I am really excited that Troy Brown was inducted today in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. Troy is one of my all time favorite players (along with a cast of many more admittedly). But to me he embodies the underdog not only working hard and having a great career — he was a team player, a versatile player, a great player. Congratulations Troy Brown!
I sat down one Saturday to read Boys Will Be Boys, about the 1990 Dallas Cowboys, and couldn’t put it down. This book chronicles the hard partying team that won three Super Bowls in four years and is definitively the team of the 1990’s.
Given the drinking, drugs, women, and super hard partying this team engaged in during their run in the 1990’s it is simply amazing that they were able to win championships. I’m not sure if it is a testament to just what phenomenal athletes these men were, or their dedication to football and winning despite their debauched lifestyle off the field. According to this book it seems nearly the entire team, with the exception of a few like stars like Troy Aikman, were engaged in a wild years long party off the field, while racking up wins and championships off of it.
Michael Irvin, the Hall of Fame wide receiver and guard Nate Newton appear to be the ringleaders of this band of imbibers. Of course Irvin has been busted enough times with drugs and women that it comes as no surprise. What is surprising is just how pervasive the lifestyle was. Certainly we all know there are a handful of players on every team that lead pretty wild lifestyles, but how a team that seemed to be immersed so deeply in drinking and womanizing (and presumably other illicit activities as well) could be so successful is really amazing.
Another completely bizarre character is defensive end Charles Haley. Basically run out of San Francisco by his teammates for his horrible behavior, he nearly fit right in with the Dallas Cowboys. This nasty fellow was known for exposing himself to his teammates and constantly harassing them and stirring up trouble. Only professional athletes could ever get by with the horrendous behavior and bizarre antics of Haley.
There is also plenty of other inside information about the 1990 Cowboys. We learn more about Troy Aikman and his leadership on the field. And of course there is great detail about coach Jimmy Johnson who turned a blind eye to off field behaviors as long as the team kept winning. We follow how he turned a losing team into a powerhouse with adroit drafting, his arrogant yet winning ways, and his falling out with owner Jerry Jones, when two Texas sized egos found they could not coexist. We also get a view of the inevitable decline after the inept blowhard Barry Switzer took over as head coach.
All in all this was a wildly informative book about a wild but winning team.
With the announcement that the comically incompetent Vinnie Cerrato is finally out of the picture as the Washington Redskins de facto general manager, the Redskins are now going in a new direction. Or are they?
Bruce Allen has been formally named the General Manager. Dan Snyder has finally hired a football guy to run the football team. And certainly in the near term there will be a lot of changes taking place within the organization, with the first order of business hiring a new head coach.
But the real question is, will Dan Snyder quit his meddling ways and let the football people run the football team while he handles the business side of the operation, which he is brilliant at? I for one will be very interested to see what happens in the long run. I have not heard one good thing about what it’s like to work for Dan Snyder and the Redskins. In fact, all I hear is what an awful meddler he is. My prediction is that Danny boy will find a way to ruin the team again, somehow. He just can’t resist the urge.
Look at what he is has done so far. He gave Marty Schottenheimer one year after Schottenheimer turned the team around with a bare cupboard as far as players were concerned. He fell in love with Steve Spurrier who turned out to be an atrocious pro football coach, trying to turn retread, failed pro quarterbacks from the University of Florida, Danny Wuerfful and Shane Matthews, into pass happy starting quarterbacks. Ditto with the lousy receivers he brought.
He then tried to resurrect Joe Gibbs, who sadly did not seem to have real control of the team or the organization, which turned into a brief flash of promise but ultimately failure.
And worse, after Gibbs retires Snyder and Cerrato hire offensive and defensive coordinators and THEN try to hire a head coach. What self respecting, top notch head coaching candidate is going to come in when he can’t hire his own team of coaches who fit his philosophy? None. So they end up stuck with an obviously over his head Jim Zorn.
I would say that Snyder has lost two years in rebuilding the Redskins into a perennial contender with the Zorn experiment. But in fact he’s lost a decade, through poor hiring, and constantly trying to buy a team by overpaying big name veterans like Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor, and Albert Haynesworth to big contracts. All these players did not live up to their contracts, but of course Haynesworth is an unknown. He’s been hurt much of the year.
In this decade the Redskins have had five head coaches. How can any team gain continuity with five head coaches in a ten year span?
What will happen in the long term is anyone’s guess. If Snyder lets Bruce Allen do his job, the Redskins will probably turn itself into a playoff contender within the next three to five years, or even sooner if Allen is shrewd enough. Allen himself has somewhat of a mixed record, being mostly on the business side in Oakland, and being fired in Tampa Bay after he helped build the team into a contender that fell on its face last year.
But continuity is necessary for the Redskins to be successful. I, for one, doubt Snyder will be patient enough to let it happen.