Mike Tomlin, the Biggest Non-Loser

Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 18 - With the Pittsburgh Steelers' 26-16 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, Mike Tomlin became the first coach in NFL history to have a non-losing season in each of his first 15 years.

Wait, a "non-losing season in each of his first 15 seasons?" Why, that sounds like a topic for…

Arbitrary Milestone Theater: Mike Tomlin

Every once in a while, Walkthrough goes on a rant after a player or coach reaches some dubious milestone that sounds like it was dreamed up by the editor of his team's media guide. This segment is dedicated to the memory of John Madden.

First of all, we mean no disrespect whatsoever to Tomlin, who has kept the Steelers in or around the Super Bowl conversation for years despite coaching lots of incendiary personalities and dealing with a stubbornly old-fashioned organizational mindset. This year's Steelers should not be anywhere near the wild-card picture entering Week 18, but Tomlin has found ways to win just about every winnable game on the schedule. He's a tremendous coach who is often taken for granted.

That said, the obvious tell in Tomlin's arbitrary milestone is "non-losing seasons," which conceals lots of venial sins. The Steelers finished 8-8 in 2012, 2013, and 2019, and they could still finish 8-8-1 this year. Tomlin has had two separate streaks of five straight winning seasons, which is impressive, but he needs a win against the Ravens on Sunday to extend his current "streak" to two years.

Tomlin broke the "record" of 14 consecutive non-losing seasons to start a career held by Marty Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer's streak began when he took over the 1984 Browns from Sam Rutigliano and went 4-4 in the second half of the season. He then led the Browns to an 8-8 record in 1985. Twelve straight winning seasons followed. Schottenheimer's run was remarkable, but the "streak" is artificially inflated.

The list of coaches with long consecutive winning-season streaks at the start of their careers is dominated by Mount Rushmore-caliber Hall of Fame coaches, as you might expect:

Coach Streak
(Years)
Don Shula 13
Curly Lambeau 12
George Allen 12
Paul Brown 10
Vince Lombardi 10
John Madden 10
Ray Flaherty 9
George Halas 9
George Seifert 8
Mike Holmgren 8
Blanton Collier 7
Joe Gibbs 7

Shula's accomplishment was the most impressive by far as it spans two franchises and such a long, tumultuous era. He shepherded the Colts through Johnny Unitas' later years, then took over an AFL doormat Dolphins franchise at the dawn of the merger and turned them into an instant success. Most of the other AFL weaklings (Patriots, Broncos, Oilers, Chargers) were so unprofessionally managed that it took them several seasons to gain equal footing with their NFL opponents, a historic reality masked in part by the immediate success of the Madden Raiders and Shula's Dolphins.

Most coaches start their careers taking over rebuilding projects, so the "first X years" caveat of Tomlin's milestone automatically excludes the likes of Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, and Steelers legend Chuck Noll. Bill Belichick's shaky Browns tenure also keeps him off the list. Tomlin's streak, as it has been defined, was made possible in part by Bill Cowher, and Cowher began his career with six consecutive winning seasons in part because of Noll. While the Steelers get a little hidebound when it comes to avoiding free agency and approaching contract negotiations an inflexible way, they have sound reasons to remain traditionalists.

George Seifert's eight-season streak was significantly the result of Walsh's long-time dominance. Madden's streak was aided by the brilliance of Al Davis and his functionary John Rauch. Even Shula got a boost by taking over a Colts roster full of Weeb Ewbank's aging Hall of Famers. Again, no disrespect to any of these coaches, but the parameters of this milestone are designed to highlight great coaches who happened to take over already-strong franchises (or ancient legends like George Halas and Curly Lambeau, who helmed financially solvent franchises who spent the 1920s clobbering glorified barnstormers).

Tomlin's winning percentage of .642 is more interesting than his milestone. Tomlin's .642 rate currently ranks 20th overall, ahead of Andy Reid, Sean Payton, Cowher, Gibbs, Bud Grant, Walsh, Landry, Parcells, Noll, and a host of legends. Percentage rankings necessarily come with the caveat that they often go down late in an individual's career. Three more .500-ish seasons or a 5-12 collapse would slide Tomlin down the all-time rankings. At the same time, only 16 individuals have coached more than 20 NFL seasons, and Tomlin is all but assured of reaching that milestone if he chooses to.

Is Tomlin a Hall of Famer? He has a case, especially with Cowher now in. I'm agnostic about Hall of Fame coaches now that they are in a separate category from players: if they aren't cluttering up the Finalist ballot, let's err on the side of generosity.

Tomlin could shake off any ambivalence about his Hall of Fame candidacy over the next few years by rebuilding a playoff-caliber Steelers roster without Ben Roethlisberger. He could also quiet any skeptics by somehow getting the Steelers a playoff victory or two this season, because the 2021 Steelers have become a great example of how avoiding a losing season can be a triumph in its own right.

PropWatch: Washington Football Team's New Name

Last week was supposed to be the final installment of PropWatch, but Walkthrough is an unreliable narrator.

The Washington Football Team announced that they would finally unveil their new nickname, logo, and a heap of what's sure to be exceptionally made merchandise. BetUSA appears to be taking action on the new name, and we post the odds as of January 4 here for conversational purposes: Walkthrough never recommends wagering on an event that already occurred and which dozens/hundreds of folks along a decision/production chain already know the outcome of.

WFT (Same) (+300)
Presidents (+500)
Red Hogs (+600)
Defenders (+800)
Commanders (+900)
Armada (+1200)
Admirals (+1200)
Brigade (+1200)
Washington Washingtons (+1500)
Washington George's (+1500)
Washington FC (+1800)
THE Washington Football Team (+2000)

RedWolves has apparently ruled out by the organization due to copyright issues, as was Washington Marvel's Avengers. Washington Winnie The Poohs, however, may now be in play.

Anyway, it speaks to the malaise of incompetence permanently draped over the organization that the dreadful WFT status quo is the odds-on favorite. The benefits of steering into the skid and embracing that soccer-style moniker faded with its novelty early last season. "Washington FC" has less of a sweatpants-to-work feel to it, but again: the soccer-scented charm has worn off. "THE Washington Football Team" is delightfully obnoxious in an Ohio State sort of way; those odds might have been greater if Dwayne Haskins were still the team's quarterback. "Megan THEE Washington Football Team" has a ring to it but is not being considered.

"Presidents" is awful, as modern presidents tend to be reviled by half the population and are often only politely tolerated by the other half. Then again, Dan Snyder's approval ratings are so low that even the worst president (don't you DARE argue this point in the comments) is a universally beloved role model by comparison.

"Red Hogs" has been Walkthrough's favorite since before the old nickname was dropped, as the "hogs" imagery was embraced by the team's fanbase (and rival fanbases) in our early-1980s childhood. Oddly enough, "Red Smurfs" has never been considered, perhaps because of copyright issues; never f*ck with Peyo's lawyers. Red Hogs also has domain name/search engine optimization appeal, which cannot be overlooked these days: a web search for "Red Hogs" is more likely to lead to the team's website or on-line apparel shop than a search for "Presidents" or "Admirals."

"Defenders" and "Commanders" sound blandly generic, making them best bets to have emerged from the sort of focus group Snyder would hire. "Armada" and "Admirals" sound cool and would be excellent names for a Norfolk-based team. There's an outside chance that the franchise may try to court fans in the Norfolk/Newport News/Hampton Roads area, a well-populated region only tangentially/traditionally attached to Washington DC, with a naval theme. Such a strategy would probably fail, but that never stopped this organization before.

No one appears to be taking odds on Washington bringing back the old nickname and logo. Walkthrough would not put it past Snyder for a moment, and we would almost admire the pure hateful scuzziness of the act. "I'm a billionaire and can do whatever I want, so take THAT, snowflakes. Muahahahahahaha." At least the gloves and mask would be off.

Walkthrough has some preferences but doesn't really care much which name Washington selects. We're just tired of calling the team "Washington." Our editors here and elsewhere don't like WFT (which we also despise) or Football Team, and we hate the passive sound of sentences which refer to a team by its location all the time.

So c'mon, Washington Snyder Cuts. You don't have to make the right decision. Just make any decision.

TebowMania Ten Years After: The World Turned Upside Down

This will probably be the final installment of TebowMania: Ten Years After until March.

We are gathered today to unironically celebrate one of the most memorable moments in NFL history: Tim Tebow's 80-yard game-winning overtime touchdown pass to the late, great Demaryius Thomas 10 years ago Saturday on January 8, 2012.

No matter what you thought or think of Tebow, that was a breathtaking moment, the kind that no one who watched will ever forget, the kind that keeps us glued to our televisions through Saints-Falcons games every Sunday in the hope of witnessing something unforgettable.

Follow this link for a substantial highlight montage that will catch you up on some forgotten subplots of that Broncos' 29-23 win over the Steelers: safety Ryan Clark's deactivation in Denver due to concerns about his sickle cell anemia traits, Ben Roethlisberger's gimpy ankle (or foot), a host of other Steelers injuries, and some legit early-game Tebow highlights.

As you can tell from these Audibles at the Line excerpts, the Football Outsiders crew was pleasantly surprised, not snarky or dismissive, about Tebow's triumph. Note also that many of the Steelers criticisms sound like the sort of things we have heard and said throughout the 2021 season.

Aaron Schatz: The first Denver scoring drive demonstrates one of the weird things about the Tebow offense: We think of Tebow as throwing a lot of short passes, bubble screens and whatnot, but actually he has thrown a lot of deep passes. It's one of the reasons his DVOA isn't at the bottom of the league despite that horrible completion rate. They've actually got more of a 1970s passing game. They just went down the field on two plays: a 51-yard pass and a 30-yard touchdown pass.

Vince Verhei: Tebow was third behind Matt Schaub and Carson Palmer in yards per completion this year.

Danny Tuccitto: On Denver's touchdown drive to make it 7-6, two things stand out to me about Pittsburgh's pass defense: (1) they only rushed four on third-and-long, which allowed Tebow to do his scramble thing, and (2) turn your heads and make a play on the ball, guys!

Aaron Schatz: Nearing halftime, it looks like the foot is a problem for Roethlisberger. He can't move in the pocket at all, which is a huge part of his game. And oy, that interception. It wasn't really that bad. He just overthrew Heath Miller by a little bit. The problem is that there was a Denver defensive back in zone sitting right behind where Miller was trying to catch the ball, so it went right into his hands. It's not a bad decision if Roethlisberger throws it accurately.

Mike Tanier: Watch him when he goes from shotgun to the line to talk to the center. He has this weird hobble when he is not thinking about where he is stepping. I think every step he makes is planned, and he is bracing for pain. That cannot help the throwing mechanics.

Tom Gower: So now Max Starks has a knee injury, but they're shoving him back in there at left tackle just because of the other options, and they can't trust their protection with a gimpy quarterback so they go empty with five-wide. I think Roethlisberger has really gotten a lot better, compared to a couple years ago, at getting the ball out in the quick passing game, but the doom-saying Steelers fans all recognize this as a recipe for potential disaster.

Danny Tuccitto: Ladies and gentlemen, your "Maurkice Pouncey is out" moment.

Mike Tanier: You didn't like that orbital snap by Doug Legursky?

Danny Tuccitto: I'm pretty sure Legursky's snap reached escape velocity. He was trying to one-up Balloon Boy.

Aaron Schatz: Pittsburgh really telegraphs its wide receiver screens with the motions and formations. Also, it doesn't help when they are backwards and fumbled ... Tebow had those deep throws early and now he's actually zipping in a few nice medium-length throws. But Roethlisberger is also looking better ... he's actually moving around in the pocket, and rolled out to get the touchdown pass to [Jerricho] Cotchery that tied it.

Rivers McCown: They have to have upped the painkiller dose at halftime. Tebow's missed throw on third-and-8 of the Broncos' last possession in regulation was just brutal. The kind of throw that his critics feast on. That said, it's hard to hate on anyone connecting on the deep ball as often as he is in this game.

Ben Muth: Of course Tim Tebow is the first quarterback to play with the new OT rules.

Aaron Schatz: And the new overtime rules prove to be meaningless when Ike Taylor can't tackle Demaryius Thomas.

Danny Tuccitto: Holy sh-t, Ike Taylor needs to consider another profession next year.

Aaron Schatz: The thing is, Taylor had a great year, based on FO game charting stats. He just had his worst game of the year at the worst possible time.

Rivers McCown: I know Ryan Clark wasn't much in our charting stats, but I have to think having him probably would have helped with the whole "Tim Tebow averaging 15.0 yards per attempt" thing.

This is the first time since 2006 that all the home teams advanced out of the wild-card games.

Aaron Schatz: The Broncos really took advantage of how heavily the Steelers were playing the run all day. But Tebow hasn't been able to make those throws the last three weeks. Today he suddenly was making all of those throws.

Robert Weintraub: When John Elway says let 'er rip, you let 'er rip. Taylor needs to be forced to take the bus home.

Tom Gower: That was a ... more interesting game than I expected, and one I enjoyed watching.

J.J. Cooper: I'm a Steelers fan, so I know I have no room to complain about playoff losses. We have had a lot of good memories to go with the occasional gut-punch. That being said, watching my team lose to a Tim Tebow-led team because of Tebow's passing does rank as the worst playoff loss I can remember in my personal fandom. The loss to the Titans in 2002 in overtime where a running into the kicker penalty gave the Titans a second attempt at a kick was tough. Dan Marino throwing all over the Steelers in 1984 wasn't fun either. The AFC Championship Game losses in 1994 and 2001 were brutal. But losing to an air-it-out Tebow attack? That's seeing your Florida vacation ruined by a surprise blizzard.

That being said, credit to Tebow for throwing with conviction, something he hadn't shown in recent weeks. And Thomas completely abused Taylor over and over.

That playoff win was Tebow's resurrection moment: TebowMania was a dying fad before this game but bounced back stronger than ever afterward. The win also appeared to legitimize everything that Tebow did during the 2011 season. It's one thing to lead a few 16-13 victories on 50-plus-yard field goals against horrendous teams and quite another to score 29 points against even a banged-up version of the Steelers in the postseason. Tebow and the Broncos would get shut down the following week by Tom Brady and the Patriots, but that happens against Brady and the Patriots. That playoff performance sustained Tebow's legacy in some circles through, well, last August.

Now that we have praised Tebow (sort of), let's also praise one of my other favorite punchlines throughout the 2010s: John Elway.

Where even the soberest among us were nearly swept up in the hysteria—in mid-December 2011, I wrote an Eminem-inspired Walkthrough dramatic soliloquy about how John Elway should build an option-heavy offense around Tebow—Elway saw an opportunity. He kept his head and engineered one of the most successful quarterback coups in NFL history, first trading Tebow when his stock was at its highest to the Jets, then assuaging the masses by signing Peyton Manning as a replacement. Elway went on to become a frustrating general manager with a terrible draft record and an obsession with tall veteran quarterbacks. But he was masterful in the winter and spring of 2022.

But that's a tale for another Walkthrough.

Two more trips down memory lane before we wrap. First, TebowMania quickly transitioned to Linsanity in January and February of 2012, thanks to the success of Jeremy Lin of the NBA's New York Knicks. Was there something in the water in 2012 that caused silly nationwide sports fads? No, there was something on our smartphones and tablets: the exploding popularity of social media, which larger media outlets were learning to marshal, turned trending topics into giddy crazes. The audience has adjusted to the language and pace of the news cycle over the last decade, but in 2011, a crowd talking about the same thing on Twitter was more likely to draw ever-larger crowds until it spilled over into television and everyday life.

Also, click that earlier Audibles at the Line link to reminisce about the other game that took place on the day the Broncos beat the Steelers: a 28-2 victory by the eventual-champion New York Giants over the Atlanta Falcons. You might recall that the Falcons failed on a pair of fourth-and-short quarterback sneaks in field goal range, which helped the Giants gain control of the game. Our commentary consists of a long discussion on the merits of fourth-down aggressiveness, with me playing Devil's Advocate and suggesting that, despite the analytics, a little conservatism might not be a bad thing.

The more things change over a decade, the more they remain the same.

Comments

30 comments, Last at 09 Jan 2022, 12:27pm

1 The Master

"But he was masterful in the winter and spring of 2022." ..... so Rodgers will be a Bronco next year eh?

2 I recall reading about Tebow…

I recall reading about Tebow's elongated throwing motion, watched some of his games, and I'm still amazed by it every time. It's like watching a particularly laid back pitcher in the 3rd inning of a random Saturday afternoon game in June.

3 ah yes

IIRC, the FO regulars tore Tomlin apart for not adequately covering the deep pass when one of the few things Tebow can do at an NFL level is throw the ball far.  

Tomlin has a lot of playoff appearances like this one: being not quite good enough.  

4 safety Ryan Clark's…

safety Ryan Clark's deactivation in Denver due to concerns about his sickle cell anemia traits, 

Just to clarify, Clark wasn't deactivated just due to "concerns" - they stopped playing him in trips to Denver after he was hospitalized and lost his spleen and gall bladder in Denver in 2007.

(yes, obviously, being concerned that he would die is a "concern" but at least to me that sentence carried a different connotation)

5 Pet Peeve

Regarding Elway as a general manager:  I think he takes way too much abuse.  Yes he was utterly terrible at evaluating quarterbacks and that is the most important spot.  But his free agency moves were generally well above average (it wasn't just Manning; the defensive makeover after the Super Bowl loss is the main reason they won Super Bowl 50).  He had some misses--who doesn't?--but he did a lot better than most GM's in that category.  He was consistently pretty good at finding defensive and skill position offensive players in the draft as well.  

He's considered a failure because he couldn't figure out QB evaluation, but that roster that everyone is so impressed by and is "just a QB away" is almost entirely from Elway, not Paton (whose 1st draft class was excellent, make no mistake).  The entire WR and TE group, Gordon, and most of the starting OL (good and bad :) ), in addition to all the key players on defense except Surtain and Darby (and Browning, though he's only playing because of injuries to Elway-players ahead of him), are holdovers from the Elway era.  That's...a pretty good group.

I remember reading once that the worst hockey goalie evaluators were hall of fame NHL goalies, because they couldn't understand that what came naturally to them in terms of learning and improvement was difficult for others to replicate.  I think the same thing happened to Elway and QB's:  he focused on physical traits because he figured that other skills can be learned like he was able to do, when it's not that easy.

<end pointless pet peeve rant>

7 I find your rant to have a good point (You are no Joe Judge)

In reply to by reddwarf

Elway won a SB without a QB, it was washed up and near the bottom in  DYAR (34th) and  DVOA (36th) Peyton Manning (out of 37 qualifiers in 2015).  The defense was number 1 in DVOA and although the team overperformed to win the SB (most SB winners do), I must agree with you that he is trashed unfairly.

Getting Manning while he still had some mileage on him led to 5 straight division titles, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl victory.

That sounds like a mighty good resume for a 10 year period.  This is a classic "What have you done for me lately?"  If he hung around and signed Aaron Rodgers, he would be a legendary GM just like he was a legendary QB.  

12 They didn't get rid of him…

They didn't get rid of him. He just stepped down as GM. He's still the head of football operations. Which is why I said that he probably had quite a bit of personal reputation riding on those. Bringing in a new GM is an attempt to get the best of both worlds.

19 I remember reading once that…

In reply to by reddwarf

I remember reading once that the worst hockey goalie evaluators were hall of fame NHL goalies, because they couldn't understand that what came naturally to them in terms of learning and improvement was difficult for others to replicate.  I think the same thing happened to Elway and QB's: he focused on physical traits because he figured that other skills can be learned like he was able to do, when it's not that easy.

I've heard this put a different way, which is that benchwarmers are more likely to become successful coaches due to how much coaching they received as athletes. As a result, they have a better understanding of how players will struggle and how to get their messages across.

It's really just a riff on George Bernard Shaw's “those who can, do; those who can't, teach.” Maybe there's something to this, since there are a lot of NFL coaches who were backup QBs or struggling starters. But maybe it's just that the number of benchwarmers who aspire to become coaches outweighs the number of all-pros who want to become coaches.

That being said, Elway was a GM. So really, the problem shouldn't have been how he evaluated QBs, but how his scouts evaluated QBs. If he drafted Lynch and Lock over their objections, then you're probably right about him overvaluing physical traits and the blame falls on him. If the scouts were also on board with the picks, then there was a larger problem with Denver's draft process.

This isn't to say that the scouts are always right (hah), but whenever you hear about a GM/coach/Jerry Jones going against the scouts, it's safe to say there's some dysfunction.

24 The Broncos' director of…

The Broncos' director of college scouting is Brian Stark. He's been in that position since 2017, and been a scout with the Broncos for 9 years.

After Elway stepped down from the GM position, they interviewed Stark as a GM candidate. (They didn't promote him, obviously, but he's still at that position).

Not a large leap from that to figure out who was probably responsible for the QB decisions.

6 The author's intro and what followed

was a dead ringer for Ricky Bobby 'with all due respect' 

 

I write that in total good nature.  Just made me chuckle thinking of that silly bit in the movie

13 "bad" losses each playoff contender has had

I'm counting all the losses for playoff contenders to non-playoff contenders. I put BAL and PIT in the latter category since they are unlikely to get in and aren't playoff-quality teams anyway (BAL has too many injuries and PIT is flat out bad).

ARI: CAR, DET

BUF: PIT, JAX

CIN: CHI, NYJ, CLE

DAL: DEN

GB: MIN

IND: SEA, BAL

KC: BAL

LV: CHI, NYG, WAS

LAC: BAL, MIN, DEN, HOU

LAR: none

NE: MIA

NO: CAR, NYG, ATL, MIA

PHI: NYG

SF: SEA, SEA

TB: WAS

TEN: NYJ, HOU, PIT

15 Tomlin

Is Tomlin a Hall of Famer? He has a case, especially with Cowher now in.
 

It’s a fine argument, but it glosses over the fact that Cowher was a choke artist who only made the Hall because of a lucky tackle, a bunch of uncalled holding penalties in the Super Bowl, and his position as head coach as one of the league’s premier franchises. 

17 Pee Wee

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

To what degree were the Hall of Fame admissions for Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy enhanced by the Peewee Reese effect? Reese doesn't have a single number as a player to merit his induction to the baseball HOF, but he broadcast games for years and remained in the public eye. I don't recall any buzz for Cowher or Dungy for the Hall immediately after their coaching careers. They both took the Peewee path to their gold jackets.

23 Peewee Reese effect = dumbest thing I read today

In reply to by PackerPete

If you don't recall Cowher or Dungy having hall of fame buzz during their careers it is because you were oblivious.  Both were discussed as potential hall of famers all the time and regarded as consistently top of the league coaches.  Both had exemplary winning percentages.

  Dungy was a mortal lock for the Hall of Fame after winning the Superbowl.  He was on the 2000's all decade team.  It was beyond obvious that he was going into the hall of fame.

  Cowher was more borderline but I think it was also assumed he would get in once he got over the hump and won the Superbowl.  It would have been sooner but for a long time it was thought that he may well return to coaching and they didn't want to induct him before his career was actually over.

27 Cowher and Dungy were both…

Cowher and Dungy were both no-brainers.  200+ games, well over 60% win percentage, and any degree of success in the playoffs has a 100% Hall rate. Which, incidentally, puts in Belichick (duh), Tomlin, Reid, Payton, and Harbaugh, with McCarthy/Carroll/Holmgren being borderline.

Note that I'm not saying those are necessary to get in. Just hard to argue with that level of success.

16 Lombardi

Lombardi's 10 years of winning seasons covered his entire NFL coaching career. In 1959, he took over a Packer team that finished with a franchise-worst 1-10-1 record the previous season. Lombardi got the Packers to 7-5 his first season to start his great Packer run.

Lombardi stepped down as coach after winning Super Bowl 2, his 3rd straight NFL championship and the last of five in a seven year span. After a year hiatus, Lombardi took the reins in Washington and led that team to its first winning record in 17 years with a 7-5-2 mark. Within a year, Lombardi died of cancer.

I give Belichick props as the best NFL coach. Lombardi's name is rightfully on the trophy, though. 

 

18 To add on

In reply to by PackerPete

GB dropped from 9-4-1 to 6-7-1 when he left

He specifically took over a 5-9 Washington team. And when he left (RIP) they dropped to 6-8.

22 Washington team name

Whenever I see "WFT", I read "WTF".  I don't suppose that name is on any popularity lists, though.

 

25 When You're Right, You're Right

Sunday would be much more enjoyable if you could tune into the Washington What The F**ks on a regular basis. Perfect name for the franchise, and for the political establishment that calls Washington home.

26 Locals

Locals (DC area) have been calling them the "WTFs" since the change.  Feels fitting.

28 Since they don't actually…

Since they don't actually play in DC, and the stadium is on the Beltway, I've always leaned toward "Beltway Bandits" for their them. I'm fine witn Raderjoe's "Squirrels" as an alternative.

29 Not a Steelers fan, and I've…

Not a Steelers fan, and I've heard plenty about Tomlin's flaws as HC, but... man, to go 15 years without a losing season says something, and to manage to do it as an African-American is even more remarkable. Just think about Jim Caldwell, tossed aside after compiling the best W-L record of any Lions coach in the past 60 years, only to be replaced with... Matt Patricia? Tomlin and Dungy deserve respect for their accomplishments.

That said, that game plan to beat Tebow in that playoff game was just awful. 

30 HOF Coach

Glad to hear that the head coaches are now separate from players for election to the Hall.

Now, Don Coryell will receive his rightful place in Canton. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I understand his record doesn't qualify him among the HOF inductees. But his offensive principles, especially in the passing game are worthy of this recognition.

From the nomenclature of plays to the use of the tight end, his innovative ideas have gone on to produce Super Bowl champions, HOF players/head coaches and exciting play on the gridiron. 

HOF voters. Give this man his (posthumous) due.

 

NOTES:

St. Louis Cardinals, 1973 - 1977.

San Diego Chargers, 1978 - 1986.

Washington Redskins, 1981 - 1992.

Dallas Cowboys, 1989 - 1996.

St. Louis Rams, 1997 - 2001.

Tim Layden, BLOOD, SWEAT AND CHALK, The Ultimate Football Playbook: How The Great Coaches Built Today's Game, (New York, Sports Illustrated Books, 2010), 70 - 83.