Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Picking a NFL Coach; No Easy Task

I read an article in a newspaper recently suggesting what the Bears have made mistakes in coach and GM selections.  It went on to give the writers view of what they should do now to select a new coach.  Having studied the Bears history for our book Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships, my advice is good luck.  There is no formula and no silver bullet.  You take your pick and hang on. 

George Halas was a very good coach.  And one of his greatest talents, was to keep looking for new help.  He'd coach and step aside for a while--come back.  He had friends in the college game that he he brought in and developed some great new programs.  Typically, he brought in some very rough players, but when he needed a brainy quarterback to run his modified T Formation, he brought Sid Luckman in from Columbia.  

Vince Lombardi was another coach that people gave high marks.  Lombardi was not huge on finding talent.  He did find some great players, but he impressed me as someone who took what was available and worked them harder than anyone thought possible and developed a team that way.  Could Lombardi have taken the Bears and driven them into a championship team in 2014?  Maybe? 

How much different was Bill Walsh?  Walsh was a quarterback guru who saw talent in a given quarterback rather than consistency.  And after a point he drove the talent to championships and frequently out thought his adversary. Would today's coaches want to face Bill Walsh?

Chuck Noll was another great coach.  Noll wanted a few players who would help him build his team and help drive the others to great performance.  In some ways the opposite of Lombardi, Noll would never call attention to himself. Noll's messages to his players were so simple, it's hard to call him a genius, but he was a man's man and his players respected it from him.

Paul Brown was the consummate organizer.  Every minute in practice was used wisely and he kept his coaching hours to a schedule.  He developed an organization that is exceptional and could produce winners year after year.

Joe Gibbs was a coach who was not outsmarted and he developed overachieving players and he also emphasized his offensive line like they were the stars. Gibbs Hogs opened holed for his rushers and won championships.  

Which of these coaches could win championships today with the Bears?  These men were very different. 

Take our quiz on the greatest coaches in NFL history here.

 See "The Day Dick Butkus Caught a Bobby Douglass Pass for the Win."