Friday, January 14, 2005Handicapping the Playoff Coaches
Basically I like to break my coaches down by the great ones, the good ones, the unknowns and the wild card.
The Wild Card
Mike Martz -- This guy is a threat to everyone on the field especially himself. I mean he was willing to lose a Super Bowl just to prove a point. Martz is a terrible game planner, he has no clue how to use his personnel and his clock management skills are amongst the worst in league history. However he's risk taker and he's unpredictable which means the opposing coach will never feel comfortable against him.
Jim Mora Jr. -- What do we know about this guy? He's trying to fit a square peg in a circle by forcing Michael Vick to learn the West Coast offense. He's obviously big on playing strong defense and running the ball so he's got some traditional traits. However, he's a Mora and we know what that family does in the playoffs.
Mike Tice -- I appreciate Tice's demeanor. He's an honest guy but he's also a bit of a players' coach, a nice mix. His unknown is Randy Moss. Moss can be a jerk and he can barely walk right now, so his health could be the difference between winning and losing. However, Tice deserves credit for working through a disasterous final quarter of the season and getting the team up to win a road playoff game in hostile territory. It didn't hurt that Brett Favre was horrible.
Herman Edwards -- Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Herm, I'm a Jets fanatic and I think Herm is as cool as it gets. He's 2-2 in the playoffs and won a game that the Jets would NEVER win...EVER... So it's not him I'm worried about, it's the offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Hackett's the master of the horizontal passing game and using 3-yard routes on 3rd and 5. The Jets offense is the big unknown.
Tony Dungy -- Ok, take Indy's financial breakdown into consideration. This team has invested roughly 70% of their cap into the offense, meaning the defense is make completely from the draft and spare parts. In spite of that, Dungy has done enough so that they can get by because once the Colts get a lead the game is over. Dungy's close to being a great coach but he's had several near misses in the postseason.
Bill Cowher -- I just can't make Cowher great because he's lost the AFC championship game on three occasions at home when his team was favored. I know he won the AFC title in 1995 and coached an inspired Super Bowl, but Cowher seems to fall short consistently in the big games because he puts too much faith in his quarterback. In 2001, he could've kept running Zereoue and probably beaten the Patriots. My fear for Cowher is that Roethlisberger will attempt 30+ passes on Saturday.
Andy Reid -- Despite three-straight NFC championship game losses, Reid gets in because he's led the Eagles to three straight NFC championship games. His Eagles have remained good enough to remain the best as the rest of the conference has went into the tank. Obviously it'll be tough to get over the hump without Terrell Owens, but the Eagles are healthy enough at every other spot to survive.
Bill Belichick -- Winning two Super Bowls in three years can do wonders for a coach's reputation, even if they dress as if it's laundry and movies night at Boston College. Belichick is the anti-Martz, a meticulous planner and a great coach between the halves. Unlike most years Belichick is forced to deal with several injuries, including the loss of Ty Law. It's very possible that his Patriots will fall on Sunday, but would you want to bet against him?
Thursday, January 13, 2005Err Jordan
From the very beginning of his professional career, and long before he'd won anything at all, Michael Jordan and his handlers worked so diligently at developing the brand that it ultimately became impossible to remember where the logo left off and the person began. He talked like a man raised by focus groups. He created a person without edges, smooth and sleek and without any places for anyone to get a grip on him.
I'll admit it - I never liked Jordan. Respected him, sure. Even feared him, during the '93 Finals. But he never was the kind of man I watched and thought, "That guy's cool."
While the article discusses his public persona, I'm still waiting for the tell-all on how much of a bastard MJ could be to his teammates.
My ultimate Jordan moment came at the end of the '98 Finals, the last of the Bulls' titles. Apparently, veteran center Joe Klein was weeping, emotionally overcome after finally winning a ring in his 13th season. Jordan came up to Klein and said, "Why are you crying? I did all the work."