James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Admiring Old Pros

Joe Theismann, Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, and now, Mark Brunell.

As quarterbacks, they ranged from average to very good. Hall of Famers? Not a one.

As coach of the Reskins, Joe Gibbs has gone to the play-offs with each of them, and won Super Bowls with three of them.

Gibbs was absent from the NFL for eleven years, deciding to win a couple of Winston Cups instead, but now with Brunell at the helm he has the Redskins on fire in the second year of his return to the Redskins. Some people root for underdogs, but I like to root for all-time greats doing it one more time.

I should also congratulate Tom Coughlin, who had several good years at Jacksonville, taking the Giants to the play-offs. And Brunell, his quarterback with the Jaguars who has proven with the Redskins that he isn't washed up. And, also, the Jaguars organization, who has had a very quiet 12-4 season with the new blood of Jack del Rio as coach and Byron Leftwich at qb. The three-way divorce turned out to be a win-win-win.

Dick Vermeil, who won with three different teams and who, like Gibbs took over a decade off between coaching gigs is retiring. It's too bad the Chiefs didn't make the play-offs. But at least we don't have to make fun of him for his teary-eyed press conferences any more.

UPDATE: How could I forget Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers? That old pro scored three touchdowns in his final home game, and the Steelers have made the playoffs once again. Although there weren't many years when I considered him one of the top 5 running backs, he's been the Steeler's rock for ten seasons and his career totals (including the Rams) will probably land him in the Hall of Fame.

Bill Cowher, Bettis' coach, has been leading the Steelers as long as Brett Favre has been quarterbacking Green Bay. Through that era, the Steelers have had Neil O'Donnell, Mike Tomczak, Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox, and Ben Roethlisberger at full-time starting quarterback - four certifiably non-Hall of Famers and a rookie have qb'd the team to the playoffs.

While I'm at it, at this point I'm almost wishing the Colts do not make it to the Super Bowl this year. The "all Dungy family, all the time" media coverage is the last thing I'd wish on anybody. I like the Colts and would love to see Dungy and Manning win a Super Bowl some time, but not this year. I hope they go down heroically swinging in the AFC Championship game. Again, to the Patriots. As I said, I love to see the great ones do it one more time.

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