Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells. Hall of Famers all.
The three coaches who dominated the NFL in the 1980s and just beyond — Walsh coached the 49ers to three Super Bowl titles, Gibbs did the same with the Redskins, and Parcells won two with the Giants — are the subject of an outstanding new book by longtime Newsday columnist Bob Glauber.
“Guts And Genius” includes interviews with more than 150 people who had close contact with the men who outshined all other coaches as NFC teams won 13 straight Super Bowls. Walsh popularized the West Coast offense, Gibbs won his trio of titles with three different quarterbacks, and Parcells was a defensive mastermind and superb motivator.
“These three coaches did things differently, yet they all arrived at the same place multiple times — holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft after the Super Bowl,” Glauber says. “Walsh was the intellectual who could outthink his opponents. Gibbs was the master technician who was perhaps the best strategist ever by winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of whom was close to Hall of Fame quality. And Parcells was the Jersey guy bully who willed his teams to victory.
“These coaches brought out the best in their players, and those players developed lifelong affection for them. I found it astonishing how influential Walsh, Gibbs and Parcells were on their players, many of whom call the coaches the greatest influences of their lives.”
One oddity about each of the three is they all struggled to get or hold onto their head coaching gigs. Gibbs began his career with the Redskins by losing his first five games and six of seven in 1981. Parcells got the Giants job when Ray Perkins high-tailed to Alabama, and the Tuna then went 3-12-1, looking outmatched at times.
Walsh was bypassed for the Bengals’ pro job and wound up as coach at Stanford before the 49ers reached out.
Soon, they were earning championship rings.
Glauber goes deep in detail about how all three were hired, built their teams, and had a profound influence on the sport. Indeed, Walsh’s impact has been most profound, with such proteges as Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Mike McCarthy and Jon Gruden either winning or reaching Super Bowls.
“The impact of these coaches, particularly Walsh and Parcells, continues in today’s game,” Glauber notes, “and their fingerprints are all over the NFL. All 32 of this year’s coaches — every single one of them — has either a direct or indirect connection with Walsh and Parcells, whose coaching trees are among the most productive in the history of pro sports.”
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins took a shot at Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles while trying to make a point that Colin Kaepernick belongs in the NFL.
“I can turn on the tape this week of our opponent and see that Colin Kaepernick deserves a job,” Jenkins said.
Bortles was benched during Jacksonville’s third straight loss last week, but will start against Philadelphia in London on Sunday.
Jenkins, co-founder of The Players Coalition, has maintained support for Kaepernick and the quarterback’s friend and former 49ers teammate, Panthers safety Eric Reid. They’re all fighting against racial and social inequality. However, Kaepernick and Reid disagree with Jenkins on how to do it. Reid and Jenkins had to be separated before the coin toss of Carolina’s 21-17 win at Philadelphia. Afterward, Reid called Jenkins a “sellout.”
HALL HONORING THE MILITARY
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will provide free museum admission and parking to all veterans and active military plus a guest throughout November. The offer is good for all United States active duty personnel, including National Guard reservists and retired military service members who show a valid military ID at the Hall’s ticket office.
The Hall of Fame’s annual Veterans Day event takes place Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. EDT. This year’s program is entitled “Honoring the Nation’s Heroes” and will include U.S. Army veteran and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier.
Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl champion who overcame a severe foot injury, losing part of his right foot during his service in the Vietnam War, will share his story of service at the event. In addition, several Medal of Honor recipients will be on hand for the program in Canton, Ohio.
BREES BATTLES FOR INTERCEPTION
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been setting passing records through October. He’s also rooting for an interception.
Brees is working this year with the NFL and the American Cancer Society in their “Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer” initiative.
For the 10th year, the NFL and the ACS are working together in this program, which addresses early detection and risk reduction efforts for multiple cancers. Since 2009, more than $18.5 million has been raised and donated to ACS through the partnership.
As part of the campaign, the NFL and ACS created The Defender, a digital tool that provides consumers with personalized tips to reduce their cancer risk. The free, user-friendly tool allows fans to take control of their health and increase their understanding of how healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce their cancer risk.
A painting of Brees by Jon Moody is being auctioned off by the NFL to raise funds for “Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer.” In addition, a signed Brees helmet is being auctioned off .
Fans who complete The Defender will have the option to donate to ACS and enter for a chance to win two tickets to February’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, inclusive of travel and other Super Bowl-related events, as part of an ACS contest.
Was that field goal good? By how much?
NBC will let fans know exactly that in Sunday night’s strong NFC matchup between New Orleans and Minnesota, both division leaders. The new “SNF Kicks Tracer” can map the flight of the ball on all field goal attempts. The SNF Kicks technology will provide additional data, including trajectory, speed of the football, and a “good from” statistic indicating the furthest distance from which a made field goal would have been successful.
The “good from” metric will be used for made field goals of 45 yards or longer. It uses TrackMan technology that has been popularized by NBC Sports golf coverage, and determines how far the kick would have been good from by tracking the football from when it is kicked until it hits the net behind the goal posts.
“As we continue to use the most cutting-edge technology to enhance our ‘Sunday Night Football’ broadcast, we are excited to add the tracer to our coverage,” says Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of SNF. “With many games coming down to field goals, this new element will illustrate the flight of the football, while also providing many statistics pertinent to the kicking game.
“And field goals are only the beginning. By the end of the season, we hope to be showcasing the technology on kickoffs and punts, and eventually make our way to the passing game.”
I REMEMBER YOU
Few NFL head coaches have deeper ties than Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis. They both played at Idaho State, with Lewis a year ahead. Koetter was a high school quarterback when he first met Lewis on Idaho State’s field.
“We’d practice after them,” Koetter said. “He was the scout team quarterback. I’d watch Marvin my senior year. When I committed to go there, I originally thought Marvin and I would be in competition with each other, but Marvin moved to defense and had a terrific career as a defensive player.”
They became close friends and Lewis spent a lot of time with the Koetter family.
“It’s very unique, having sat in class with Dirk for years,” Lewis said. “I kind of grew up eating Thanksgiving dinner at his home, and I went to high school football games with his mother when his dad was coaching and his brother was the quarterback.
“So it’s a little bit unique.”
Their friendship extends beyond football.
“I was coaching high school and Marvin introduced me to my wife, Kim,” Koetter said. “I’ll be forever grateful.”
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Simmi Buttar, Rob Maaddi and Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed.
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