Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

RiceSid07.jpg

» Sidney Rice: What Could Have Been?

Sidney Rice has retired. Is he the most random single-season DYAR leader ever? One-year wonder? Injury prone? We offer a career retrospective for the second-best wide receiver named Rice in NFL history.

12 May 2006

Every Stat Tells a Story: The Sacked-and-Looted 1986 Eagles

by Mike Tanier

(EVERY STAT TELLS A STORY is a new occasional off-season feature telling the tale behind some of the strange, quirky stats that we find when poring through the NFL records researching our other articles. If you would like to recommend a weird stat or good story for this feature, please contact Mike Tanier through our contact form.)

For an NFL offense, allowing five sacks is an embarrassment, allowing ten a catastrophe. It's hard to imagine a team averaging 6.5 sacks allowed per game, or allowing 10 or more sacks four times in a season.

But the 1986 Eagles did just that; they set an NFL record by permitting 104 sacks in one season. The story of how they did it – and how their quarterbacks survived – starts with the hiring of one the NFL's all-time mavericks as the Eagles head coach.

Buddy Ball

The Eagles of the mid-1980s were a franchise in disarray. Dick Vermeil burned out after the 1982 season. Then-owner Leonard Tose was going broke. After almost moving the franchise to Phoenix, Tose sold the team to Norman Braman. Braman kept the team in Philly, but after suffering through a season with Marion Campbell coaching, he was determined to breathe life into the organization.

Braman found a potential savior for the Eagles in Buddy Ryan, the brash, tough-talking defensive coordinator who helped the Bears win Super Bowl XX. Ryan was the architect of the 46 defense, a blitz-happy scheme that made the 1985 Bears defense one of the best in league history. After the Super Bowl victory, Ryan was carried off the field on his players' shoulders alongside head coach Mike Ditka. Here was a charismatic coach that could turn the Eagles around after four years of doldrums.

Ryan quickly realized after he arrived in Philly that he had very little talent at his disposal on either side of the ball. His quarterbacks were 35-year-old Ron Jaworksi and second-year pro Randall Cunningham. Jaworski, a cannon-armed leader earlier in his career, had taken a tremendous pounding in recent seasons; the Eagles allowed 60 sacks in 1984 and 55 in 1985. Cunningham made a splash as a rookie with his uncanny scrambling ability, but he completed just 42 percent if his passes in 1985 and threw just one touchdown against eight interceptions.

Ryan wanted to make wholesale changes, starting under center. He engineered an off-season trade for Matt Cavanaugh. The price was steep: a third-round pick in 1986 and a second-rounder in 1987, all for a 29-year-old best known as Joe Montana's backup, a guy who could never win a starting job from Steve Grogan in New England.

Cavanaugh was immediately named the starting quarterback. Jaworski, meanwhile, held out for a new contract. Ryan continued to make sweeping changes, releasing some veterans while benching others. He also cleaned house on the coaching level, retaining just one Campbell assistant: offensive line coach Ken Iman, whose units had been less than impressive in recent years.

Line of No Credit

Cunningham had been the Eagles second-round pick in 1985. Their first-round pick was Kevin Allen of Indiana, who was supposed to be the team's starter at left tackle for the rest of the decade. The anchors of the 1980 NFC championship line – Stan Walters, Jerry Sisemore, Guy Morriss – were long gone. Guard Ron Baker was one of the few holdovers from that team. The team needed fresh bodies on the line, and they were counting on Allen to develop quickly.

Allen was a bust. He held out of camp, foreshadowing the contract problems that would haunt the Eagles during Braman's regime. He was thrown into the lineup at left tackle after only 10 days of practice as a rookie in 1985. He faced All-Pro Leonard Marshall in his first game, allowing three-and-a-half sacks. Four games and 8.5 sacks allowed into the 1985 season, Allen was benched.

Things went from bad to worse for Allen when Ryan arrived in 1986. The big tackle complained of frequent dehydration problems in training camp. He quickly fell into the new coach's doghouse. During July two-a-days, he actually slept through a morning session. The Eagles put him on the trading block. Late in camp, he was put on the PUP list with an unspecified ailment.

Allen wasn't the only lineman to incur Ryan's wrath. Center Mark Dennard, a former starter, was released in the spring. Steve Kenney, a passable journeyman, was cut near the end of camp. The Eagles broke camp with Tom Jelesky, Baker, Gerry Feehery, Ken Reeves, and converted defensive tackle Leonard Mitchell as the starting line. Only Mitchell and Baker were over 25 years old.

On September 1st, 1986, early on a Sunday morning, Allen and a friend attacked a Massachusetts woman and her boyfriend on the beach in Margate, New Jersey. The man was beaten up badly; the woman was sexually assaulted. Allen was still on the PUP list in when the Eagles released him in mid-October, just days before he was charged with rape.

Strange Days

Jaworski's summer holdout lasted just five days. Once he arrived in camp, it was clear that he was a better quarterback than Cavanaugh. Still, Ryan waited through four preseason games – three of them sloppy losses – before conceding that his expensive acquisition would sit on the bench behind the creaky incumbent.

Ryan made many strange decisions in his first training camp. He gave his neighbor, 275-pound Gary Bolden, a tryout as a kickoff specialist, dubbing him "The Kicking Mule." Bolden was gone by mid-August, but Ryan was making waves, cutting veterans like Kenney while demoting popular veterans like RB Earnest Jackson, TE John Spagnola, and WR Kenny Jackson. Jackson had rushed for 1,028 yards in 1985, but neither he, first-round pick Keith Byars, nor second-round pick Anthony Toney would start the season opener at running back. Instead, two unheralded rookies named Junior Tautalatasi and Mike Waters had earned starting jobs based on impressive camp performances.

Ryan boasted that the Eagles would go 8-0 in the NFC East, despite the presence of great Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins teams. But as he assembled a team of rookies and youngsters, it became clear that his predictions were a smokescreen for a massive rebuilding project. And he had more tricks up his sleeve. In the week of practice before the opener against the Redskins, Ryan refused to let television cameras record Cunningham when he practiced. Was Jaworski merely a beard starter? Would Cunningham, whose only starting victory in 1985 was against the Redskins, get the call instead?

As it turned out, no one could have predicted what Ryan was concocting.

Three QB Monty

The Eagles lost their 1986 opener in Washington 41-14. The stats were grisly: 95 yards in penalties, two turnovers, a blocked punt, six sacks. The offense was terrible, but Ryan's vaunted defense was even worse, getting scorched several times for long touchdowns.

Jaworski started the game, but Ryan soon unveiled his unlikely new scheme to the world: the fleet-footed Cunningham replaced the wooden veteran in third-and-long situations where the youngster's scrambling would presumably put the defense on its heels.

The results weren't initially disastrous. Cunningham ran for two first downs, gaining 31 yards, and also converted one third down by actually throwing a pass. But he was also sacked twice, and his attempt to quick-kick out of a second-and-40 situation grazed Ron Baker's back, giving the Redskins great field position.

Ryan was forced to fiddle with his lineup in mid-game against the Redskins. Left tackle Jelesky was useless against Dexter Manley, allowing several sacks and amassing 40 yards in penalties before getting yanked in favor of Joe Conwell, best known as the brother of a local rock singer. One week later, Waters and Tautalatasi were benched. Byars and Michael Haddix were given starting jobs in the backfield, Haddix because he was an effective pass blocker.

Ryan added a further wrinkle to his three-QB shuffle in a Week 2 loss to the Bears: Cavanaugh was sent into the game instead of Cunningham when Jaworski got hurt late in the game. Cavanaugh promptly threw an interception. Cavanaugh was also called off the bench to run the quarterback sneak on third-and-short. Ryan was shuffling his passers the way some teams shuffle running backs.

The quarterback rotation continued into Week 3 against the Broncos, when Bob Griese, then an NBC announcer, got his first look at the system in action. After watching Cunningham enter the game cold on third-and-long, misread the defense, and throw a pass that was returned for a touchdown by Denver's Mike Harden, Griese condemned the strategy. "This third-and-long can't do anything but hurt his confidence," said Griese, convinced that Cunningham was picking up bad habits. "Jaworski is a fine quarterback; he can get the job done." With little else to talk about in what became a 33-7 Broncos rout (John Elway left the game early in the third quarter), Griese kept ripping Ryan's strategy, reacting in shock and amusement when Cunningham was called upon to convert fourth-and-8 and a second-and-23 situations.

The Eagles were awful on offense in that game, fumbling five times, allowing an interception return touchdown and a safety. But they allowed just four sacks. They weren't yet on pace to smash the NFL sack record.

Giants and Cowboys

The Eagles won two straight games after the Broncos loss, including a convincing 16-0 win over the Falcons. The defense was starting to come together, and the offensive line held its own against two decent teams.

Then Lawrence Taylor and the Giants came to town. They racked up six sacks, knocking Jaworski down 13 times and forcing the QB out of action with a bruised elbow. What's worse, Feehery, who was coming into his own as a starting center, was injured in a pileup.

The game was a highlight reel for Taylor and an embarrassment for the Eagles. Ryan said later that only Baker and Haddix graded out as adequate on game film. Byars was so inept that when he tried to cut block Taylor, the linebacker just hurdled him and flattened Jaworski.

The Cowboys came to Philly the following week. The score was closer – a 17-14 loss for the Eagles – but the sack carnage was worse. Cavanaugh, pressed into action in place of Jaworski, was sacked three times. Cunningham, going from third down specialist to Cavanaugh's replacement, was sacked seven times. The 10 sacks were the most the team had allowed since 1983.

Ryan listed who was responsible for each sack after the Cowboys game. Cunningham was culpable for 3.5 sacks because he held the ball too long. Cavanaugh was accountable for two sacks. Baker was victimized for two. The others were blamed upon a variety of culprits, from Byars to receivers who blew routes. Mark Dennard, Feehery's replacement, got off clean, but his bad snaps led to two missed field goals.

Jaworski would return, but not for long. He led the team to a win over the Chargers and a loss to the Cardinals, with Cunningham still riding shotgun on third downs. "Poor Randall Cunningham," announcer Merrill Reese would intone when Cunningham entered the game on third-and-25. When the Eagles next met the Giants, Bill Parcells' team racked up seven more sacks, three by Taylor. Jaworski injured his hand in the third quarter. Gamely, Jaws finished the offensive series before leaving the game. The Eagles' starter for nearly a decade, he would throw his final passes for the team with swollen, knotted fingers.

It was clear that Cunningham was his own worst enemy, holding the ball forever and trying to dance out of every tight spot. But Ryan had seen enough of Cavanaugh. Cunningham would replace Jaworski as the Eagles' starter. The sack record wouldn't be broken; it would be obliterated.

Records Shattered, Randall Splattered

Cunningham made his first start of the 1986 season (the second of his career) against a Lions team that had sacked just 16 quarterbacks in 10 games. They recorded 11 sacks against the Eagles: ten of Cunningham and one of Byars, who proved that even running backs weren't safe if they dared to attempt a halfback option pass. The Eagles lost 13-11 on a last-second Lions field goal set up by a Cunningham fumble.

The NFL record for sacks allowed at that time was 70, set by the 1968 Falcons. The Eagles had allowed 64 sacks with five games left to play. And the situation was deteriorating: right tackle Leonard Mitchell was hurt against Detroit.

As the record approached, the Eagles linemen got touchy. "Record? You want a bleeping record? Give me a Van Halen record," reserve guard Nick Haden told the Philadelphia Daily News. Left tackle Ken Reeves tried to put the high sack total in perspective. "I think out of the 64 sacks we have, that the offensive line has given up 26," he said in the same article.

Reeves had a point. A total of 27.5 sacks against the Eagles were recorded by non-defensive linemen, a sign that the collection of rookie runners – Byars, Tautalatasi, Anthony Toney, Waters – were incapable of blitz pickup. And as Ryan's itemized list against the Cowboys showed, it was clear that the QBs were holding the ball too long, or in Cunningham's case, pirouetting around with it too much.

Whatever the cause, the problem kept getting worse. The Eagles surrendered nine more sacks against the Seahawks in their next game. The sack record was smashed. "It doesn't mean a damn thing to me. Not a damn thing," Conwell said after the game.

The Eagles allowed 11 more sacks against the Raiders the next week, yet still hung on to win. That was followed by a 10-sack day by the Cardinals in an ugly 10-10 tie. For four straight weeks, the Eagles helped their opponents enjoy a season high in sacks. Cunningham sprained his thumb in the Cardinals game, forcing Cavanaugh into the lineup the next week.

Cavanaugh delivered a win against the hated Cowboys: a sign that the Eagles, defensively at least, were starting to come together. But Cunningham was back the following week, and he couldn't hold onto a 14-0 lead that was handed to him by the turnover-happy defense. Early in the fourth quarter, while trying to protect a one-TD lead, Cunningham endured his 71st and 72nd sacks of the year, the 103rd and 104th for the team, on back-to-back plays. The Redskins benefited from the resulting field position and scored on the next series. A 17-14 win ended the Eagles season at 5-10-1.

A few days later, Ryan called the team's offensive line its "biggest disappointment," saying that they had to get technically better and "a little bit meaner." Offensive line coach Ken Iman was let go. Jelesky had been waived during the season. Allen's trial dragged on. Ryan's first offseason personnel change was another eccentric move: defensive tackle Reggie Singletary would move across the ball to compete for a tackle spot.

And despite the fact that he was sacked every fourth time he dropped back to pass, Cunningham was handed the Eagles permanent starting job for the 1987 season.

A Lasting Record

Ryan and Cunningham are inexorably linked in the minds of Eagles fans, two individuals known for mixing brilliance with colossal idiocy. Cunningham would soon be dubbed "The Ultimate Weapon" by Sports Illustrated. Ryan would become the most controversial coach in the NFL. They would make the playoffs together three times, thanks in large part to the breakout star of that 1986 team, ex-USFL defensive end/tackle Reggie White. But Cunningham wouldn't win a postseason game until after Ryan was fired.

Jaworski played a few more seasons with the Chiefs and Dolphins; he is now one of the most respected NFL journalists in the business. Cavanaugh is a successful coach. Despite his rocky start, Byars would earn a reputation as one of the best blocking running backs in the league. Still, it was Cunningham, not Byars, who often led the Eagles in rushing.

Allen's trial dragged through the 1986 season. He eventually pleaded guilty to the sexual assault. On June 19th, 1987, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. "When I went down to the beach I was only trying to relieve some of the pressures I was facing at the time," he told the judge before being led off in chains.

None of the 12 lineman who played for the 1986 Eagles would go on to lengthy careers. By 1988, only Baker, Darwin, and Reeves were still with the team. Ryan would struggle to scratch together a line every year, acquiring veterans like Ron Heller, Dave Remington, and Ron Solt. But while the team got better, the offensive lines remained substandard. No Eagles offensive lineman made the Pro Bowl between 1981 (Sisemore) and 2002 (Tra Thomas).

The 104-sack record may never be broken. No team would recklessly endanger its quarterbacks the way the Eagles did that year. Several things had to go wrong for that record to be set. Cunningham's journey from third string to third down specialist to starter, Ryan's blithe insistence on juggling rookie running backs, the injuries, the loss of Allen – all of them pushed the 1986 Eagles into the history books.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 12 May 2006

104 comments, Last at 09 Jun 2006, 3:17pm by Justin Zeth

Comments

1
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:05pm

Great research. My memories of that season are a little fuzzy (I'm a lifelong season ticket holder, but I was 14 that year), but I do know that it proved how easily Philadelphia fans can be fooled when they fall in love with a coach whose only skill is brashness. See "Bowa, Larry".

2
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:10pm

Great article!

The stats were grizzly

Definitely hard to bear.

3
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:13pm

This is a great new feature, guys, very entertaining - it's incredibly interesting and I hadn't known about this. I think I'm finally beginning to comprehend why Philly fans loathe Buddy Ryan with a horrible passion instead of just thinking he was a bad coach and letting it go.

4
by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:15pm

Have the Texans had this record in mind the last 4 seasons? It would explain a great deal.

5
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:19pm

Somewhat off topic, but where else could I share such a fun thing? Put in two teams and separate with a comma:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=patriots%2C+steelers&ctab=0&geo=US&date=a...

6
by Malenerik (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:28pm

Wow...
"Give me a Van Halen record"...

That has GOT to be one of the most pathetic comebacks in NFL history. No wonder that o-line blew...

7
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:28pm

104 sacks and Buddy didn't slug anybody? Amazing.

8
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:44pm

I think I’m finally beginning to comprehend why Philly fans loathe Buddy Ryan with a horrible passion

Philly fans opinions of Buddy Ryan are far more complicated than 'loathe'.

Loathe we typically reserve for Kotite. That might even be too kind.

The problem is that even though Ryan was completely brain dead on offense, he built a freaking good defense. Kotite was just brain dead all around.

9
by go birds (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:47pm

Eagles fans (in general) don't loathe Buddy Ryan. He was, and still is, one of the most popular coaches the city has ever had.

10
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:00pm

Cavanaugh is a successful coach.

(pause to clean coffee spittle off my computer screen.)

I have the opportunity to observe him both with the Bears and with the Ravens. By what standard is he judged as successful? None of his offenses or quarterbacks can be valued as any more than mediocre at best.

11
by Malenerik (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:14pm

re 10:
well, for one, I'd guess he's making somewhat above minimum wage.

He's no HOF coach, but at least he's made a career out of it. That could be called successful, no?

12
by Jero WI (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:19pm

The Redskins benefited from the resulting field position and scored on the next series. A 17-14 win ended the Eagles season at 5-9-1.

Hate to pick, but the strike season was '87. Eagles lost 10 in '86.

Great article, by the way.

13
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:22pm

re 8: hey, at least Kotite managed to go 10-6 in 1991 with Brad Goebel, Jeff Kemp, Jim McMahon and Pat Ryan playing QB (thanks largely to a defense which ranked number 1 in rush, pass and total defense with Bud Carson instead of Buddy Ryan). He did also win a playoff game in 1992, something Buddy never did in his time in Philly. Seriously, what happened with Kotite? His records as a head coach:
10-6
11-5
8-8
7-9
3-13
1-15
He seemed to start well and then just got worse and worse. Were 1991-1992 just flukes?

14
by Alex Smith (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:22pm

Cunningham ... completed just 42 percent if his passes in 1985 and threw just one touchdown against eight interceptions.

That sounds familiar...hmmmm.

15
by jebmak (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:35pm

Great article, just insane stats.

16
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:36pm

Were 1991-1992 just flukes?

I think in 1991-92 Kotite was just coasting on the remnants of the Buddy Ryan Eagles.

17
by go birds (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:38pm

RE#13: Kotite inherited a team from Buddy that was stacked with talent, especially on D. Buddy may have been a bad coach, but the guy could find talent.

Then they got old or left and it fell apart for Kotite, ala Barry Switzer.

18
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:39pm

Eagles fans (in general) don’t loathe Buddy Ryan. He was, and still is, one of the most popular coaches the city has ever had.

Absolutely. They'd take him back over Andy Reid right now. When they had the Reggie White tribute in December, I think only Cunningham had louder cheers. (Mike Mamula was booed.)

Also, Bud Carson did a better job with Buddy's defense than Buddy did.

19
by wrmjr (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:49pm

#10 & #11, Cavanaugh also managed to put together enough of an offense to get an SB win for the Ravens. Yes, that team was known for it's lackluster offense, but they scored enough that year for a ring.

Currently, the Wannstedt-Cavanaugh coaching tandem is one of the most feared and respected in ... well, in Western PA.

20
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:01pm

Re 5:

Try typing in Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys. It's just sad. I also managed to find out 'potato' is consistently a much more popular search than 'tomato' and that 'koalas' are a much more popular search than 'antidisestablishmentarianism.'

21
by Dean (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:11pm

RE: #9

Got that right! I'll back Reid to the wall, and I'll always have fond memories of Vermeil, but NOBODY in Philly inspires nostalgic memories like Buddy. He was the perfect coach for Philly. Brash, in-your-face, and he WON!

Had Cunningham not thrown a temper tantrum and gotten him fired in '91, Buddy Ryan WOULD have taken that team to the Super Bowl. They fired the wrong guy that day. Mr. Gold-tipped Shoelaces was the one who should have been canned.

22
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:14pm

Good God!

Now I have even more respect for what Randall Cunningham did. 75 sacks in one season and he still walked away from it?
have to admire such brilliant stupidity to get up evry time after you get laid on your back that many times.

23
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:31pm

Seriously, what happened with Kotite? His records as a head coach:

Coasting off of Ryan's Eagles. After 1992, Kotite's teams were actually overproducing at 8-8 and 7-9 - hence the tumultous collapse afterwards.

Absolutely. They’d take him back over Andy Reid right now.

I wouldn't go that far. Reid gave Philly fans 2004. Ryan inspires a good deal of nostalgia, but I think if there was any serious talk about Ryan coming back, half of the papers would be like "Hey, wait a second. This guy sucked."

24
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:37pm

Currently, the Wannstedt-Cavanaugh coaching tandem is one of the most feared and respected in … well, in Western PA.

Where 'western PA' equals 'Wannstedt and Cavanaugh's bedrooms.' After last year, Pitt doesn't scare anyone in Western PA nearly as much as their nearest neighbor.

25
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:41pm

RE 23

Well personally I think Andy Ried has done the Eagels a great service. besides to you Pat, do you think Buddy Ryan would handle the TO situation any differently. To me that was a play right out of the Budy Ryan handbook.

26
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:43pm

And don't forget in was in 92 when Reggie sued the NFL to be able to get traded and the birth of FA as we know it today happened.

27
by TBW (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:43pm

Buddy's only skill was not brashness, he was a top notch talent evaluator.

Had he not been fired I think eventually he might have amassed so much talent that the Eagles would have won a Super Bowl despite his coaching.

He had a real blind spot when it came to offense. He seemed to just not care. If he had hired even a mediocre offensive coordinator instead of freakin' Kotite the Birds could have had some all time great seasons.

The real reason Philly fans loved Buddy was because he got it. It was like your best friend was coaching the team. He hated the Skins and the Cowboys and the Giants, he talked trash, it was great.

In my mind he will always be the Eagles best coach because he is personally responsible for the greatest moment in Eagles history: when Randall Cunningham faked taking a knee to run out the clock against the Cowboys and instead got back up to throw a long TD pass to run up the score. Those were the days.....

28
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:10pm

As much affection as I have for Ryan, my vote for best "brash" coach of the Eagles has to go to Ray Rhodes. What was that line he was quoted as saying - something about pretending that the opposing team was molesting your wives/daughters? Pretty over-the-top stuff. Those were the days....

29
by C (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:29pm

Buddy was LOVED by the great majority of Philly fans. He was the king of using his personality and outrageous boasts to cover problems he knew existed. Case in point: his famous quote upon releasing Chris Carter was that "all he did was catch touchdown passes." For years, Ryan was mocked by that quote as Carter had a hall of fame career. Later on, though, Carter acknowledge a serious alcohol/substance abuse problem which is why Ryan cut him so he could get help and get out of Philly. The QB rotation and switching D-lineman to O-lineman was all based upon the same: do something unconventional when the conventional isn't going to work. He was a tremendous coach, had a great eye for talent and had a great football mind, which is still underappreciated. The team he inhereted from Merion "Swampbox" Campbell was one of the worst professional football teams, talent wise, in the history of the game. His defenses were ferocious and actually instilled fear in other players.

I'm not prepared to say he's better than Andy Reid, who is his polar opposite, personality wise and coaching-style wise, because Reid's tremendous record of winning speaks for itself. But Buddy was very, very sharp and is still loved in this town. Vermeil is more popular, but he had a very corporate-friendly way about him and revived a franshise that was beyond horrible for about 15 years.

30
by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:33pm

I remember Cunningham being the third-down specialist, but I was only 10 at the time, so it's fuzzy ... really shocking how awful that offense was. Maybe Buddy should have been more worried about getting into fewer 2nd-and-40's and 3rd-and-25's and less worried about which quarterback was the best fit for them.

Great article, Mike. Junior "Smith" and "The Kicking Mule" really brought back memories.

31
by Loki9179 (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:51pm

When did they make the rule change allowing QBs to throw the ball out of bounds once they were outside the pocket? I think that was after '86, so I agree that the Eagles record will never be broken. If that rule did not exist, however, then the Texans would have probably broken it and, at the same time, probably got David Carr broken into lots of little pieces. The Texans O-line was horrific a couple of years ago.

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:57pm

Well personally I think Andy Ried has done the Eagels a great service. besides to you Pat, do you think Buddy Ryan would handle the TO situation any differently.

There wasn't any other way to handle that situation. It's not like it hurt the Eagles. Owens was not the reason that 2005 was a disaster, regardless of what people might say. Philly might've gone 8-8 or 9-7 with Owens, but they weren't winning the division with the injuries they had and the ineffectiveness of Adams and Kalu.

That's why it cracks me up that people think that Parcells will "keep Owens in line." There is nothing - nothing that Parcells can do that Reid didn't do, and in fact, the things that Reid did Parcells can't do this year. The league, in the offseason, gave Owens a lot more ammo to work with.

33
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 5:01pm

The real reason Philly fans loved Buddy was because he got it. It was like your best friend was coaching the team. He hated the Skins and the Cowboys and the Giants, he talked trash, it was great.

See, in some sense, though, that's why Reid's doing so well. He's the polar opposite of that. If the fans and the team are a bunch of trashtalking jerks, then... well, then you're the Raiders, and c'mon, no one likes the Raiders. (See the NFL fan map from a while ago to prove that :) )

Reid being such a completely upstanding guy allows the fans to be complete jerks. :)

34
by Catfish (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 5:14pm

Re: 30

The Texans O-line was horrific...

was?

35
by sam_acw (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 5:14pm

Was that the chuck'n'duck?

36
by Noble (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 5:36pm

Fascinating article.

37
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 6:11pm

He had a real blind spot when it came to offense. He seemed to just not care

Bingo--Ryan's mission in life was to prove that offense is irrelevant to success in the NFL and offensive stategies are useless; that's why his entite offense consisted of "OK, Randall, scramble around for a while and make something happen"

38
by Harry (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 6:48pm

Ryan’s mission in life was to prove that offense is irrelevant to success in the NFL and offensive stategies are useless;

Had he always been that way? Or was he carrying a chip on his shoulder because he felt he deserved all the credit for the success of the 85 Bears?

39
by Bright Blue Shorts (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 7:17pm

I wonder what training sessions were like. I mean the offensive line had Reggie White just coming into his prime to deal with every day. Can't imagine that built any confidence for them.

BBS :)

40
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 7:51pm

For crap's sake, don't Eagles fans have enough problems? You couldn't focus on the Dave Campo-era Cowboys or Norv Turner's Redskins? Why don't you come by my house and push my toddler down a flight of stairs while you're at it?

41
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 8:10pm

I don't think the Campo girls or the Norval skins were as interesting as Randall C getting sacked 75 times in half a season of play.

42
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 8:18pm

re 39

I just hope that they don't do a piece on the Packers from the time Bart Starr retired to the time Brett Favre arrived. Talk about horrible, we were rancid in those years. But as a football fan I feel your pain.

43
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 8:34pm

Anybody who punches Kevin Gilbride is okay in my book.

44
by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 9:07pm

Great Article, may i suggest the terrible Colts teams. Dear god were we bad.

"Lord help our Colts.."

--------

On to a serious question.

In my mind, Defenses are rated like this from quality of talent to make successful

4-3 - Cover 2
4-3 - Everything else
3-4 - Blitzing
46 - Blitzing

Cover 2 improves with talent, but can make a bunch of random fast players who know what they have to do decent.

How much talent do you need for the 46 to be successful in the NFL today?

Cover 2 takes good d-line, fast linebackers, and decent hitting safetys.

The 46 needs... what..

Does any team in the NFL have the talent on defense? What players in what positions do you need?

I want to see a successful 46 again. Titans did it for awhile, and it was great to watch.

45
by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 9:30pm

Mr. Tanier: great article. This has been much more interesting then what has been passing for news lately. I didn't follow the NFL back in 86 and this was fascinating stuff for me.

46
by DR U (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 9:36pm

Very nice article! Coaches would now get fired after a couple games if they allowed that many sacks per game.

DR U

47
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 10:06pm

For crap’s sake, don’t Eagles fans have enough problems?

Oh, c'mon, we're a little more than a year removed from watching Philly beat the utter crap out of their entire conference. It's not that bad. Heck, I viewed 2005 as the penance we paid for 2004. :)

I mean, think about it: Redskins fans are only two years removed from Steve Spurrier.

48
by FantasyStooge (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 10:42pm

If you want to talk horrible... try being a Jets' AND Giants fan 1974-1980; fourteen out of fourteen .500 or less seasons. By the way, great article.

49
by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 11:21pm

Does any team in the NFL have the talent on defense? What players in what positions do you need?

Well, the 46 was named after Ryan's strong safety with the Bears. (Duerson? Fencik? Plank? Someone help me out here.) The defense needs a safety who can play the run like a linebacker but still has enough speed to get back and cover receivers.

50
by Dave (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 11:53pm

Lots of comments about Ryan knowing talent: He did try on offense, but could only come up with Fred Barnett. Nicely done but not enough. The RBs were awful, and he just let Randell play playground ball. No eye for offensive talent at all.

Also some comments on which fans have it worse than others. Jets ('69) and Giants ('86, '91 or close) fans are spoiled compared to Eagles fans ('60). Also consider, Eagles fans don't have a hometown championship in any major sport since '83. Only Clevelnad fans can join in on this type of lament. Everyone else- spoiled by your multiple championships.

51
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 11:56pm

Re:#48

Hmmm.... Troy Polamalu, anyone?

Not that the Steelers would go 46, but it's an interesting thought.

52
by JRM (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 12:32am

A friend and I were talking about Buddy Ryan a few weeks ago. What amazed us was the it's been close to 15 years since Buddy crashed, burned, and was never heard from again after his debacle as the Cardinals' coach, and that his era of fame lasted less than ten years.

Buddy Ryan was an entertaining charater. It's a shame that there will never be another.

53
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 1:09am

Also some comments on which fans have it worse than others. Jets (’69) and Giants (’86, ‘91 or close) fans are spoiled compared to Eagles fans (’60).

Ah, now see, you're judging success differently than I do. Happiness is watching Philly beat the crap out of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants. Hence why 2004 was so, so worth it.

54
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 4:09am

Great, great article. I look forward to seeing more of these in the future.

Well, the 46 was named after Ryan’s strong safety with the Bears. (Duerson? Fencik? Plank? Someone help me out here.)

Doug Plank.

Jets (’69) and Giants (’86, ‘91 or close) fans are spoiled compared to Eagles fans (’60)

"Jets fan" and "spoiled" should never appear in the same sentence, unless that sentence is "Being a Jets fan is more painful than drinking a glass of spoiled milk."

55
by Matt (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 4:54am

Re: #48, Wikipedia (click my name for the link) says, "The name "46" originally came from the jersey number of Doug Plank, who was a starting safety for the Bears when Ryan originally developed the defense, and typically played in that formation as a surrogate linebacker."

Re:#50, it's worth noting that LeBeau's zone blitz shares some common characteristics with the '46. In particular, the frequent blitzes from cornerbacks and safeties. In some ways, the Steelers play the 3-4 version of the '46 already.

56
by Bright Blue Shorts (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 6:26am

Re:51 - Buddy Ryan - an entertaining character, where are those types now?

I kept thinking didn't Ryan recently become defensive coordinator at Hawaii? Then I remembered that it's Jerry Glanville.

Lot of similarities in my mind between them:
- Defensive coaches.
- big-quote personalities.
- put their teams in the playoffs.
- about 10-years of fame before seemingly sinking without trace.
- Ryan paid bounties, Glanville was the man in black. Sort of darkness around them.

BBS :)

57
by Vince (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 6:59am

Re:#50, it’s worth noting that LeBeau’s zone blitz shares some common characteristics with the ‘46. In particular, the frequent blitzes from cornerbacks and safeties. In some ways, the Steelers play the 3-4 version of the ‘46 already.

This is an excellent point, and one I had not considered.

58
by jetsgrumbler (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 11:34am

re 52: --its a shame there will never be another--

there is another. his name is mike martz. same personality. different sides of the ball.

59
by charles 2.0 (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 2:10pm

I mean, think about it: Redskins fans are only two years removed from Steve Spurrier.

yeah i agree, 2005 was pretty sweet to be a redskins fan though, swept cowboys and eagles, and split with giants ( the only sour point would be that 36-0 disaster.) And best of all the redskins got revenge on their newest secret rival that no one talks about: The freakin tampa bay buccaneers. The bucs stole a game from the skins in the 99 playoffs and then again earlier last season that basically cost them the no. 2 seed in the playoffs. So how does washington return the favor? By beating tampa bay on the road in the playoffs in a game tampa should have won easily. Now the focus for washington should be beat an afc team in the regular season.

60
by Nick (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 4:00pm

#8

The best New York Post headline of all time made reference to Kotite with a photo of Pete Carrol (remember what an aweful pro coach he was!) waiving goodbye on one side of the page and Kotite on the other . . . the Headline, "Dumb and Dumber".

61
by HCH (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 4:06pm

"Seriously, what happened with Kotite? His records as a head coach:
10-6
11-5
8-8
7-9
3-13
1-15
He seemed to start well and then just got worse and worse. Were 1991-1992 just flukes?"

We had our own version of Kotite in Miami: Dave Wannstedt. Like Kotite, he coasted for two years on the talent that was already there, then his indelible stamp was placed on the team.

Interestingly, both Kotite and Wanny won their only playoff game against the most hopelessly overmatched playoff coach in NFL history: Jim Mora Sr.

For a look at what Kotite was capable of actually starting with a truly BAD team, check out the 1995-96 Jets.

62
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 6:16pm

What was that line he was quoted as saying - something about pretending that the opposing team was molesting your wives/daughters?

Think that was Bryan Cox.

63
by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 9:21pm

RE #59: Some Redskins fan YOU are! Shouldn't the focus for the team be: "Beat an AFC team in the POST season?"

64
by Craig Richardson (not verified) :: Sat, 05/13/2006 - 11:51pm

Re: #50.

Sonics, 1979.
Mariners, never - and only twice been close.
Seahawks, never - and only twice been close.
Sounders - championships, yes. Top division, not anymore.
Or are you counting the Storm?

65
by Nathan (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 12:04am

How many championships does Indiana have again?

(We seriously cannot be counting the ABA can we?)

We've had it rough. Really rough.

66
by Ben (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 2:55am

After this disasterous season we brought him to Arizona as the savior!?
"You gotta winner in town"
God I love the Cardinals

67
by charles 2.0 (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 3:44am

RE 63:
No, No, i said it right they haven't beaten a team in the afc since...you know what they haven't beaten a team in the afc since the patriots three years ago.

68
by masocc (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 5:24am

#67: Riiight. But odds are, 12-4 will get you in the playoffs. Therefore, they need to focus only on beating the AFC in the postseason (and every other NFC team for all their other games. Simple. ;)

69
by masocc (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 5:31am

Re: #64: Man, you've brought up some BAD memories for some reason. How many fans of a different professional sports teams have dealt with THIS colossal of a heartbreak: (Danger, possible threadjack may commence)

1) Make playoffs.
2) Beat team that has NEVER lost in the playoffs to make the championship series.
3) Take 3-2 lead in championship series.
4) Lose game 6 in OT, on the road (Heartbreak, mixed with joy, because you'll get to see them win at home.
5) Team loses game 7, AGAIN in OT, at home, with a certain 12 year old boy in attendance.

If I hadn't been in shock, I'd have cried.

Bonus points for whomever can name the team, and league championship I'm speaking of...

70
by Smiler Grogan (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 10:24am

Nice article. I think it sells Buddy short. He was not only with the bears (hired by Halas and part of the deal when Ditka became head coach)when they won the super bowl, but he as also with the jets (hired by Weeb Ewbank)when they won the superbowl, and then with the vikes (hired by Bud Grant) when the purple people eaters went to the super bowl. Buddy was a great teacher and innovator; he was also (as noted by many above) a great talent evaluator. To the remark that he was blind to offensive talent and only found fred barnett, i think you forget byers and keith jackson. buddy was also a great leader of men, as can be seen when his former players speak of him. the one thing he wasnt great at, however, was being head coach. so recognizing this shortcoming, its only fair to also give him his props for the rest of his career.

71
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Sun, 05/14/2006 - 10:45pm

RE: 69
The Indians?
1997 World Series?
I may be wrong.

72
by pbmax (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 1:57am

Re: 55
I am not the foremost authority on the Buddy Ryan/Bears D, but the 46 I remember doesn't rely significantly on corner or safety blitzs.
With Dent lined up on one tackle, Hampton, McMichael/Fridge and don't remember man on the center and two guards, you had both OLBs (Marshall and Wilson) over the other tackle. That's six on the line.
Singletary and Planck/Duerson were at linebacker spots. That's eight in the box. Leaving the 2 CBs and other safety back in pass coverage.
Obviously the LBs or safety could drop into coverage, but the majority of the time the D was designed to stop the run, to force long passing downs, where Ryan could send up to seven of the eight in the box because the QB wouldn't have time for his drop or to wait for the receivers to get open downfield.
Of course I was watching these games in college, with the Bear fan friends, so my memory could be fuzzy or fading.

73
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 2:34am

RE: 69

Seattle Supersonics?

74
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 2:35am

RE: 71

Nope, not the Indians. That's not baseball. I'm pretty sure it's basketball.

75
by mook (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 3:43am

Anyone remember Buddy's quote on the Earnest Jackson trade: "I'll trade him for a six pack of beer and it doesn't even have to be cold."

Jackson actually had a couple of good years with the Steelers, prompting me to bet a friend of mine $10 that he would have more career yards than Thurman Thomas.

76
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 4:13am

#69 & 71: Nope, not the Indians. And no, not the Sonics. Not basketball, for that matter.

77
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 9:01am

I wouldn't remember which hockey team, in that case.
New Jersey Devils? In 1993-1994 season, they were up 3 games to 2 on the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I suppose not. The Rangers had home ice in that one.

78
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 4:51pm

50:
New Orleans.

We haven't won anything. OK, the Zephyrs won the AAA World Series in 1998, but still...

79
by seamus (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 4:58pm

"Was Jaworski just a beard QB?" GREAT double-entendre!

80
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 5:11pm

Re 65: but Indy has only two major teams, and thus half the opportunity for heartbreak. Prior to the NBA/ABA merger, it had none.

It's one thing that's made being a Detroit sports fan tolerable outside of football season: 8 titles in 39 years, as well as a bunch of titles in other sports. Can't argue with those.

Re 64 and replies: no, it's not baseball, because baseball is 2-3-2 in the Series. Then again, so is basketball, in the Finals, so it must be hockey. There haven't been many Cups won in OT in recent history, certainly not in a seven-game series ... hmm ... wracks brain ...

'82, Islanders-Vancouver? (looks) no, that was a sweep.

'96, Colorado-Florida? I thought that was a sweep, even though I think it ended in OT. (looks) Correct on both counts, so not the right answer either.

(gives up, looks) Hmm. I don't think it's the NHL either. While my resource might be wrong, I don't see any Cup in the last 50 years that was won with GW goals in OT in games 6 and 7 ...

81
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 5:43pm

I knew it wasn't baseball because it said overtime, and because it said Game 6 was on the road and Game 7 at home. Basketball and hockey are the ones that use 2-2-1-1-1. Baseball has always done 2-3-2.

But yeah, he has said it isn't basketball anyway. It is hockey. I'm just not sure what he would be referring to. Chances are, it's not within the past decade.

82
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 5:45pm

RE: 80

Maybe he was referring to the NHL conference finals, and not the Stanley Cup finals.

83
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 6:36pm

Judging from his previous posts, masocc is from the Seattle area ... Seattle has never had an NHL team.

Closest thing I could find was the Seattle Totums of the old Western Hockey League ... According to Seattlehockey.net, the 1962-63 Totums blew a 3-1 lead in the WHL finals to San Francisco, losing Games 6 and 7 in OT. However, according to that same site, the entire series was played in San Francisco, because the Totums' arena was booked. If that isn't it, I'm stumped.

84
by Jon (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 11:22pm

Re: 50, 64, etc.

Do people really care about all of their home teams equally? I'd say people in my area (D.C.) care about the Redskins about 10 times more than the Nationals, 20 times more than the Wizards, 50 times more than the Capitals, and 1,000,000 times more than the Mystics.

85
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 10:22am

Masocc's comment's in the Flutie thread (you used to worship Sean Salisbury? Seek help immediately!) made narrowing the years easier.

Found it: the Tacoma Stars of the 1986-87 Major Indoor Soccer League.

The end of the season saw Cleveland and Tacoma win their respective division titles, and advance to the semifinals despite rough quarterfinal series against Minnesota and Wichita. San Diego and Dallas upset their quarterfinal rivals, beating Kansas City and Baltimore respectively. The upsets continued in the semifinals, as the favored Cleveland Force fell to Dallas in four. Tacoma prevailed in the other series, but took the full seven games to fend off a tenacious San Diego. The championship series was one of the most tenacious series yet. Yet another comeback story, Tacoma fell behind early, losing to Dallas 4-10 and 4-7, before taking the next two 5-3 and 6-5. Game 5, held in Tacoma broke the MISL attendance record as 20,284 fans flocked to the Tacoma Dome to see the stars defeat Dallas 5-3. Game six was played before a packed house at Reunion Arena in Dallas, where 16,824 witnessed the longest game in MISL playoff history. It went eighty and a half minutes before the Sidekicks finally defeated Tacoma 5-4. In the final game, back at Tacoma, an indoor soccer record crowd of 21,728 packed the Tacoma Dome only to see Dallas win the league championship with a 4-3 overtime victory, 4-3, over the Stars, on June 20.

86
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 10:31am

Oh, it was soccer? I thought he was talking about major sports...

87
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 11:14am

Same here. I've never even heard of the MILS. Heard of the MLS, though.
I just assumed it was hockey because it couldn't be the other major sports.

You know what's funny? I didn't know masocc was from the Seattle area, and yet my first guess was the SuperSonics. Odd...

88
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 11:48am

Getting back to Buddy, he should also probably get credit for two sons currently working as NFL defensive co-ordinators or position coaches. He could obviously teach defensive principles.

89
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 12:30pm

I have heard of MILS, though I haven't had the chance to watch it much. It has at least the virtue of being more exciting than regular soccer, as the quoted scores of 10-4 and 6-5 indicate.

90
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 1:22pm

The MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League) still exists? I hadn't heard about it since I left Baltimore, with the exception of one game, where the Blast had to visit Cleveland to play -- the first game between the two cities since Modell relocated. Cleveland lived up to its reputation as a blander Philadelphia, if I recall.

It's the soccer equivalent of Arena football, although some of the teams were pretty good at promotion -- the Blast used to run a series of ads where Stan Stamenkovic, with his heavy Slavic accent, would translate what his teammate Tim Wittman (a Bawlamer native) was saying. Stan was a little more intelligible.

91
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Tue, 05/16/2006 - 9:03pm

The other indoor soccer league that I remember was the NPSL (linked). The scoring was the same as basketball. Penalty shots were worth 1 point, regular goals were worth 2, and goals from behind the 3 point line were worth 3. I remember the hometown Edmonton Drillers. The only year where they didn't suck, they folded after 4 games. Indoor soccer is really fun to play, but it isn't much of a spectator sport.

92
by masocc (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 4:46am

Nice job, Travis!

Okay, let me address a couple Indoor Soccer related points:

It *was* NOT the 'soccer equivalent of Arena Football'. At the time, it was essentially the only soccer around. IIRC, it started as an offshoot of the NASL (the only outdoor soccer league in the states at the time) because it was easier to turn a profit (and pack the stands, AND make the game more exciting) by playing indoors. In fact, in it's heydey, it attracted some of the better soccer players from around the world. If anything, it was more like the redheaded bastard offspring of soccer and hockey. But if you *actually* carried out the Arena Football comparison, then over half of Arena players could start in the NFL... which I doubt.

And yes, indoor soccer is a blast to play. And YES, it IS a great spectator sport... I'm not sure how you can say it isn't, if A) You've been to a game and B) you're even remotely interested in soccer.

The only reason the Indoor Soccer leagues have eventually petered out, re-organized, and petered out again is due to mismanagement, and a lack of parity (Remember the initial bit about the Stars being the FIRST and eventually only team to beat San Diego during the playoffs in like, 10 or 11 seasons?).

I could go on, but nobody has probably read this far anyhoo, so...

93
by adwred (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 11:21am

RE: indoor freaking soccer

Hey I dig playing and watching indoor - I was a big fan of the Milwaukee Wave in the early 90s, when it was NPSL and they sometimes played in front of crowds of 10,000 or so at the Bradley Center (the Bucks, Marquette play there). It was a lot of fun.

But the league is so horribly mismanaged, I don't really get it... every year new teams, smaller arenas, the quality of play is totally up for grabs. There's like 6 teams in the whole league now.

A football outsiders thread hijacked by indoor soccer. Sorry, I'm truly ashamed.

94
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 4:15pm

masocc

I live in Alberta, Canada. Here's an interesting statistic for you, in 2005, 97% of all indoor soccer games in my country were played in my province. I played soccer for 10 years of my life, indoors and outdoors. When the world cup / Euros is on, I'll wake up at 3:00am to watch the Swedes beat the stinking English. I went to and NPSL game, and it was probably the most boring soccer game I ever saw. There was music blaring the whole time. The whole crowd seemed bored. It was the only game I ever went to. If the game is such a spectator sport, how did they not sell out games in the cradle of canadian indoor soccer for a competetive team when tickets are in the $10 canadian range?

95
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 4:50pm

Getting back to Buddy, he should also probably get credit for two sons currently working as NFL defensive co-ordinators or position coaches. He could obviously teach defensive principles.

Or, the Old Boys Network still persists. Anyone find the Baltimore (Rex) or Oakland (Rob) defenses particularly impressive last year?

96
by masocc (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 11:17pm

Okay Bjorn, first of all:
To be completely sure, I'd have to know *when* you saw an NPSL game. If it was in the 80s, the NPSL was the redheaded stepchild of the MISL. It was crap, and wasn't worth watching. In the 90's, after the MISL died, you had to go to a NPSL game between TWO good teams, or it too was crap. Honestly, I haven't seen the MISL in its current incarnation... I'm too afraid.

Indoor soccer *used* to be a great spectator sport. As previously mentioned, the teams were horribly mismanaged, apparently by epileptic monkeys. Parity was unheard of... some owners/GMs knew how to build a good team, and other didn't... and it showed.

But in its heydey, it was MUCH more watchable than outdoor soccer:
A) Players weren't ants on a field.
B) They scored.
C) Dribbling, jukes, precision passing were MUCH more prevalent.
D) 5 on 4 situations... 6 on 5... 6 on 4... 4 on 4... Overtime periods... shootouts... the game presented a myriad of interesting scenarios.
E) It actually had star players that were capable of playing in ANY soccer league.
F) Caroms off the walls, a faster pace, and the opportunity to catch a game ball souvenir. Good times.

97
by masocc (not verified) :: Wed, 05/17/2006 - 11:19pm

Oh, and if you haven't already... go out and join a FUTSAL League. Best soccer experience I've EVER had. (Wikipedia it for more info, I'm lazy now).

98
by masocc (not verified) :: Thu, 05/18/2006 - 10:47am

Seeing as how this thread has been unofficially hijacked by Futbol, I'd just like to say that:

Arsenal got SCREWED! I think that ref has been paid off... didn't he also redcard someone from Chelsea against Barcelona?

It *really* irks me how it seems that most of the news agencies are reporting this as "Barcelona finally doesn't underperform in the European Championship". What? Eeeking out a game 2-1 against TEN men AND the backup goalie isn't underpeforming? It took them almost 60 minutes to score their first goal! And Especially when Lehmann probably would've stopped the decisive goal? I mean, it went through his bloody legs, for gawds sake! That's not underperforming? Media=smegheads.

99
by masocc (not verified) :: Thu, 05/18/2006 - 10:55am

And can anybody tell me why all the bloody refs are Norwegian? Especially *after* they removed a Norwegian for wearing Barcelona colors? Aaaargh. This is like the Superbowl, all over again!

I was actually rooting for Barca, until that bloody horrible call... then I had to root for the scrappy, shorthanded, getting screwed by the refs team.

100
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Thu, 05/18/2006 - 1:56pm

Not to mention the fact that Arsenal were, at best, the fourth best team in the English Premiership, never mind Europe. People rave about Barca because they have a frighteningly talented front three, and when there confidence is flowing they are very difficult to stop. However, they are defensively as shoddy as ever, and rely to a significant extent on the huge home field advantage afforded by the vast Nou Camp pitch, which is so big nobody can defend on it, thus nullifying that deficiency, and the 100,000 crazed Catalans screaming them on.

In the last two years, Barcelona have played Chelsea four times (two at each venue). The agregate score from those games stands at 7-7, but if you count only goals where Chelsea had 11 men on the field (controversial red cards around half time in one game each year), Chelsea lead 6-3. Barcelona play prettier football and have more possession, but Chelsea are a superior all-around team (as, for that matter, are Juventus).

Until such time as there is a European Super League (preferably with a salary cap) there will be no tournament whose winner can justifiably claim to be the best team in Europe.

101
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 05/18/2006 - 4:49pm

RE: NPSL
I watched the expansion Drillers in either 97 or 98. They played the Buffalo Blizzard, who were near the upper crust at the time. The score was close, but the game wasn't competetive.

RE: Champions League
I was cheering for Barcelona because I am a big fan of God (aka Larsson). I hope he will be making a pass for the clinching goal in the finals this summer!

102
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 05/22/2006 - 3:45pm

Eagles fans don’t have a hometown championship in any major sport since ‘83. Only Clevelnad fans can join in on this type of lament.

How about no championship in a major sport since 1954! and not only that we have been teased like crazy... indians should have won one... but they called a runner safe at 2nd that was clearly out... then 2 batters later Mesa gives up the tying run... blah blah...

The drive.. The drive II... The shot.. (the one where jordan nails the shot to win the game over Craig Eloh)... and Jordan beat the Cavs a few times...

103
by Miles (not verified) :: Wed, 05/24/2006 - 11:59pm

How many of those sacks were Randall taking off and not making it past the line of scrimmage? Should those really be counted as sacks? Wonder if Footballoutsiders should break sacks into yardage lost categories and then only count sacks as losing 3 or more yards.

104
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 3:17pm

Re: #35

"Was that the chuck’n'duck?"

"Chuck and duck" is what Ryan derisively called Kevin Gilbride's Run and Shoot offense when they coached together in Atlanta (for the younger readers, the run and shoot offense used a 1 RB, 0 TE, 4 WR base set), around the time he punched Gilbride in the face.

Personally, I'd love to see the chuck and duck make a comeback. Fun offense, it was.