Bulls Eye for the Birds Eye By Bobby G Copperhead


I saw a well known sport network running a “Top 20 football head coaches of all time” spot.
How slow is the football news to direct time on a debatable topic subjective to fan favoritism
in a sport where injury changing momentum and home cooking officiating has every so often tarnished quality of only a sixteen game season and a one game elimination playoff system ?
How could anyone really pick the best, not high school but pro level,coach of all time ?
I thought of four categories that could be associated with all coaching as being Popularity, Legendary, Player Personnel and Titles to judge the controversial title.
If a vote count can cast a victor then Popularity wins. Most home coaches are loved by fans and many despised by rivals. John Madden may well be the most popular coach who did win a super bowl,
but his popularity stems more from years of colorful commentary, video games, fear of flying and
Turkey legs. Bias fans would scar the popularity category for sure.
A coach can get acclimates along with votes for being legendary, like Vince Lombardi for instance.
Vince is no doubt a legend, but what makes a legend is up for serious discussion. In 1961 the Vince led Pack won the seven team West division and beat the Giants in the Championship at the very end of December in Milwaukee. Wonder who was favored ? I remember at a young age thinking in 1967 what if, what would later be known as the ‘Ice Bowl’, was played in Dallas. Lombardi could win top spot in such contests but there are footnotes from a different era that make this category one of the more debatable.
Player personnel is the next category. Does the players make the coach or the coach the players ?
I’ll choose Chuck Noll and Bill Belichick in this category. It could be easy to pick great high school coaches, but when coaching pro level players there is a different view. Noll would not be on any fan or sports writers top three all time best list outside of Pittsburgh. Why ?
He won four super bowls in six years! Perhaps most will say this non flashy coach just had to run out on the field a defensive cast that was great and a offensive crew that was dangerous. Belichick on the other hand is considered genius, a coach who has won three super bowls in sixteen seasons among other things. But six of those head coaching years were in Cleveland, where he compiled a 36 – 44 record and was fired. Players or great coach problem ?
I argue at this level players make the coach more than the other way around and find evidence in that the three super bowl wins Bill obtained were all won by a field goal and he has not won that game without long
departed field goal kicker Adam Vinatieri. Last category is Titles. Winning is truly everything in pro sports.
Curly Lambeau won six football titles and has a historical stadium bear his name, but he was number 10 on the list and just two ahead of Madden. Was it because it was a more one dimensional game at his time ? If winning is everything then six titles should be ranked higher than tenth, or was the ballot stuffed with bias unknowledgeable favoritism as if in equal to an American Idol show?
Attention to one Mike Smith, Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The birds own Smitty. He is as popular as any coach in Atlanta not named Cox, and has gained favorable and respected tags from outside of Georgia.
Legendary ? In the Falcons forty seven year Smith history, ( from Rankin to Mike ), he is the very best head coach the team has ever had. Five winning seasons, two titles, four playoff appearances, and a .700 regular season percentage. In 2012 Smith reached 50 wins in his 71st game, third best since the AFL-NFL merger. Players and personnel ? Mike Smith has some great players and a solid staff helping him, but it’s too early to cast hall of fame ballots and I will simply state that Smitty keeps a nice nest and his one game next step approach has given wings to the franchise. Last category is Titles, the toughest mark to obtain.
Mike Smith already has the same number of Bowl wins as Marv Levy and Bud Grant. He has been a head coach for only five years and he has time on his side to achieve the highest goal, as his falcons sit on a pretty high perch for the upcoming 2013 season. Unlike a seven game world series, football’s playoffs are sometimes determined by data and some luck too enormous to list here. But in dissecting head coaches, the top Birds eye on the field, is a stellar Bulls eye for the team.