Cool Titans general manager Jon Robinson recently let us in on a little secret: The kids like Jay Z.
"I'm an eclectic music guy, I listen to rap, I listen to country, I listen to rock, I listen to everything," he said, via ESPN.com. "I try to stay hip on all of the stuff. So that when I walk by somebody and they had a bad practice, I might say, 'Hey, it's like Jay Z, we're 'On to the Next One.' And that resonates with him. He looks at me like, 'All right, this guy's kind of hip.' I think that's important.
"I think Jay Z's got it down."
Our hope is that this sounded a little cooler in person than it does in print. At first glance, it has the trappings of Dr. Evil awkwardly approaching Scott whilst doing the Macarena. Hey Marcus Mariota, sorry we got on you after that bad game last week. "Is it too late now to say sorry?"
On one hand, it reminds us of this awful trend that involves coaches and executives tailoring their approach to millennials. The 49ers were one culprit last year, and changed everything from meeting times -- young people don't like meetings! -- to alert systems to keep players up to date. The whole cottage industry based on assumptions and generalizations seems forced and uncomfortable -- how would you actually feel if someone came up to you and said "Hey, like Jay Z said, 'On to the next one!'"
On the other, we have absolutely no grounds to criticize Robinson in Nashville, and he doesn't seem like any of those detached, new-wave CEO-types. As corny as his aforementioned quote sounds, it seems to be coming from a genuine place. The new GM has been nothing short of a rock star for a franchise that has been waiting a long time to feel like they are on the come-up again. While he prefers coach Mike Mularkey be the voice of the team, Robinson has been present, candid and generally enjoyable to watch over his first few months in office.
"The one thing that I had to learn early on as a young football coach was how to coach different personalities," Robinson said. "Some you've got to coach hard, some you can't coach hard, some need a lot of individual attention. There are a ton of different personalities that you have to deal with from a coaching standpoint: a) when you're on the field, b) when you're in the classroom and, c) when you're interacting with them on a daily basis."
And maybe this is the core of his success. Like Pete Carroll in Seattle or Bill Belichick in New England, understanding that the team is made up of 53 individuals is paramount to success.
Robinson might have 99 problems, but getting along with his players isn't one (I'm so sorry).