The Unusual Suspects: Part One
Another year, another round of "Fire Andy" chants. Such is life for the Philadelphia Eagles fan. Admittedly, I've always had a morbid fascination with the NFL "Coaching Carousel." Its always a real treat to see what "hot-shot assistants" are going to go resurrect a painfully bad franchise (in most cases, resurrection = 3 years of 4-12, followed by the whole thing perpetuating itself all over again) and which 7-9 head coach is going to be retreaded for a 4th time by some 7-9 franchise. Fascination aside, I have always steadfastly believed that the Eagles should stay OFF the carousel, despite what a vocal minority of passionate (nee: stupid) fans say. This season, however, my opinion has changed. From the personnel decisions (Just a Bit Outside listeners know how I feel about Juan Castillo's hiring...) to the in-game strategy, Big Red has failed in just about every aspect this season. No longer do I consider the the contingency of fans begging for Andy's departure to be one big ol' garden of stupid flowers. In fact, I'm cultivating the garden now. But as any gardener would tell you (I suppose, I've never met one...), there's always going to be some weeds. And right now, its time to pluck 'em.
Who are these "weeds" I speak of, you may ask? Why its my old friends The Cowher-ites and the Gruden-aholics. Invariably, every time someone says "FIRE REID", someone will shout back "HIRE COWHER" or "GRUDEN OR WE RIOT!!!" Over the course of a few blogs, I'm going to be asking one question...Why? Because they both won Super Bowl championships? Before we break down their individual careers, let me give you a history lesson. If you took all of the Lombardi Trophies won by coaches who had already guided a different team to a Super Bowl and put them into one big trophy case...you'd have the Philadelphia Eagles trophy case. Its never happened before. Not once. Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren were the most successful "Super Bowl Rebound Girl" coaches, guiding both of their next teams (Patriots and Seahawks, respectively) to Super losses, which is much more than we can say for George Seifert: Panthers Head Coach ( 16-32 , 0 playoff berths), Mike Ditka: Saints Head Coach (15-33, 0 playoff berths), and Tom Flores: Seahawks Head Coach (14-34, 0 playoff berths). Before you get all HOT UNDER THE COLLAR, claiming that the game had "passed those guys by!", I'd like to call to your attention to the fact that Mr. Cowher has been away from the game for LONGER than any of the aforementioned gentlemen were. Are there some coaches who have found moderate success? Sure! Jimmy Johnson had a couple of nice seasons as the head man of the Dolphins, but never found any success past the divisional round. Dick Vermeil went 13-3 once with KC, before losing in the (you guessed it!) divisional round. For a more recent example, go ask a Redskins fan how much FUN it is to have a former championship coach running your squad. If you do, prepare to be spat upon. Point is this, Sally: Retreading "Super Coaches" isn't the answer. Never has, never will be. In fact, history says that hiring a LOSING Super Bowl coach (see: Shula, Don and Vermeil, Dick) means a brighter future than hiring a winning one! If that's the case, I'm pretty sure Jim Caldwell will be available this offseason! And instead of playing "Count the Throat Clearings" during post-game, we can play "Count the Dead-Eyed, Blink-less Stares" during the game!!! Sounds fun!!!
Join me for Part II tomorrow, wherein we'll take a gander at the individual careers of Cowher and Gruden and judge whether or not they are worthy of the breathless, borderline romantic praise they receive.