By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Never in my wildest imagination did I expect the amount of vitriol and backlash in response to my tweet about Joe Philbin having supposedly been offered and accepted the Iowa offensive coordinator job.
I posted Friday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that a source, whom in this case is highly credible for reasons that I can’t divulge, said that he was told that Philbin had agreed to become Iowa’s offensive coordinator.
This is exactly what I said: “I’ve been told today by someone who doesn’t spread rumors and who’s pretty well connected that Joe Philbin will be hired as the new offensive coordinator. Can’t say it with absolute certainty but it makes sense. This person claims it’s a done deal. Time will tell.”
I made a point to say that I couldn’t confirm this report with absolute certainty because I don’t believe anything is official at this point.
That’s partly because not enough time has been allowed for the search and interview process to play out.
Iowa only just recently posted the job opening online and it will have to be posted for at least two weeks before anything official could happen.
I was simply sharing a bit of information that I found credible and interesting, and yet, it triggered a firestorm of snark, accusations, hate, and ridicule.
I was accused of stealing information from previous reports on message boards that said Philbin had been offered and accepted the job.
The problem with that accusation is that I haven’t been on a Hawkeye message board for years, probably at least five years.
It’s just not my thing.
I was also accused of lifting the information from Wikipedia, which unbeknownst to me, had Philbin listed as the Iowa offensive coordinator in his profile.
The problem with that accusation is that I was unaware that Philbin’s Wikipedia page had been edited, and I would never use Wikipedia as a source.
It’s so easy to get on to Wikipedia to edit copy that Jim Hunter from KCJJ radio opened an account Saturday morning and then removed the part about Philbin being the Iowa offensive coordinator.
I was also accused of reporting hearsay and speculation, and spreading gossip, and that it was poor journalism.
The problem with that accusation is that I could have easily posted an article on Hawk Fanatic and teased fans by saying that I had a hot take about the offensive coordinator search to drive traffic.
I didn’t, though, because that would have been poor journalism.
Instead, I simply relayed what I was told, thinking fans might find it interesting.
So again, let me set the record straight that in no way am I saying that Iowa has officially hired Joe Philbin to replace Brian Ferentz as the offensive coordinator.
Do I believe that Philbin is a serious candidate for the job, and maybe even the favorite at this point?
In fact, if I had to make a prediction as to who Kirk Ferentz ultimately hires to replace his son, Philbin would be that person.
But that’s a lot different than saying he has been offered and accepted the job. I’m not ready to go that far yet.
The amount of vitriol directed at Philbin, who currently words as an offensive analyst for Ohio State, was also surprising because he is more than qualified for the job. If anything, he’s too qualified as a former two-time NFL head coach and offensive coordinator.
Kirk Ferentz will ultimately hire someone that he feels comfortable with both personally and professionally.
That’s why the rumor about Scott Frost being a candidate made no sense, while the 62-year-old Philbin makes perfect sense.
Philbin was an original member of Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa coaching staff, serving as the offensive line coach from 1999 to 2002.
The Iowa offensive line made incredible progress in the four seasons under Philbin, going from perhaps the biggest weakness on the team to one of its biggest strengths.
Offensive linemen such as Eric Steinbach, Robert Gallery and Bruce Nelson all flourished under Philbin.
Some fans seem to believe that hiring Philbin would show that Kirk Ferentz isn’t willing to evolve on offense and that he only wants to surround himself with like-minded thinkers.
Kirk Ferentz probably does want to surround himself with like-minded thinkers because Kirk believes that his way of playing offense can still work with better execution and with fewer injuries.
I think when Kirk Ferentz looks back at this season, he will defend his son by saying injuries kept the offense from reaching its potential.
And while there is some truth to that, the offense was also horrendous for most of the 2022 season.
I’ve already stated that I have no problem with the decision to move on from Brian Ferentz because he was given more than enough chances to fix the offense.
But never have I stated that Joe Philbin has been offered and accepted the job.
Others are saying that, but I’m just not ready to make that leap.
But when it comes to social media, and especially X, people are going to believe what they want to believe, even if it means ignoring and distorting the facts.
I also upset some fans by saying on X that hiring Philbin would make it easier for Brian Ferentz to accept the new circumstances, and I can see why that would upset some fans.
Because I agree with fans that Brian Ferentz shouldn’t have any say about who replaces him.
But this is a unique and awkward situation in which Kirk Ferentz has the difficult task of replacing his son, and that it’s hard to separate the father from the head coach in this case.
My guess is that Brian Ferentz respects and admires Joe Philbin and appreciates what he did to help Kirk Ferentz rebuild the Iowa program.
It doesn’t make getting fired any easier, but it could make moving on easier for Brian Ferentz.
And I think that matters to Kirk Ferentz, the father.
But that’s just my opinion.