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My Jim Zorn Moment

Oct 27, 2008, 3:00 PM EDT

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I nearly had the Jim Zorn moment that Ryan O’Halloran of the Times experienced after the Lions game.

In case you haven’t seen it, go to about the 2:00 mark in this video. You’ll see Zorn get annoyed at a series of followup questions by O’Halloran, who was trying to find out about Zorn’s thinking on the sequence at the end of the first half.


 

As you can see, Zorn gets angry and pounds his fist on the podium in frustration. As O’Halloran explains it in the WT, Zorn misunderstood exactly which series he was referring to in his questions. That led to the reporter rolling his eyes in frustration over his inability communicate to the coach and Zorn reacting in the way that he did.

I will vouch for Zorn’s occasional propensity to misunderstand questions. After the Rams game, I asked him if he planned to make a point of going to Pete Kendall and Leigh Torrence, who publicly would be wearing the goat horns, and give them a pat on the back and tell them to keep their chins up after making very visible errors that helped cost the team the game.

Zorn apparently thought that I had asked if he would go to each player and chastise him for making a mistake and he said, “I’m not going to single Pete Kendall out. How many times is that going to happen to him again in his life?”

“I could be smart alecky here and ask if you really fell I need to go to him and teach him how to react?” Zorn said, looking right at me in a tone of voice that was a cross between annoyed and bemused.

I then tried to clarify my question, saying that I just wanted to know how he handled such situations.

After a few seconds he got what I was talking about and said that his teammates would pat Kendall on the back plenty and give him enough encouragement. And then he said, “I’ll probably do that, too.”

Not to try to probe too deeply into Zorn’s mind here, but I think that he sometimes listens to the first few words of a question, decides what’s being asked, and starts to formulate his answer before listening to the rest of the question. In the case yesterday he heard something to make him think it was a different series. In my case I used the word “goat” in reference to some of his players and that got him off track for the rest of the question.

I’m sure that there will other such moments in the weeks, months, and years to come. Hopefully, those of us asking the questions will learn to get to the point up front. And maybe Zorn will learn to suffer through the verbose questions that we sometimes ask and get to the nut of the issue.

  1. Mark "Om" Steven - Oct 27, 2008 at 4:07 PM

    Looks like a win-win situation is brewing.

    One, as he’s shown elsewhere, Zorn will learn from his mistakes and refine his presser interaction skills.

    And two, you big mean “gotcha media” types will learn you better craft your postgame questions very carefully indeed, lest ye end up youtube-ized. :)

  2. Rich Tandler - Oct 27, 2008 at 5:05 PM

    And then we’ll all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”! :-)

  3. Mark "Om" Steven - Oct 27, 2008 at 6:02 PM

    Pretty interesting, actually. If a team is winning, this kind of stuff is an amusing sidebar. When a team is losing, though, it’s a sign of the seams coming apart.

    Al Davis has long since gone ’round the bend, but before he left he sure had it right:

    Just win, baby.

  4. Anonymous - Oct 29, 2008 at 7:41 PM

    just a little general commentary, Zorn is a football coach, i want him to give hasty and condesending reporters as little of his time as possible.

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