Thursday, December 27, 2007

Coach of the Year?

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Hooded One will win Coach of the Year this year. I suppose it's debatable whether Spygate should affect the voting, but honestly, it's not really a very interesting debate. Great coaches often get passed over for this award because it typically goes to some schmo whose team sucked last year. Gary Horton thinks Billy should win, and lists Tony Dungy as the number two choice.

The coaching subplot is one of the more interesting ones in this season on a fulcrum. Whereas most Colts fans (and I think most NFL fans) think Manning is the better QB in the whole Manning/Brady war, no one would rate as a better coach right now than Bill Belichick. The reason is that for a coach, winning and winning Super Bowls is ALL that matters. QBs win or lose with their teammates and can't be blamed for the mistakes of others. Coaches, however, control so much, that when some one has a coaching record like Darth Hoodie, there really is no debate as to his greatness. So that brings us to Tony Dungy's place in history. His regular season numbers are unparrelled among active coaches, and another Super Bowl would elevate him to a new stratosphere. But how does he compare to Belichick?

I think the argument can be made that if Bill's gamble to remake his team as a pass happy deep ball club, who takes no rest during the regular season results in a 19-0 season, it will be the greatest coaching accomplishment in history. If, however, bad weather, old legs that plowed through one too many meaningless games and fourth quarters, and a one dimensional club leads to him getting beat in the playoffs, this season will go down as one of the poorest in terms of decision making in recent history. If the Pats lose and the Colts win the Super Bowl, strong arguments can be formed that Dungy will have surpassed Belichick as the preeminent coach in the NFL. If the Pats win out, that question is very clearly decided.

Demond Sanders: I think people may look back and wonder why the Pats thought they could so easily replace Corey Dillon's 13 touchdowns in 2006. If they slip up the question will be asked over and over. I guess Belichick thought Sammy Morris could play a big role, but he got hurt. Maroney's play is going to be one of the more interesting storylines in January. Maybe he'll pull a JD Drew and actually surprise us in the postseason, but I doubt it.

To address your point about Dungy and Belichick, I think there are a number of legacy issues that are about to be decided. Colts vs Pats. Moss vs Harrison (vs. Owens?). Manning vs Brady. This decade will be defined by what takes place.


colts girl said...

Interesting thoughts. I'd like to see a happiness factor added to the "requirements" for coach of the year. Seriously. The COTY should actually look like he's happy to win games/coach football/be alive from time to time. Often, if possible. Too many of these guys (Belicheat among them) look like someone just kicked their dogs as they walk off the field/answer questions/stand on the sidelines.

Bob M. said...

I think BB is doing a pretty amazing job this year. Tony D is doing just as amazing work, albeit of a different nature. But like when a RB gets 2,000 yards (Jamal Lewis excepted), you pretty much have to give COTY to a coach with an undefeated regular season. And ahead of Dungy (who is probably unfairly "burdened" in general perception as a coach who wins because of Manning, as opposed to the guy who lost around 60 starter-games this season and still ended up with the 2nd or 3rd best record in the game) would be the more sentimental "turnaround" coaches, who took formerly moribund franchises to the playoffs, Crennell or Fisher, Childress or Gibbs, Del Rio, Cameron. Hah! Got you there with that last one, didn't I? (Wow, that was confusing. Sorry; re-read it slowly. Thanks.)

When non Pats fans might really appreciate BB's skills is when the wheels finally fall off their D--HGHarrison and the old LBs Seau, Bruschi, Vrabel... when they all break down at once, or just slow down enough to be lame, their stout DL and good DBs won't be enough to save them. If that happens next year and they go 10-6, will we Colt fans look back on 16-0 and say "Wow, just about the same team, just a little older. He really whipped them in to shape last year and defied the odds." I probably will. Although I'd also be tempted to say win 13-14 like Dungy did in 07, pal. We lost whole units too (OT and WR), you know.

Actually, I am pretty curious about next year's signings: Samuel and Moss are both due for a big contract in Boston, as are Clark and Sanders in Indy. How those four deals are handled could well decide a ton in 2008.

colts girl said...

I think we'll work hard to hang on to Sanders, but not as much with Clark. That's what I hope, anyhow. Clark just makes me really nervous. I don't know the stats, but it sure feels like he drops more catchable balls than he catches. I'm sending him a pair of gloves before the F-Pats game with a note:

"Please, please, please wear these. Warm, covered hands catch; cold, naked hands don't. Remember?"

I don't know about Samuel and Moss. I would suspect that they would work really hard to keep Moss even at the expense of Samuel. I'm not a coach or an owner, though (obviously).

HeatherRadish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HeatherRadish said...

A willingness to shake hands with the opposing coach after the game should be a requirement, too. Kids look up to these guys; they should be human beings.

FYI, for obsessed fans in cold climates: I was at Target today, and they had flannel sheets in a Colts Blue on clearance in the holiday housewares. Very subtle. Looks good with the Marvin Harrison on my ceiling. :P

Bob M. said...

Heather, Speaking of Marvin... HE PRACTICED TODAY!

Depending on swelling/comfort, he may play on Sunday. Then 2 weeks of rest and he's back.

Clark has awesome hands and great ball skills; at least he had before this season. The dropsies seemed to just hit him around mid-season, when everybody hit a funk. (Reggie dropped a TD as did Gonzo, "the replacements" dropped more than a few, etc.). Maybe it was Peyton??!!

And Mike Celizic, who is a marginal sports scribe, thinks the Colts have a good chance to go all the way. His logic is imperfect (we're hot and on a roll? Well, he conveniently ignored Oakland.), but I'll take it.

colts girl said...

Regardless of hisoverall history, Clark still makes me very nervous. Especially in the cold. I can remember some drops in another important cold-weather game of the past...

He'll be fine. If he wears the lovely gloves I'm sending him...


Heather: Thanks for the update on the sheets--I may have to go and get those. Our flannels are missing since our last move. They're probably in a box in my in-laws' basement. And I agree about the hand-shaking. Sportsmanship seems like it should be high on the requirements list.

JC said...

We're tied with Tampa for the fewest points allowed?

Must be all that age.

Bob M. said...

jc, Tampa's not all that young, either. But old guys have a tendency to tire out, end of games, end of seasons, end of their steroid/HGH injection cycle.....
What was it they said about King Henry II in "Lion in Winter"... You've got great, heavy arms, but one day you'll duck too slowly and they'll sing out long live the king for someone else. Old guys aren't officially over the hill until it happens. Up until then they are age-defying (see Seau, Jr. on one end of the spectrum and Dunn, Warrick on the other). Might be this year, might be next. But it'll happen.

Lookey here, this is the second article I read "crowning" Bob Sanders DPOY. Now I don't usually read CHFF for anything but laughs, but....

Bob M. said...


The first part of the URL is:

and the rest of it is (paste them together):


Anonymous said...

One season will never be the deciding factor in determining career legacies. Everyone wants to jump to conclusions. For example, I've read two or three articles talking about how Jan 2007 was when Peyton and the Colts, "having failed so often in the playoffs against Brady and the Pats", finally won one vs. NE.

Two playoff losses had somehow morphed into a lifetime of losses.

At this point, there have been three playoff games b/w Indy and NE, each won by the home team. And yet people have reached all kinds of conclusions about the careers of the coaches and QBs based on those 3 games.



Demond Sanders said...


I hear what you are saying, but I have to disagree. Belichick and Dungy aren't going to be around forever. Would it surprise you terribly if either retired after winning the Super Bowl this year?

The 19-0 potential is the biggest reason why this is THE season. If Dungy and Manning break up perfection and go on to win it all it won't matter what they do for the rest of their careers - they'll be immortal.

But if they fail it won't matter what they do for the rest of their careers - they'll be remembered largely as fodder. That's how I see it at least.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think the undefeated Dolphins are the best NFL team ever? I think of them as a team that played a weak schedule, didn't lose and won a Super Bowl. But I've never really thought they were the best ever.