Iowa sinks to nepotism low with Brian Ferentz contract changes

Infamous coach's kid Brian Ferentz has new contract parameters.

Infamous coach’s kid Brian Ferentz has new contract parameters.
Picture: Getty Images

Usually, when a football program has a competent coach who has become obsolete, the university will fire the coordinator most responsible for the failure. If only life were that easy for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The team is stuck in an offensive weakness (to put it mildly), but they can’t get Brian Ferentz out because his father is Kirk Ferentz, head coach. Instead, the school resorted to modifying his son’s contract with very low hurdles that even a Big Ten team should be able to clear.

Under the amended contract, Brian’s base salary will be $850,000. To maximize his earnings, the team must average more than 25 points per game and win at least seven of them. The latter is essentially a guarantee if he hits the former. Outside of the COVID season when they went 6-2, Kirk’s teams won at least seven games each year in which they averaged 25 points per contest.

The problem is that Iowa has never been super-interested in scoring and I doubt a few clauses will change that.

It is more existential than X’s and O’s

Kirk Ferentz’s teams aren’t explosive, creative or overly concerned with offense. The team’s brand of football is so risk-averse that it’s a wonder why they even bother to throw.

If I may offer a football analogy. Iowa approaches the game like Italy. Score only as much as you need, then place the bus in the middle of the field and win the score. While some fans in Iowa City may have come to appreciate that brand, the Hawkeyes will never be talented enough to consistently employ that approach. (To take the analogy a step further, there are a lot of college fansbases that, like the Brazilians, actively retreat when their team is not interested in the beautiful aspects of the game.)

Kirk’s philosophy will win you over in games, but it’s usually ugly and often unwatchable. Iowa has had a string of double-digit win seasons over the past 20 years. They also have several .500 or worse strums. I don’t care who calls it, it could be Kyle freaking Shanahan and the Hawkeyes would still be scoring around 30 points a game.

Brian Fehrenheimer

Nepotism in football is sickening for so many reasons, but I think my main concern — aside from qualified candidates being bypassed because their dad doesn’t care — is that the apple never falls that far from the tree. Not surprisingly, Kyle added what his father, Mike Shanahan, taught him. Father was an attacking guru in his own right.

However, Brian Shotenheimer is an example of a son who perpetuates his father’s, um, legacy. The the Cowboys’ new offensive coordinatorr runs the 2023 version of Dad’s unimaginative offense, and it will continue in Dallas until either he or Mike McCarthy gets fired.

The same thing will happen at Iowa because Kirk is too good a coach to fire, and he won’t ditch his offspring. The team could use those incentives because college football programs can roll out of bed and score 25 points a game, but they are not, and never will be, good on offense.

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