Posts Tagged ‘mike tomlin’

Unabated to the Quarterback, Week 16: Don’t quit, don’t even quit

“For where there is no battle there is no life.”

—F.W.J. Schelling

I had that quote all set up to use at halftime of the Giants-Panthers debacle (which we’ll get to later) before realizing that it would work even better for what transpired in that other New York football team’s game.

For many, the signature play of the Indianapolis Colts’ decade did not take place in their overwhelmingly forgettable Super Bowl XLI win over the Bears;* rather, it was in the 2004 Divisional Playoff game in New England, when Dominic Rhodes had the ball ripped out of his hands by Tedy Bruschi. “They don’t want it!” Bruschi yelled, pointing to the ball as he jogged to the sidelines.

*To substantiate my “overwhelmingly forgettable” claim: What was the score? Who really deserved MVP? What was the key play, and who made it?

That has long been the perception about the Indianapolis Colts: They don’t want it as much as New England or San Diego. On Sunday afternoon in Lucas Oil Stadium, Jim Caldwell proved all the doubters true. In pulling Peyton Manning and several of his starters from the second half of a tight game with the New York Jets, Caldwell—and it should be noted that the coach was simply acting under the orders of GM Bill Polian—took the coward’s way out.

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NFL Preview Bonanza: The Coolest Head Coaches

The NFL Season kicks off on Thursday night with the Steelers hosting the Titans. To prepare for what is already being dubbed the most anticipated season since the fifth installment of The Wire, we’ll be doing a full-blown (and probably overwrought) NFL Preview Bonanza, including looks at each division, predictions for every team (that actually add up), and, in true NPI fashion, rankings.

A common thread in sports discussion is the significance of a coach. Most people downplay the role of a manager in baseball, except when it’s Joe Torre or Bobby Cox. Most people downplay the role of a coach in basketball, except when it’s Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich. And don’t even get me started on hockey, where I’m pretty sure the longest-tenured head coach was hired last summer.*

*I mean, teams ROUTINELY win the Stanley Cup after making midseason coaching changes. ROUTINELY.

Nobody downplays the role of the football coach, though. Football is the sport where the importance of the coach is never overlooked; some of the sports’ greatest legends—men like Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, and now Bill Belichick—never strayed from the sidelines.

But what makes a good coach? A football coach has to embody that Machiavellian intersection of fear and respect. A football coach has to be cool.

What is cool? Not even Miles Davis could articulate it. No, coolness is more like obscenity: You know it when you see it.

The following is a ranking of the 32 NFL coaches in ascending order of coolness. Explanations, when necessary, are attempted. By the way, the picture up top is of Hank Stram, undoubtedly the coolest coach in NFL history. If you didn’t know that, don’t bother asking why.

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