Monday, November 05, 2007

the ultimate

Football is the ultimate team sport.

Here is why I say that. If you were to put a great player, even a Hall of Famer, on a bad team - they'll be mediocre at best. I shouldn't say that. I should say that if you take a great player and put him on a team with a bad system for him...he'll be mediocre at best.

There have always been great players on bad teams. You could make an argument that they played on bad teams that also had a good system for them. Maybe their offense was horrible, but they had a good defensive system that still allowed that linebacker to shine. Maybe their defensive was so bad that you were on the field longer than you should have you ended up with more tackles.

Charlie Weis was the genius offensive coordinator for the Patriots. Then he was the genius head coach of Notre Dame. Then he was the worst coach in the history of football. If you take a look at the Patriots offense now - they're not so bad, even without Charlie. A bad coach looks like a great coach when he has the right players - or the right coaching staff.

Steve Young threw 11 touchdowns and 24 interceptions when he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was awful. He went to San Francisco and was a Hall of Fame Quarterback. He was playing in a system where a guy with a mediocre arm and the greatest wide receiver of all time helped make Hall of Fame careers out of quarterbacks.

Mike Vrabel was a backup for the Steelers. He's was one layer removed from the practice squad because he was behind a Pro Bowl linebacker. He was a great linebacker playing in the wrong system on the wrong team.

David Klingler was the 6th pick in the 1992 draft. He was in everyone's top ten that year. Experts across the land said so. He wasn't a sure thing, because there is no such thing in the NFL - but he was considered a legitimate #1 pick by many. He was awful. I'd argue that if you put Joe Montana on that team - he would have been nearly as bad. So either he set all those records in college because he was a pretty good player playing in a great system, or he was thrown out of the league because he was a pretty good player playing in an awful system.

The Bengals were awful. Their coaches were awful. So every year they would get the #1 pick in the draft. Each year they'd get another player and fire another coach. Eventually they improved enough to pull to .500. What you'd want to be is the coach that came along when they were starting to get better just by resting every single postseason and then getting the top draft picks. Along comes Marvin - he, of the one winning season in 5 years.

Put Marvin on the right team with the right personnel and the right system, I'll bet he'd be a pretty good defensive co-ordinator.

Great players playing in the right system under the right coach make for a great team. It's the ultimate team sport.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:21 PM

    I would completely agree. Another way to look at it is:

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the, if not the best owners in the NFL. They have a fantastic scouting department and they are not afraid to spend money on facilities, coaches and players.

    Their scouting depatment is about twice the size as the Bengals. Would Bill Cowher be a great coach in Cincinnati? Why is it that their defensive coordinator is a great coordinator in Pittsburgh, but he was average in the same position in Cincinnati?

    Ownership makes a huge difference...