Great Moments in Press Conference History: Jim Mora
To Jim Mora Sr.’s credit, he did coach some very good football teams in his NFL career. He had a 125-106 record in his career that included two division champions. Unfortunately, he could never muster any kind of success in the postseason, sporting an 0-6 career record. His career as Indianapolis Colts head coach lasted four seasons and was an up-and-down tenure to say the least, finishing with records of 3-13, 13-3, 10-6 and 6-10 from 1999-2001. Despite these failures, Mora will not be remembered for them. His priceless rant after a Nov. 25, 2001 loss against the San Francisco 49ers that stemmed from a single dumb question by a reporter is the moment in his career that will live on forever. Usually the catalyst for these types of outbursts, a reporter asked Mora if the Colts, 4-6 after the loss, still had a shot at the playoffs. Mora’s response became an instant classic that is replayed pretty much anytime a story involving angry coaches and press conferences comes out.
It started with this rant about his team, which had just lost in embarrassing fashion, committing five turnovers:
“Well, I’ll start off by saying this: do not blame that game on the defense, OK? I don’t care who you play — whether it’s a high school team, a junior college team, a college team — much less an NFL team. When you turn the ball over five times — four interceptions, one for a touchdown, three others in field position to set up touchdowns — you ain’t going to beat anybody I just talked about. Anybody. All right? And that was a disgraceful performance in my opinion. We threw that game. We gave it away by doing that. We gave them the friggin’ game. In my opinion, that sucked. Ah. You know? You can’t turn the ball over five times like that. Holy crap! I don’t know who the hell we think we are when we do something like that. Unbelievable. Five turnovers. One of them for — We’ve thrown four interceptions for touchdowns this year. That might be an NFL record! And we’ve still got six games left, so there’s no telling how many we’ll have. That’s pitiful! I mean, it’s absolutely pitiful to perform like that. Pitiful!”
Mora doesn’t do anything morally wrong here. He doesn’t throw anyone under the bus. Yes, he points out Peyton Manning’s four interceptions that day, but doesn’t place all the blame for those plays on him or anyone else. He stresses that “WE” threw the game. He is placing as much blame on his own shoulders as he is on the players.
That said, let’s get to the big moment. After that rant (seen in the video in full), a reporter asked Mora if the Colts still had a shot at the playoffs. Not only was it a stupid question at that point of the season, it came immediately after Mora had just ranted on how pitiful his entire team was. What other kind of reaction could the reporter have been expecting? Well, if he wanted an outburst from Mora, than he executed his plan to perfection.
Mora had good reason to be upset after that loss; coming off a 23-9 record the previous two seasons and going into the season with Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James just entering their primes, who wouldn’t be flabbergasted by a 4-6 record after 10 games?
Mora was canned after the season and hasn’t been back to the NFL since. He had a brief career as a commentator for the Fox network before he was fired for controversial remarks about Michael Vick. Turns out Mora was wrong about Vick; he wasn’t a coach-killer, he was an animal killer. But unlike Vick, Mora never did anything horrible enough to tarnish his reputation. He’ll forever be remembered for losing his cool and giving that classically incredulous remark, not something one can be overly disappointed about. It’s probably better for him in the long run, because maybe we’ll all actually forget about the 0-6 playoff record.
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