not that upset information is being squelched.

Am I right?

Tell me, do you really think keeping assistants from talking helps the Dolphins win? Do you think having teams say it's a leg injury instead of specifying it as a calf or knee is good? Do you believe your team is better every Sunday because players are told, under threat of fine, not to discuss their health?

And do you think your team is better because the team tells agents not to speak with the media? [Yeah, agents have told me the Dolphins tell them not to talk. Funny ain't it?]

Frankly, I expect most of you to line up like sheep and say, "Baaaa, whatever the powers-that-be say is fine by me." In which case, why are you here? Just tune in on Sunday and forget information about what's happening the rest of the year.

Hopefully some of you would like ito hear from the special teams coach on why his unit was terrible last season. Hopefully some of you would like to hear from general manager Jeff Ireland more than three times a year. Nah, I'm dreaming again.

So have your say in the comments section.

But let me share a couple of things first: I was born in a country where speech was silenced and information was restricted so I guess I'm sensitive about this subject. I take it personally because my folks risked much and sacrificed much to bring me to a place where gag orders are not the society's norm.  

Secondly, did you happen to catch the Super Bowl? The Pittsburgh Steelers are among the most open organizations in football. And the Arizona Cardinals, while not exactly an open book, are also relatively transparent.

Didn't seem to hurt their competitive advantage too much.


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Wow! Let freedom ring. I have to read the post again because I'm kind of ... I don't know what to think.

The NFL has changed lately and not for the better. It's supposed to be a game.

I think it's definetely an advantage to keep everyone on lockdown, though we'll never know how much. As an example, people didnt find out that Ben Roethlisberger played with bruised (broken?) ribs during the recent super bowl until after the game was played. If the Cards would have known, I think they could have affected the game by making sure they hit him in the ribs (rather than the feet area or shoulders) when they got to him. The Steelers were very smart about being very tight lipped about it, and it was to their benefit. Teams should use every advantage they have to their benefit.

To have your team in lock down may be the best thing. It keeps the coaches and players on check. This way other teams don't find a weakness and go after it. It also keeps your player from doing stupid things like shooting thier legs.
With the last coach we had. There was a lot of talking going on.We would hear how they talked to the colts GM trying to pick his brain.We would hear the player were not happy, and look how that turned out.1-15

I think they just protect from certain sports writers or commentators that may have a negative influence on a certain things.
At the end of the day it really cant be that strong of a determining factor.
Just like some people or families.....some are more private than others and that is there right.
Some corporations are more private and some not so much. Im a Paramedic and there are things I see that are restricted by my job for repeating.I never feel like my freedom of speech is restricted by this rule.
Now go out and sign Haynesworth Tuna !!!

I think they just protect from certain sports writers or commentators that may have a negative influence on a certain things.
At the end of the day it really cant be that strong of a determining factor.
Just like some people or families.....some are more private than others and that is there right.
Some corporations are more private and some not so much. Im a Paramedic and there are things I see that are restricted by my job for repeating.I never feel like my freedom of speech is restricted by this rule.
Now go out and sign Haynesworth Tuna !!!

Armando, I couldn't care less. I hace been following, enjoying, suffering and even crying for the Dolphins the las 27 years of my life and I'm 34. I want them to win. I couldn' care less if Parcells installs a regime. That's something neede already for a while in this organization.

Parcells is a just man, a professional who has understood the game like no other in the NFL. He has the Midas touch.

So, believe me when I tell you... I couldn't care less...

When negotiating a product, (player) silence is the golden rule. You put out your price and shut your mouth. Getting you guys involved only makes the price higher. Sources for the yesterday's story are probably the agents.
Injuries, new plays (wildcat), team plans in the draft and FA is important information. It is delicate and requires some thought. Learning you are traded from a team through the media you have given your heart and soul to would be tough. And not very classy. Besides you wouldn't want your sister to know you were fired before you.
While silence makes it tougher for you and the blog, it gives you free reign to report rumours and predictions from all.
That is what makes this fun. Your job is just like the weather guys. You get paid whether you are right or not.

Dolphins are known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction, sometimes also engaging in acts of a homosexual nature. Various dolphin have been known to engage in sexual behaviour with other dolphin, this also having resulted in various hybrid dolphins as mentioned earlier. Sexual encounters may be violent, with male dolphins sometimes showing aggressive behaviour towards both females and other male dolphins. Occasionally, dolphins will also show sexual behaviour towards other animals, including humans.

I want to know as much about my team as possible. That said, I also know that what I read is available to ALL other teams as well. SO when a paper states an obvious loe for a certain player about to hit free agency, I get a bit upset because it could cost the team a chance at signing that player or cost the team more to sign that player. In the interest of security, I am OK with being left out of certain aspects of what happens inside Dolphins Headquarters. Don't tell me the game plan for the coming week. When I read it, so too can the other team. But upon victory or defeat, let me hear from everyone, especially coaches on how we won or why we failed. Freedom of speech doesn't mean we have to know everything. I appreciate Armando's heritage and where he hails from, but I also believe that everything is good in moderation. I love this country, but I will never understand how burning the flag, the symbol of freedom, is a freedom of speech. I think the minute you burn it, you have burnt your freedom as well and should be punished for it. Many have served and many have died protecting that symbol. Freedom isn't free. Don't take more than you need. Go Dolphins!

dont care about gag orders much...is it august yet?

You said that "the Steelers are among the most open organizations in football." If this is the case than what happened with Tomlin's unawareness of the x-ray and broken ribs that Rotlisberger claimed to have prior to the Super Bowl. The team even disputed that an mri was done before the super bowl. I am not bad mouthing you but that is not very open to me. As for whether or not teams should operate under the one voice concept, I personally wouldn't mind to have as much information about my team as possible. I do understand why Parcells, Bilichick and company operate this way because it keeps opposing teams in the dark about possibly attacking a certain injured body part, knowing a team's thought process on players and schemes, making them think about every option, amongst other things. You can not argue the track record of the main coaches that do it. While I'm sure it sucks as a journalist and I damn sure know it sucks as a fan, if the end result is hoisting a Lombardi trophy then I'm all for it.

keep your team under the radar, i like that.

A census of ESPN in the last year would reveal 60% of their football coverage was Brett Farve, Dallas, TO, or Jerry Jones. Fans mute this or turn the channel just like with Hockey or Womans Basketball. Miami flipped the switch went into Foxboro and won the biggest game in 10 years. If it had not been developed behind a black out senario it would not have been as effective. Dirty Laundry is not reporting football, one more A Rod story or senario and I'll mute the TV. The Dolphins have 3 picks first day, they all could be starters and a couple of pro bowlers. The draft is loaded at center, WR, and somewhat at linebacker. I don't see a shutdown corner or blazing speed saftey first day. Vernon Carey spells center at First Pick maybe WR, I wouldn't have said that last week before the Carey signing. Players speaking through the media, or negoateing hasn't been effective. TO didn't push Parcells out of Dallas, Jerry Jones did. Game Plans, Injury Reports, players not a 100% need to stay out of the other teams game plan. Too much incorrect information is spawned on the keyboards of fans, bloggers, and media pundits. Report what you see or hear, project whst you think will happen, or the personel available or not. Asking your readership questions, is sometimes a lazy way to play. I hate the sport shows who do it. You did sit your question up better than most. Prediction: unless a corner or saftey has dropped Miami will take a WR 2nd or 3rd pick.

look up dolphins rape people on youtube its hilarious

i don't really care what the coaches do as long as they keep winning games for us
as for pit being open, they seemed pretty secretive to me when they won't say what play won the game or y ben came off the field at times
does anyone know what everette brown ran at the combine?

Look at the flip side. Do we really need another coach telling us the same things we've heard other coaches say for the past 50 years?
What new insight could a player or coach offer on any given game that hasn't already been repeated ad nauseum?
We're not talking about nuclear physics here. The game is a very basic affair: smash the other guy, run faster than the other guy and catch better than the other guy. There ain't much more to it than that and there's even less to say.
Finally, by week three players and coaches start repeating themselves anyway. Who cares if a gag order is imposed from above. More than half the time players and coaches have nothing of interest to say.

Football is a game just like poker is a game.

Would you let your opponent look at your hand? Would you let a guy who is a reporter (knowing he will tell everybody) look over your shoulder in a high stakes poker game?

I love speculating about what the Dolphins will do. Most fans already will have correctly guessed what their team needs and who’s available through FA and the Draft.

So I guess I am here because I feel you have some inside information on what Miami will do. But I also know you are a pawn, and Miami just might use you to deceive the rest of us as to what they intend to do because they know that Bill Belicheat tapes signals and if he is willing to do that than I am sure he has some minion in a room searching for every clipping and report he can get on their opposition.

What’s up with the sheep reference? (Poor taste)

Be glade you are no longer in a Country where your freedom of speech was limited.

Be even happier that you are now being paid to say what you feel. But with life there are limits and your freedom of speech does not give you the right to try and force others to tell you what they have in their hand or even look over their shoulder in a “High Steaks” poker game.

Bill is the boss live with it you 2nd hand journalist soap opera lover

Silence is golden. Especially when you have "subversives" who can't wait to inform the enemy of your intentions and weaknesses. Especially when it is Parcells who is so revered in the NFL. I can imagine you blabbing to the world who Parcells is going to draft or grab in free agency. All the lousy GM's out there would grab the guys Parcells likes because if he likes them they must be good football players.
I think it's great how he can actually shut down the flow of information so tight.



One voice makes complete sense. There is too much media coverage of everything these days. And often times peoples comments are out of frustration, taken out of context or misconstrued. A non story becomes a big story and the hypothetical scenarios spin out of control. This then becomes a huge distraction to the team.

I understand your concerns Armando but this is not a government suppressing information that the public needs to know. It's a business protecting it's interests.

There's a difference between governments restricting speech and businesses. Most businesses have non-disclosure agreements and tell me if I'm wrong, but the Miami Dolphin organization is a business. Just my two cents.

no doubt it's better for the media's biz when every one isn't talking that way sport writers can keep writing any thing they want and making any fake story line to sell but in if there's open talk all the time it gets boring fast.

Just win.

Funny, sport writers think they are real writers but deep inside they know that they are real lucky to get paid for just repeat each other info

I think the important stuff "leaks" out anyway. But, I do miss Wannstedt's ramblings...and Cam's mis-steps...

Anyone think that Surtain has anything left in the tank?

Are the Phins going to sign Bell and Goodman back?

Lets get off this boring topic and talk Free Agency. Come on Armando.

Just Win Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like the gag order, no reason to give valuable info or an advantage to other teams, I do, however, think it is more effective during the season...In the off-season, I could really care less....Mando, we know sports writers don't like the gag-order it gives them less to write about and forces them to actually be creative to come up with articles....

Wah wah wah. Terrible entry. Whine about something else chubby.

Yes, I do enjoy new info on the Dolphins, I search far and wide for it most days. But on the other hand, I can understand why Tuna would want to silence his team, at least as far as the draft and free agency goes.

For example, if I were the Dolphins coach or front office exec. and I knew for sure what an arch rival needed or a player they wanted, I would go out of my way to bid on the player even if I didn't want him just to raise the amount my rival would have to pay him. I would go so far as to hire an exec for that sole purpose. Make our rivals have to pay max amount for players every chance I got, Eventually that would cause them grief.

So yeah, I understand why they gag the team, but yes, I also to like to get information as well. But we just gotta take the good with the bad.

BP always said show me what you can do not what you can say.he also thinks that 99 percent of coaches or mangers talk to the reporters is crap plus it gives his regime more power with every one including players which results all the time of good things for his team.

I had a nightmare that the Dolphins used their first pick on an OT, then two fo their next three picks on WRs. Thereby basically neglecting their defense. I blame you Armando!!! I know, I need to get a hobby but it's cold in Toronto in winter and I don't enjoy winter activities.

I don't like the idea of a gag order in general. I would love to hear from coaches and players and you're right Armando; that's why I come to this site and others like it. I HATE it when football season ends and I'm hurting for news or even anecdotes of my favorite team. All that being said, I understand keeping certain information close to the vest. Needs and wants for instance.

All in all, I would love to have the coaches/players able to talk as long as they don't say anything another team could use against us.

Definitely an advantage. Keeps the players focused on their job (which is playing football, not talking to the media). Keeps the HC from having to waste time explaining what his assistant said 8 days ago when the media just won't let it go. Makes the organization look a lot more professional, which helps attract free agents and quality staff. And helps the assistants develop, with addressing the media being added to their responsibilities when they are ready for it and really almost ready for a HC position.

BP would say to Fin FanRod...we pay millions to players to proform in games NOT to speak crap to the media .after all what the hell they are going to say any way?I tell you what they are going to say if they lose they say Oh we have to work harder and if they they win they say It was a real team effort.you see it's crap.

Bill Percells Would Have made a good czar in early 1900 russia ,but i think he would have ended up like nicolas the third..

menace tell us what good info can come from players talking to the media?

Mando most companys have gag orders to employees any way, telling all emp. if the media approachs reffer them to so and so, we have no comment, i cant blame them i hear 70 percent of the people hate there job and wouldnt mind screwing over there employer.

Example: Could you imagine joey porter being asked a controversial question and what that idiot savant would say.. think about it half of the people out there shouldnt be allowed out of the house.

let's pretend dolphins lost their first 3 games next season what you think chad.penne would say or carey would say?

Good subject, Armando.

The pendulum is out of control on the big business vs. personal interest tug-o-war. Some are silly enough to believe the current political climate is a push away from big business towards individual interests, when in fact it is just the opposite. This sad phenomenon is showing up in football, too.

It's a risk Parcells and his ilk take. Cam was the same way, but he lost games. If you cut out the fun the fans get in following the process of development, you better do very well on Sundays. Conversely, even if you are a mediocre team, if you are frank and open about moves being made and general strategies (if not detailed tactics), the fans are happy to be part of the process and their butts go into seats regardless.

It's a slipperly slope that I don't like for the same reasons you have in mind, Armando. And some of us get it even if we don't have the direct wisdom you have from your personal history.

gorge doesn't know what he's talking about.let me tell in most times the more you talk the more you make mistakes and when you just paid one billion bucks for a team you better watch out for your investment so it's only biz.after all 99 percent of players talk is as we said before is Crap.

Why make your job easier? It makes your "inside" information that much valuable if it is impossible to get...

If you sift through all the garbage posts on these blogs, it wouldn't be that record setting. There is a lot of nonsense on blogs. The proof will come shortly after this post. You watch.

I agree assistants shouldn't be allowed to talk to the media. One man should speak for the team, the head coach.

Very interesting subject, Mando. I also come from the same background of fleeing communism. My dad was a Bay of Pig invader and spent time in Cuban prison as a result.

I would love to hear more information about my team because I want to know who to hold accountable. Last year frustrated me when I heard nothing from that special teams coach you speak of.

Having said that, I think this gag order thing is a fad. If it continues to work in that teams that use it win, then it will continue. Otherwise it will die off. Parcells and Belichick aren't going to be around forever.

I'd comment on this but I've gagged myself. (Don't ask on what).

>Frankly, I expect most of you to line up like sheep and say, "Baaaa, whatever the powers-that-be say is fine by me."

Wow, you get nasty when you have to work for a story. You even turn on us... Smart.

With the draft and free agency coming up keeping things under wraps is smart by any team you don't want to tip your hand on the moves you are planning to make and during the season not letting your opponents know how serious a players injuries might be can definitely work to your advantage the information will be released when the time is right as determined by the coach this is a very competitive league and you have to make the most out of any advantage you can get and lets face it the press has on more than one instance reported rumors that were not true or given informatiom that should not be released and I am not talking just about sports a few years ago I actually saw a news report in which a reporter told you how to make napalm how irresponsible is that

willi is telling us his life story ,any one cares.he sound like mando.

I think there needs to be 2 approaches to dealing with the media:

1) Personnel Moves. I would tend to agree with the approach Parcells takes here. I wouldn't want to hear agents speculating on what the team is doing, and I also only want to hear one authoritative source on moves. I don't think players should be allowed to talk either... its gives the perception of discontent in the locker room. If you have seen what has been going on with the Braves and media this offseason you will see what happens when a lot of people associated with the team speculate.

2) Game Plans/Tactics/General Football. I would love to hear from assistant coaches more during the season. I think it would be great for them to answer questions about upcoming games. I can't stand the current approach of not allowing assistants talk during the season.

Joey Porter should be the lone voice of the Miami Dolphins...talk about smoke screens...that way no one would have any idea what the dolphins are actually up too, but everyone would have plenty to talk about....

praise the lord....Joey Porter .

Where is nathaniel ?


Unfortunately, freedom of the press only applies to U.S. Government entities and publicly traded companies. A private business is free to regulate how their employees deal with the media. This isn't to say I agree with it, because there are consequences for keeping your stakeholders in the dark via a media blackout. In the case of the Dolphins - if continue their winnings ways of 2008, the fans will be forgiving of them NOT releasing information. I wish the fans would demand change through protests or boycotts; but we are an apathetic beast until it affects directly - and we hate losing. If the fins resort to their losing ways of the previous ten years, the fans will turn on them. Only when it hits their pockets will change occur.

One voice, two voices, three voices... whatever. The truth is this, Parcells is the prototypical benevolent dictator. He is a control freak's control freak. He is obsessed with one thing (i.e. football). He is a narcissist. He is not open to change (i.e. his way is the way)

Let's face it, he would be considered unhealthy by most therapists definition. BUT, he is also successful and he knows football talent when he sees it.

The sad an not surpising part, is this behviour has been copied because he has been successful - and those who have followed it have also been successful (e.g. Belly).

In the end, it proves to wear thin and eventually, Parcells leaves. Does he leave becaue he has done what he set out to do? No, because he hasn't won a Super Bowl since the Giants. Does he leave because he is close to the Super BOwl and the owner feels he can get it done without Bill and his dictatorship is threatened? Sometimes (look at Dallas). Or does he leave because he gets a more attractive offer elsewhere?

However, let's not pretend the press is blameless in this iron curtain behaviour. COaches are human and when the press gives its opinion - sometimes unflattering - the bunker mentality is learned as a form of preservation.

Ultmately, fans want to know about their teams. If the NFL doesn't encourage open communication with the press, fans will lose some interest.


I think in this day in age of the Internet and the NFL Network 24-7 it's a good thing to have teams on lockdown. The league is so competitive today and the teams are all looking for a competitive edge, any little advantage could be the difference between winning and losing. I like not knowing what the Dolphins are doing. If I don't know, it's likely other people have no idea idea and other teams have no idea and I like our regime to be able to outthink and out maneveur other organizations. I'm Armando is upset about it, it's simply sour grapes because it's making his job tougher.

I think it's a non-issue really. Much more troubling to me is the BIG BROTHER NFL approach to end zone celebrations, which fans really enjoy.


Mr Bungle , and then you wonder why nobody can stand you after a condescending post like that. Way to make friends by putting posters down , AZZWIPE.

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