Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly has been taken to task by assorted denizens of the Candybehind Café for channeling the late legendary football coach John McKay by referencing a joke McKay once made about his team’s execution following its 41-38 overtime win over Florida State last Saturday.
As noted, McKay was a legendary football coach, albeit sometimes for the wrong reasons. This mostly stems from his stint as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach during their debut season, noticeable for how the team lost every single game. The team’s expansion status didn’t blunt McKay’s honesty nor diminish his sense of humor; when asked by a reporter about the team’s execution he replied, “I’m in favor of it.” Kelly’s version, given to ABC sideline reporter Katie George, was:
“I’m in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed after tonight. We just didn’t execute very well.”
According to the ESPN story, Kelly’s comment “immediately generated strong reaction on social media.” (So does Kylie Jenner wearing a bikini, but that doesn’t make it newsworthy.)
Among the butthurt brigade was one Doug Farrar at one of USA Today’s nine bajillion sub-sites, who somehow through his tears of outrage managed to type:
Kelly is also in charge of college kids who do not have a union, and who are generally powerless in the face of their coaches, while McKay’s NFL players at least had the benefit of that. Perhaps he should consider that before trying to channel the spirit of McKay in the future.
Or, perhaps Farrar should consider that these are young men who now have the option of licensing themselves to rake in the endorsement dollars.
The whine connoisseurs quickly dove into the fray:
uh.. what do we think of Brian Kelly's humor attempt? it's a twist on an old one liner, saying his whole team "should be executed." but this is '21.. yeah I don't think it works. It was a resilient W in very tough environment.
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) September 6, 2021
Brian Kelly did not execute that joke very well.
— Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) September 6, 2021
Brian Kelly really went there.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 6, 2021
In his postgame interview, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly tried paraphrasing a great old John McKay line about an all-time bad Tampa Bay team concerning "execution." Kelly's attempt fell flat, did not work. Hey, coach, your team JUST WON AT FLORIDA STATE. And that deserves "execution"?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 6, 2021
This is especially rich coming from Bayless, whose entire career has been built on saying the most outrageous anything that comes to mind.
To his credit, Kelly did not back down:
“It’s an old John McKay quote,” Kelly told reporters in Tallahassee. “I was kidding. It was tongue-in-cheek. It wasn’t funny? … I was talking and making a joke about it. It was taken serious? Are you people crazy?”
Kelly later added:
“It’s a John McKay quote that he used after a game,” Kelly said. “I was stealing one of his old quotes and being funny, because nobody likes to be funny anymore. If you want to take me to town on that, please do.”
As has been mentioned before on this site, comedy is a threatened art form even among the professionals. Woe be unto an amateur making a joke about most anyone or anything. However, Brian Kelly is made of sufficiently stern enough stuff to shake off the silliness. If you can handle the pressure of being Notre Dame’s football coach, Soyboy Sugarbritches from Buttercupville whining on Twitter is not registering on the concern meter.