USC’s Catfishing Incident Exposes The Trojans Obsession With The NFL

If you've received any recent phone calls about the head coaching vacancy at the University of Southern California, please ignore those calls. Most likely, it's part of some sort of phone scam or a booster gone rogue. No really. Don't go on the Dan Patrick Show or put a school representative on speaker phone so your friends can listen in awe. You're not that good at Madden. It sounds like a joke, but this has really been happening.


USC athletic director Pat Haden said Monday that two people pretending to be representatives of his school have contacted two coaches and attempted to discuss the Trojans' coaching vacancy with them.

USC has identified the imposters and is taking "appropriate action," the school said in a blog post on its website.

Haden said somebody pretending to be a USC official repeatedly tried to speak to an unnamed member of the Denver Broncos' coaching staff about the opening. Jack Del Rio, the Broncos' defensive coordinator and the former Jacksonville head coach, is a former USC linebacker who has been linked to the job before Kiffin was hired and after he was fired.

Another phony school representative contacted Tony Dungy, the former Tampa Bay and Indianapolis coach. Dungy talked about his apparent contact with USC on a national radio show Monday, saying he turned down the representative and outlining what the Trojans need in a new coach.

Nobody is really sure if  Dungy and Del Rio were the only ones to get calls, but how awkward would it have been if they had said yes. What was the plan then? Have them fill out some paperwork for the University and then steal their identities? Begin to suck them into a lengthy long-distance affair over the phone as part of an elaborate catfishing hoax?

Anyways, this does beg two questions. First, after watching Tony Oh No! torch that Denver defense is Del Rio really the man they want to take over their program? (On the other hand if the Jacksonville Jaguars move to Los Angeles as many anticipate as an inevitability, Del Rio can take the reverse John Robinson route and get back in the Jags saddle).

Secondly, what is it about USC's obsession with the NFL? Did you notice the two men who came forward were former NFL head coaches? As the de facto pro franchise in the City of Angels, the Trojans have no use for college coaches apparently or gimmicky spread-option systems.

It didn't begin with Lane Kiffin. Their last four head coaches have taken the Red-Eye directly from the pro ranks to the USC campus. No other program has that track record. Pete Carroll was hired after an unsuccessful stint as Jets and Patriots head coach and his predecessor Paul Hackett was poached from the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff. The pre-Hackett era was led by aforementioned Oakland Raiders running backs coach John Robinson, who won eight of his nine bowl games while leading the Trojans to a pair of national runner's up finishes and a national championship in 1978. However, Robinson was actually hired twice. In 1982, Robinson was hired to become head coach of the Los Angeles-Anaheim Rams before he returned to the Trojans from 1993 to 1997.

Here's another warning to the Kevin Sumlin, James Franklin's and Steve Sarkisian's out there. If you receive any messages from Pat Haden reaching out about their head coaching job, just keep it moving they're probably not interested.