ESPN Calls Dungy Best NFC South Coach Ever
June 15, 2010 at 01:27pm by Scott • 6 Comments »
Thanks to Jeremy Trueblood‘s fair catch yesterday, there’s no OTA today and probably not a hell of a lot going on, so we have to dig into what the real writers are doing with their time to see if we can get some material. And unfortunately, Pat Yasinskas came up with the only thing worth reading at the moment. He took on the challenging task of doing the same shit we all do when we’re with our buddies and ranked things, in his case, the top six (six?) NFC South coaches of all time. But since the NFC South is only in its ninth year of existence, he considered the entire coaching histories of the four NFC South teams. His conclusion: Tony Dungy is the best coach ever in the NFC South.
Yeah, Dungy never won a Super Bowl until he got to Indianapolis (and that factored into my thought process). Dungy did set the table for Gruden, but he did so much more than that. He came into a franchise that hadn’t had a winning season in a generation, was beyond dysfunctional and was on the verge of moving to Cleveland, Sacramento, Orlando or anywhere that would give the Bucs a new stadium.
It’s hard to argue, especially in a division with such young teams. The Falcons are the oldest team and they started in 1966, so no one really has a long and storied history of coaching legends to pull from. But for how low the Bucs were when he took over and what he developed in Tampa over six short years, you have to go with Dungy. I also agree with Yasinskas that Sean Payton should be #2. After that it gets dicey.
3. John Fox, Carolina Panthers. Yep, I did it. I picked Fox over a guy who won a Super Bowl (Gruden).
Well, then, you suck. Fox has been just as up and down in his tenure as Gruden was, going to the playoffs one year and missing them the next. Gruden’s low (4-12) was lower than Fox’s low (7-9 three times), but Gruden’s high was the highest it can get. Fox is a good coach, but outside of Dungy who established a culture in Tampa, how can you put a Super Bowl loser over a Super Bowl winner?
4. Jim Mora, New Orleans Saints. I’m doing it again. I’m looking at the big picture. Remember what I said about Dungy and Payton about how they changed the climate of their franchises? Well, Mora did the same thing in New Orleans in the 1980s.
He’s above Gruden, too? I actually like this pick better than Fox’s.
5. Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All right, Gruden won a Super Bowl and you can never take that away from him. He put Tampa Bay over the top after Dungy couldn’t. He won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson as his quarterback and no true superstars on offense.
You sure you don’t want to put Bobby Petrino or George Seifert in here, Pat?
And why do people talk about Brad Johnson like he’s some crippled kid who got lucky enough to land on a winning football team? Johnson was a very good quarterback up until the end of his career. After the Bucs cut him, he went back to Minnesota and went 7-2 with a six game winning streak in his first season back there. He has a career passer rating of 82.6, not shabby when you consider Kurt Warner‘s career rating of 93.2. I understand people saying “they even won with Trent Dilfer” about the Ravens because Dilfer had periods with the Bucs when he truly sucked ass. Johnson never had that, at least not until he was 38 or 39.
6. Dan Reeves, Atlanta Falcons. There was a part of me that wanted to put Reeves ahead of Gruden for this simple fact: He reached a Super Bowl with Chris Chandler as his quarterback.
And there’s a part of me that wants to see Pat dropped into an industrial meat grinder and turned into several dozen pounds of meat loaf mix. I didn’t realize the Gruden hate was so deep for him. And, really, Dan fucking Reeves on this list? He had a losing record with the Falcons. If we’re going to consider coaches with losing records, you’ve got to put John McKay on this list. McKay started out with less than nothing in the expansion season, total shit thanks to the rules for expansion teams. In four years he was playing for the NFC Championship with a defense that teams were legitimately scared of. And he went to the playoffs two more times even as the talent level he was working with was getting depleted rapidly. Reeves only went to the playoffs one other time in his tenure with Atlanta besides the Super Bowl year.
I’d also like to add an honorable mention for Norm Van Brocklin, who only went 37-49-3 for Atlanta in seven seasons, but the guy was just a bad ass. Injury was no excuse to not play, he could go through an entire pack of cigarettes on the sidelines in one game, and his swearing put Jon Gruden to shame. He was old school all the way, lived hard and died young. Fox may have a better win-loss record, but I know who I’d want on my side in a street fight.
So anyway, there’s Pat’s list. Basically, Dungy is the best, Payton is second, and Gruden can suck Pat’s balls because the only reason he’s on there is the Super Bowl victory he accidentally stumbled into. And Van Brocklin is cooler than all of them combined. In fact, I’m changing the banner pic. Dungy gets his mug on enough shit.