Kliff Kingsbury

USA Today

Kliff's Cellphone Breaks

Outrage coming.

March 27, 2019 - 10:08 am

THE most polarizing thing from the NFL meetings isn’t the rule change to make pass interference reviewable, although that is a thing and I’ll get to that later. Nope, the most polarizing news is coming from Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

And it has nothing to do with quarterbacks. And everything to do with cell phones.

Are you ready for this?  If you’re someone who generally freaks out and loses your bleep, Kliff’s about about to blow your mind.

He is going to allow players “cellphone breaks” during meetings. You heard me. Cellphone breaks. Breaks where they can use their cellphones. Every 20 to 30 minutes!!!!!



Because Kliff went there. He’s letting grown ass, paid professional, break to check their phones every 20-30 minutes. Damn! The world is officially. Coming to an end. I mean, what the hell, right??!? How soft has this world gotten where folks can’t go 20 or 30 minutes without checking their phones. Especially professional freaking athletes. 


The way people are reacting, and throwing around the word “soft,” you would’ve thought that Kingsbury had just said that he told his defense not to tackle opposing running backs. But he didn’t. He just talked about a different way of running meetings. 

And if your rage is bubbling right now, here’s more from Kingsbury to put it over the top: "You start to see kind of hands twitching and legs shaking, and you know they need to get that social media fix, so we'll let them hop over there and then get back in the meeting and refocus."

Did you hear that? He’s talking about hands twitching and legs shaking, and then used the word “Fix.” Like it’s a drug. Like it’s a cigarette break. Man, its digital nicotine…ever seen losers who smoke, choking down their heaters in that designated smoker area before that five hour flight. Or the sprint to get off that five other flight so they can jam four cancer sticks in their face at once: that face that now looks like a catcher’s glove. That’s what we’re talking about here, right?

Because that’s pretty much what this is. We don’t need to get all scientific with it and talk about the chemical reaction in your brain when you get message or an alert, but it’s similar to a drug.

So Kliff isn’t running a DARE program to get his guys off the drug, he’s working with what he’s got.

“I think coming from the college ranks to obviously, those young men, it's got to be quick hitters, 20 minutes at a time, give them a break and get them back in. We want to make sure that when we have them, they're focused, and they're locked in, and we're maximizing their time. So if we've got to split it up or have shorter meetings, that's what we do."

Again, how soft, right?

Bear Bryant wouldn’t have done this. Knute Rockne wouldn’t let his guys jump on Twitter every twenty minutes.

I bet you’re wrong. I bet if Rock thought that letting his guys take a telegram or carrier pigeon break every twenty minutes would’ve led to another win or two, he’d be handing out Morse Code manuals.

But even so, if you still want to do the lazy thing and freak out and call people soft, if you want to email your freakout, I’ll start it for you: ‘Dear Rome, If I had their job, I would be able to focus for more than 20 minutes without getting on my phone. In my day, I could show up to my job and work eight hours without checking my phone.’

Right, grandpa, and that’s because your phone was nailed to the wall and there was nothing to check. What were you going to check? The dial tone? Or just call time and temperature to get…the time and temperature?

Before you send that email, answer me this, Mr. or Ms Tough As Nails: when did you last check your phone? When did you last check Facebook or Twitter or send an email or text? Was it within the last twenty or thirty minutes? I bet it was.

Did you bring it to the bathroom with you? I bet you did.

I’d ask you to dial back your freak out about how the kids of today are so soft and coddled, but that won’t happen.  

This is just going to be lazily tagged with an overused term that’s applied to a particular group of young people. And it will be added to the list of things that young people are killing. They’ve killed starter homes, casual dining restaurant chains, cereal, bars of soap, and now long meetings.

And to that I say: great. Thank you.

When was the last time you were in a three hour meeting without a break and thought, this is great. I’m really enjoying all 180 minutes of this and my mind hasn’t wandered at all.

Answer: never.

And even if you were in that meeting and thought to yourself that it was great that your mind hadn’t wandered for the last three hours, you were lying, because your mind was wandering then.

Seriously, are long meetings that important to you? Is that the hill you really want to climb and plant your flag on?

That’s it, Rome. I’ve been listening for fifteen years, but I’m out. When you took a run at long meetings, that was too much. There are some things we hold sacred in this world and the importance of three hour meetings with agendas that take up multiple pages is one of those things. There are certain lines you do not cross and you’ve crossed the line. I’m changing my station because I don’t want to hear you take a run at Powerpoint next. 

Cool. Change your station. If this is where you draw the line, that’s great.

Look, if you want to have a larger discussion about how technology is killing our attention spans and how we can’t focus on something for more than 20 or 30 minutes a time, you can have that. It’s real.

But Kliff Kingsbury isn’t in that business. It’s not his job to solve attention spans, it’s his job to communicate to people and he’s trying to find the best way to do it.

What is the point of having a three hour meeting or even a one hour meeting if everyone starts to zone out after 20 or 30 minutes? From that moment on, you’re getting diminishing returns.

So why fight that? If you think they can’t maintain focus for 30 minutes, don’t force it. Figure it out and shake it up. 

The Cardinals hired him to be different and he’s being different. That’s the point. They didn’t hire him to be just like everyone else.

Does it mean that it will translate into wins? Impossible to say at this point, but I’m not going to freak out just because it’s different.