Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Knock Knock...Who is there?...Read..Read Who...Read my book.

Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Won Three or More Championships examines the football lives of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL.  It's written by Patrick McCaskey, Senior Director of the Chicago Bears.  If you know Patrick, you know he is as enthusiastic about the Bears as he was when he joined the organization over 40 years ago when he graduated from Indiana University.  

One of the good things that happens when you are a football person and you work on a book like Pillars is that your appreciation of the men covered becomes ever greater and you also learn to value different approaches to the game.  

There are certain similarities between some of the coaches approach to the game. For example, Bill Belichick's serious, disciplined and well organized approach to team development is an awful lot like Paul Brown's. But you learn the differences as well. Brown was extremely well organized--so much so that he did not believe in long practices and lengthy nights for his coaches. I don't think Belichick agrees with that. And today there are many head coaches like Joe Gibbs whose assistant coaches work practically non-stop in extraordinary hours in preparation. 

Both Gibbs and Bill Walsh were said to be football geniuses.  Gibbs half time adjustments were famously productive and insightful. Walsh could make an apposing coach look silly, his game plans were so effective. But Gibbs was so confident in his management abilities that he started another sports career with his NASCAR team.  Walsh thought he quit the NFL too early and then he went back to coaching Stanford, but he worked a long time on a detailed football book called Finding the Winning Edge that can only be bought for hundreds of dollars today. 

George Halas like some other NFL founding fathers had to be concerned with the health of the league practically as much as their teams.  Only the Bears and the Cardinals survived since the first meeting at Ralph Hayes Hupmobile showroom in Canton, Ohio. Halas and Curly Lambeau had similar backgrounds in that they both were running their teams with survival as a premier objective and also actively being player-coaches the first decade of the league.  The differences though were many. 

I can go on and on, but you'll just have to buy yourself a copy of Pillars of the NFL for yourself.  Chances are  you will learn some things about some of the great coaches and maybe come to appreciate more the differences in approaches and how such varied approaches can work.