Well, that’s a picture of Mike Holmgren from over three decades ago on the 49ers before he got the Packers gig. You also might recognize the two guys on the far left and right. They are known as “Goat 1” and “Goat 2”. Holmgren would go on to coach that Favre guy, and even drag the 2000’s Seahawks to a Super Bowl appearance. I’d have to say that he was a worthy hot shot coordinator, but how would you actually know? Guess what? Ya don’t!
Does the coach make the players or vice versa? Dudes are going to be dudes, because they are just wired and constructed different. Get out of their way, and don’t ruin it for them. But therein lies the rub. Some coaches aren’t able to get out of the way of their own players. So how do we know again, to quote AC/DC…”Who Made Who?”
What makes a “good” Coach?
We’ve all gone to a high school, where one class was just stacked with stud athletes in a given sport, or maybe a couple classes came through that were like that. Clearly you can’t help where parents live, but think about the same thing with recruiting in football, or an NFL knocking out a few drafts. The opposite end of the spectrum is a much less talented team, and maybe the coach gets through to them with teaching IQ/effort, and hopefully the players take to it, and they aren’t a total train wreck. (So much of sports is purely mental, it’s not even funny, btw).
The ticket is….how well do coach a solid group of players? One good enough where they can hold their own and be competitive, but a few dudes short of going to state. A REAL coach will get a team like that moving forward, and that’s where the line of demarcation starts. At the end of the day, talent wins out (usually). But how do you take a team with a high floor, and push it through the ceiling it didn’t know it had. Find that coach, and promote his/her ass somewhere.
Who were the REAL “hotshots” and who were the frauds?
I am going to rattle off a giant bullet point list of NFL Head coaches who got their gig as an OC or DC for a really great unit. Was it their talent, the players, or a little bit of both. You decide.
AGAIN, this ISN’T about coaching trees, like the Bill Walsh tree, or Belichick tree. This is looking at individuals in a vacuum who coached a unit at some point that drankly fam, was pretty lit/woke/fire…bruh.
1990’s COORDINATORS WITH SUPER BOWL VISITS
Mike Holmgren: 49ers to Packers. Big Mike OC’d those back to back Super Bowl Champs in the late 80’s. With the Packers he created quite the coaching tree, which included Jon Gruden, the Mooch, and Andy Reid.
Norv Turner: Cowboys to Redskins. Norvell helped run that Hall of Fame filled Dallas offense for their back to back Super Bowls in ’92 and ’93, and parlayed that into a kind of….unnoticeable 7 year tenure with the Redskins. Apparently, he couldn’t bring with Emmitt, Troy, Deion, Michael, Jay, Nate, Larry, Mark, *drones on…..
Bill Belichick: Giants to the Browns. “BB” as he is now known, DC’d that Giants defense for nearly the entire 1980’s. Sure, having the destroyer of quarterbacks and cocaine in Lawrence Taylor at his disposal was great, but ole Bill can put the clamps on an offense. Ask the nuclear powered 1990 Bills, and the 2001 Rams. And I literally meant, put the clamps on, because his DB’s mugging Harrison and Wayne during the mid 2000’s Brady/Manning wars led to rule changes we see with 300 yard passers every week now. Thanks, Bill!
*Brian Billick: Vikings to Ravens. This “BB” gets an asterisk because that 1998 Vikings team should have played the Broncos in a kickass Super Bowl, but lost to the goddamn “Dirty Bird” Falcons. “BB” ressurected 35 year old Randall Cunningham from the ashes, and it really helped he was flinging the ball to mother flippin Cris Carter, and rookie Randy Moss. I will argue this is the best pair of receivers in any given season. I said what I said.
2000’s COORDINATORS WITH SUPER BOWL VISITS
John Fox: Giants to Panthers. Bears fans just got the “I’m only here for the paycheck” John Fox, who seemed so far removed from the Marty Schottenheimer, “Run the DAMN ball and play DEFENSE” era that it wasn’t even funny. He coached Carolina all of the 2000’s, rode on Peyton Mannings coat tails in the early ’10’s with the Broncos, and now I guess does John Fox stuff. I dunno.
Marvin Lewis: Ravens to Bengals. Here is an underrated one. Yes he DC’d that nasty as hell 2000 Ravens defense that arguably is in the Mt Rushmore of all time single season leaders. Ray Lewis. Boulware. McCallister. the Goose! Also, Ed Reed wasn’t even there yet! He coached the Bengals for over a decade, and pulled them out of Football obscurity.
Brad Childress Eagles OC SB’s Vikings. So here’s a guy that no one liked. Part of the legion of Eastern Illinois NFL coaches, Brad was Andy Reid’s OC when Philly kept going to NFC Title games in the mid 2000’s. Seemingly no one on the Vikings liked him, because he was an abrasive chemistry teacher that should have stuck to calling plays in a booth. He once said Randy Moss was a “programatic non-fit”. Like who even literally talks like that?!
CURRENT HEARD COACHES WITH SUPER BOWL
Sean McDermott: Panthers to Bills. Sean McDermott ran the Panthers defense back when Luke Kuechly was doing his best Brian Urlacher impression. He has helped right the ship in Buffalo, and seems to know how to stay the hell out of Josh Allen’s way, which is a compliment. Great hire.
Frank Reich: Eagles to Colts. Guess who got a job by making Carson Wentz look good?! This guy! We all know Carson Wentz is a massive prima donna and borderline asshole based on his time in Philly, but Frank Reich and HC Doug PEderson figured out the college RPO game works JUST before the rest of the NFL did. Reich has done a solid job in Indy, even trying the Wentz experiment out again. Just cut bait, buddy!
Cam Cameron: Chargers OC to Dolphins. I couldn’t figure out a way to get Rich Kotite or Bruce Coslet on this list, but we’ll go this route. Guess which Hall of Fame running back was at his apex in 2006 that helped get Cameron his one year gig with the what ended up being a 1-15 season with the Dolphins. Yep, LaDainian Tomlinson.
Adam Gase: Broncos to Jets/Dolphins. Here is the 2010’s version of Brad Childress. This guy gets credit for being the offensive coordiantor for late career peak Peyton Manning with the Broncos. You kiddin’ me?! Peyton was teaching this guy, and he somehow got TWO head coaching gigs BACK to BACK, and now coaches high school football. Good times.
Matt Nagy: Chiefs to Bears. In the category of how to ruin our players by having an undeserved giant ego, Matt Nagy got his ass fired after stringing along 4 years with the Bears, all because he was the OC in NAME ONLY for the Chiefs for 7 games in 2017. An absolute monter of a fraud.
Ya know, usually I think about OC’s that ride the coat tails of good QB’s, like Todd Haley in Pittsburgh with Ben, parlaying it into a average short tenure with the Chiefs before Andy Reid got there. Or like, anytime Wade Phillips was elevated from a good DC to an in over his head lead general. That being said…..
BETTER AS DC’s. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT
Vic Fangio: He ran the 49ers Super Bowl defense a decade ago. The Bears 2018 defense as well. Hell, he coached those badass Pro Bowl linebackers on the Saints back in the early 90’s. Probably just not a Head Coach.
Steve Spagnuolo: Giants to Rams. Here’s a forgotten guy because of his blase’ Rams tenure. His 2007 Giants defense halted the juggernaut Patriots offense coming off of Spygate allegations in the Super Bowl. How you say? Not known as formidable run stuffing trio, but Osi Umeyiora and Justin Tuck (2 Pro Bowls apiece), and old man Michael Strahan were up in Tom Brady’s shit ALL GAME in that Super Bowl, and it got Spags a HC job.
*Pete Carroll 49ers DC SB to Patriots. This isn’t Seahawks Carroll. Nor is it USC Carroll. (Isn’t it crazy how he seems to have all these chapters?). If you weave through all the 1990’s Patriots/Jets and Parcells/Bellichick connections between all three guys, In the midst of it all, Petey ran the 49ers defense that beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl in ’94, and parlayed it into the Patriots gig. He was fired….and followed by “BB”. Guess which one?