Friday, December 16, 2005

What Makes a Good Coach?

My cousin and I had a “discussion” about NFL coaches last night, and the talk intrigued (annoyed) me. I shouldn’t be surprised by being annoyed when “discussing” certain subjects with my cousin, as she has also repeatedly defended Michael Jackson and his perverted escapades with children, claiming that even though he is eccentric and may step over the bounds of decency and, um, ethics with children, he is not guilty or at fault because he had a difficult childhood and his parents weren’t very nice. Arguing with her regarding this would be about as fruitful as arguing with a brick wall.

So, my cousin informs me last night that Andy Reid is a terrible football coach. Being a student of the game of football, I was thrown back by this statement. I thought maybe that she had perhaps forgotten about the past years in which Andy Reid has been head coach of the Eagles, or maybe that she had failed to realize that Reid was the coach since 1999 and not in fact a rookie coach. Armed with this knowledge, I tried to share it with her, informing her that Andy Reid had taken the Eagles to the NFC Championship game 4 years in a row, and even took them to a Super Bowl. She “reasoned” that he is a bad coach because he didn’t win the Super Bowl.

As ridiculous of a claim as this is, I decided to entertain myself by asking her who she thinks is a good coach. She said that Tony Dungy is a good coach. Now, I wouldn’t normally disagree with this assessment, but I was perplexed that she would anoint Dungy as a good coach even though he didn’t meet a single requirement she has for good coaches. In fact, I believe that Dungy never even made it to a championship game in his coaching tenure. I notified her of this, to which she shrugged and said he was different, so he does fit her “credentials.”

I decided to take a different path to try and discover just how many holes I could find in her argument. Since Super Bowl victories are at the top of her list for good coaches (or maybe not, who knows anymore), I asked her if she thought that Barry Switzer and Brian Billick were good coaches. She stared back at me with a glassy look. Then, I decided to ask her if Bill Bellicheck was a good coach, despite his Patriots struggling this season. Again, no response.

I thought that maybe now she would agree that Reid was a good coach, and of course I was wrong again. She said that he was not a good coach and the reason they won so many games was because of the quarterback. Seconds away from spontaneous combustion, I squeezed out the following question: Doesn’t Andy Reid have anything to do with how well the quarterback plays? Shockingly enough, her answer was yes and no. To the best of my recollection (insanity was slowly starting to creep in), her argument was that when the Eagles played well, McNabb was the reason, and when they played poorly, Andy Reid was the reason.

Because of rising blood pressure, and brain leakage out of my ears, I had to stop the dialogue there.


realityCheck21 said...

No long-winded explanation needed here - your cousin is a front-runner, obviously taken in by the Colts 13-0 record.

I'm sure that either her "criteria" would change or she would claim that Peyton Manning sucks as a QB should the Colts not go to the big game.

There are many things that make a coach a good one. Yes, there are weaknesses in Andy Reid's coaching, mostly related to playcalling and holding press conferences. However, his ability to keep the team unified and playing with heart (minus T.O., there is no hope for him) through difficulties and letdowns largely overshadows this and is key to the consistent success over the past 5 years.

Ink and Stone said...

Doesn't matter... they ALL suck.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I love your cousin, but she can be a few fries short of a Happy Meal when she says stuff like that.

Jeff said...

Where to start with all of this? ...

I like Tony Dungy. Tampa screwed him over -- Jon Gruden should thank Dungy every day for his Super Bowl ring. But what other "credentials" does Dungy have? He won as a player? He was a good assistant coach? He's well-spoken and humble? He's black?

You can ID a great football coach by his
* rolled-up pants
* black shoes
* tie (and no hat)
* Coke-bottle glasses

Andy Reid can't be a "terrible" head coach, because his parents raised him Mormon, and that has to be an awful childhood, so it's not his fault he hasn't won a Super Bowl.

Reverse said...

Did you mention that somewhere along the lines of 12-15 Eagles are out for the season????