Official Bears Thread #14 - Historic collapse complete, Lovie fired
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01-03-2013, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Originally Posted by
Because its a young mans game. It takes an energy and mental focus that an older person may not be able to handle. Plus has there ever been a coach that has ever got his first head coaching job at age 60? Bill Simmons had an entire thing about this
"For much of the 2006 season, Parcells stood on the sideline looking like the foreman of a hopelessly deadlocked jury, someone with no real hope of turning anything around. His team made too many mistakes, got flagged for too many killer penalties and gave up too many big plays. He pulled the trigger on the Bledsoe-Romo decision about three weeks too late. He couldn't prevent TO from being a constant distraction. Before the QB change temporarily turned Dallas' season around, reports trickled out that his friends and family were worried about his health and couldn't understand what happened to his legendary fire. Watching from afar, I found myself wondering the same thing. The 2006 version of Parcells paled in comparison with the Parcells from New England, the guy I remembered and loved, an abrasive, larger-than-life character who revived my favorite team in the mid-'90s before ultimately boning over the entire fan base like a wrestling heel. Watching the Dallas incarnation of Parcells was like watching Pacino in "Two For The Money." Yeah, it was Parcells ... but not really.
Then I realized something: He's old.
I know, I know ... we're not breaking any ground by calling a 65-year-old man "old." At the same time, we can make excuses and point to success stories like Dick Vermeil and Marv Levy, but the fact remains, most American males either retire between 55 and 65 or scale their responsibilities back to some degree. Why? Because they're freaking old!!!!!
For instance, Bill Parcells turned 62 three years ago. Think about that for a second. He can get into movies for half price. He can collect Social Security. He's old enough to remember when Rita Hayworth was hot. This guy should still be working 70-hour weeks, frantically constructing game plans for 13 to 17 teams in a four-month span, presiding over a 53-man roster and 10 assistants, handling a relentless media corps and passionate fan base, running mini-camps and training camps, scouting rookie prospects and signing free agents, balancing the competing egos and agendas of his offensive and defensive units, inspiring players who make more money than him, and dealing with lunatics like TO? Really? That sounds like the right job for a 65-year-old man? Shouldn't every head coach have a shelf life of 15-20 years and that's it? Bullfighters can hang around too long; so can wrestlers, porn stars, comics, TV executives, politicians, Supreme Court justices, even sports columnists. Why can't the same go for coaches?
This isn't about age as much as the demands of this particular profession. It's the hardest in sports, an incredibly complex, punishing, thankless job. Just look at the physical effects on head coaches who stick around for extended periods of time. Remember during the Dallas-Seattle game, when NBC ran a split-screen of Parcells and Mike Holmgren from the Packers-Patriots Super Bowl in '97, then followed it up with a live split-screen of them during Saturday's game ... and they looked a good 20-25 years older. It was positively creepy, right?
That's why, in Parcells' honor, I'm introducing the Speed Limit Coaching Corollary. If the coach of your favorite team is older than 55, or if your team is about to hire someone who's older than 55, there's a good chance you should start preparing for a frustrating stretch of football. Consider the following things:
• If you picked the best 2006 coaching jobs strictly in terms of "maximizing the talent on hand," any unbiased person would go with Sean Payton, Bill Belichick, Eric Mangini, Jeff Fisher, Lovie Smith and Brian Billick in some order. I would also include Mike McCarthy and Mike Nolan for overachieving with crummy teams, and we probably should include Andy Reid to be safe (even though he's overrated by the media and a notoriously bad clock-management guy). Anyway, every coach we just mentioned is younger than 55 years old; everyone but Billick and Belichick is younger than 50. There isn't a geezer on the list.
• The following "famous" coaches presided over underachieving, shoddy and/or terrible 2006 teams and peaked at least 7-8 years ago: Parcells, Coughlin, Denny Green, Joe Gibbs and Art Shell. All of them are older than 55.
• In the past three decades, seven famous 55-plus coaches were lured out of retirement or college and bombed miserably: Mike Ditka (Saints), Buddy Ryan (Cards), Tom Flores (Seahawks), Chuck Knox (Rams), George Seifert (Panthers), Steve Spurrier (Redskins) and Hank Stram (Saints). Three others acquitted themselves much better: Jim Mora (a 13-win season with the Colts), Dick Vermeil (a Super Bowl with the Rams) and Marty Schottenheimer (currently presiding over the Super Bowl favorite). Does a 30-percent success rate sound enticing to you?"
• Respected coaches like Tom Landry, Bud Grant, Don Coryell, Chuck Noll, Dan Reeves and Don Shula hung on with their longtime teams for 3-8 years too long (depending on the coach) before finally packing it in. All of them reached that "hanging on too long" point after hitting the 55-year mark.
Maybe coaching isn't a young man's game, but it's definitely a younger man's game. Read any story about a successful younger coach (Payton, even guys like Gruden, Belichick and Vermeil back in the day) and the same themes keep cropping up: These guys live for their jobs. They don't see their families. They work 80-hour weeks. They sleep on their office sofa. They get up at 3:30 in the morning looking for an edge. They watch so much tape their eyes glaze over. They aren't mellowed by trophies and awards or grandkids or swollen bank accounts. They're still hungry. They have something to prove. And given the demands of the job, wouldn't you need a never-ending wealth of energy to coach in the National Football League? You need to think fast, crack the whip, scream and yell, figure out enigmatic players in their 20s, keep burning that midnight oil, and evolve with the ongoing changes in the game ... the older you get, the harder it gets. You become stuck in your ways and more resistant to change. That's a terrible trait for an NFL head coach.
Two other factors come into play. First, who's going to work harder to prepare his team on a weekly basis -- a younger guy gunning for respect and a megacontract, or an older guy who already made $25-30 million in his career? And second, older coaches aren't nearly as intimidating as younger coaches because they always seem to have one foot out the door. They could leave because of TV opportunities (like Jimmy Johnson); because they're too old-school to deal with the newer generation of players (Coughlin); because they might not have the same fire anymore (Parcells and Gibbs); or because they're just plain old (Vermeil and Levy). But it's always something. Were the Giants and Cowboys naturally predisposed to being sloppy teams ... or were they poorly managed, poorly motivated, poorly prepared and going about their collective business without any real fear for their futures? You tell me."
You realize they're not playing it, they are coaching it. I don't buy any of this.
The biggest single reason you see younger coaches is cost, not quality of work. Three 1st time coaches since Dikta, no Superbowl wins. The main problem is the evaluation of talent & drafting.
Last edited by HawksFan74: 01-03-2013 at
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