Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Belichick Coaching Tree

Since 2001, the postseason story in Foxboro has always been the same: which members of Belichick’s staff will other teams rudely loot in hopes of catching some of the Belichick Magic (otherwise known as syphillus). This week, that story repeated itself with the hiring of Josh McDaniels as the Broncos head coach and Scott Pioli as the Chiefs’ general manager. Of the two, the Pioli signing worries me the most, if only because his loss not only forces BB to take on a much larger personnel role (at least until The New Guy is broken in), but also because, at least from what I read in “Education of a Coach,” Pioli was one of the Pats guys who seemed to really “get it,” and might actually bring a measure of success to KC. But, in the spirit of these signings, let’s take a look at the Belichick Coaching Tree. Is it rich and plentiful, like the tree that Jenny and Forrest Gump used to play in before she got AIDS, or is it a Charlie Brown-looking sad motherfucking tree of FAIL? Let us examine, shall we?

His Belichickness tasted the sweet nectar of NFL coaching in the Mistake by the Mi-Lake, amassing a 36-44 record (and one benching of Bernie Kosar) for his troubles. One may call that era "disastrous" or "pretty much what you'd expect from the fucking Browns," but looking further into BB's Cleveland reign, it's evident that those five years in Northern Ohio were not a waste, as a number of fine coaches-in-waiting were sprung from Bill's coaching loins during this tenure:

Nick Saban, Alabama - despite his disastrous turn as Dolphins head coach, Saban is one helluva college coach, with one national title and this year’s Coach of the Year award, despite getting his ass kicked by Florida and Utah this year. ROLL TIDE...roll over in big games that is.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa - Has gone 70-53 in the recruiting wasteland that is Iowa City, Iowa. His name has been brought up as a possibility for nearly every NFL coaching job over the last five years, but for some reason, he's turned them all down in favor of a minority-free living environment, and lots of corn.

Pat Hill, Fresno State – 92-61 at Fresno, turned down Raiders HC job last year. Also somehow convinced NFL scouts to draft David Carr with the No. 1 pick.

Al Groh, Virginia – 55-38 at UVA. Also coached Jets to a 9-7 record before deciding to coach Howie Long’s kid. Has recruited extremely well at Virginia, though his record hasn’t exactly shown it.

Jim Schwartz, Titans DC – Led possibly the league’s best defense this year, is considered as the top finalist for the Lions HC job right now.

After carrying Parcells' joc...uh, I mean "serving ably as an assistant to Bill Parcells" for a few years, Bill Belichick finally got another head coaching opportunity in New England, where he performed the football coaching equivalent of turning the Wizard of Oz from black-and-white to Technicolor. Looking to suckle off the teat of such genius, various and asundry teams have attempted to hire BB's assistants to be their head coaches, meeting mostly with an epicosity of faildom:

Eric Mangini, former Jets HC and current Browns HC – 23-25 record with Jets, was immediately hired by Browns, missed playoffs in his last two years in NYC. Upon further review, is probably not a "Mangenius" as once thought, though he does earn points for earning the ire of Brett Favre.

Romeo Crennel former Browns HC – 24-40 record with Browns, his horridness simply cannot be quantified, unless you count the money made on gambling against him.

Charlie Weis, Notre Dame HC – 29-21 record at Notre Dame, 10-15 in his last two seasons with Jimmy Clausen’s gel-encrusted spikes as his quarterback.

This precedent does not portend well for McDaniels, who is entering a situation where he has little to no defense, not much cap room, and no running back to speak of. Good luck buddy! Note also that this list may include former Belichick assistants Rob Ryan and Brian Daboll in future years, and could technically include Dante Scharnecchia, who led the Steubenville Steamers over the Latrobe Athletic Association in the 1925 Negro-Free Foot Ball Championship when Latrobe's top player, Mortimer Plumbtree, contracted polio just prior to the game.

When you (not me, as I'll be dead) look back years from now on Belichick's true legacy, you'll probably realize that his true influence came in the player personnel realm, rather than in the Walsh-ian Maker of Coaches fashion. Here is what I suspect will only be a growing list of current GMs that have earned their black belt in personnel decisions at the Belichick-do Dojo:

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM – worked as a scout in Cleveland under BB but eventually took over the GM job in Baltimore. Has since led the Ravens to one Super Bowl win, five playoff appearances, the current AFC Championship and the acquittal of Ray Lewis.

Mike Tannenbaum, Jets GM – Tannenbaum served as a personnel intern in New England under Belichick, but was hired as the Jets’ GM in 2006, with mixed results ince then. he did draft Darrelle Revis at the end of the 1st round and Holly Mangold’s brother the year before, which can be construed as good. However, he also signed Brett Favre, which, while it got the Jets on the back cover of the Post every week, can probably be seen as bad. Overall, a mixed bag. Also should be noted - is the first person with a sports management degree from UMass to actually go into a career in sports management.

Thomas Dimitroff, Falcons GM – Dimitroff went from being the Pats’ head National Scout to a surprise choice as Falcons GM. A year later, the Falcons are now sitting pretty with a playoff appearance, a franchise quarterback (who has caused HZMLS roughly 13,954 wet dreams), Michael Turner at tailback, and a city that has almost forgotten about a certain Leavenworth inmate with herpes. Not a bad first year, especially if you run the Bed Bath & Beyond near HZMLS' apartment.

Going by this list, Pioli’s chance of success, especially given his important role in New England over the last few years, seems pretty high, even if it is in Kansas City. Then again, if he keeps Herm Edwards as coach, Pioli probably should look into renting property in the KC area, and not buying.


Boatdrinks said...

I am hoping that Coach has next intern in waiting ready to rock in Pioli's job. Pioli has been coveted for years, so they had to have plan B on the horizon.
Coach Herm is a goner. No way Pioli keeps him.

Pepster said...

Jenny died of AIDS? I thought they were hinting at something there, but I couldn't put my finger on it.