Coaching Nugget

Posted: December 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

You guys want to know who the new coach will be.  Me too.  Instead of just throwing names out there, I like to really look at stuff like this from a variety of angles.  I was thinking about coaches this morning and an interesting revelation came to me.

Since 2000 (post Andy Reid being hired), think about the Super Bowl winners:

2000 – Brian Billick
2001 – Bill Belichick
2002 – Jon Gruden
2003 – Belichick
2004 – Belichick
2005 – Bill Cowher
2006 – Tony Dungy
2007 – Tom Coughlin
2008 – Mike Tomlin
2009 – Sean Payton
2010 – Mike McCarthy
2011 – Tom Coughlin

What are some common threads?  Bill Parcells.  Tony Dungy.

Belichick coached under Parcells for years.  Coughlin was an assistant with him in the Giants days.  Payton worked for Tuna in Dallas.  Those guys have won 6 of the last 12 Super Bowls.

Gruden won the SB with a team put together and developed by Dungy.  Tony won the big game himself in 2006.  Tomlin spent a year working for Dungy in Tampa.  That’s another 3 Super Bowls from the period.

If you look at SB losers, Belichick has a couple of recent defeats.  Dungy’s disciples have 3 in recent years (Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, and Lovie Smith).

With this in mind…should the Eagles possibly focus on finding a coach who served under Parcells or Dungy?  You can certainly make the case.  The guy who jumps to mind is Mike Zimmer, who coached the defense for Parcells in Dallas.

As for a Dungy disciple…I’ll need to do my research and see what name looks good.  There isn’t one guy that clearly comes to mind.

I do know that these coaches have had proteges that didn’t work out.  Tony Sparano in Miami is the most recent example.

There are no guarantees when you look for patterns that following them will lead to the same results.  Still, it is something worth noting and factoring in as you try to make the best decision.

* * * * *

Odd notes of interest:

Marty Schottenheimer links to a couple of coaches.  McCarthy worked for him in KC.  So did Dungy.

The Steelers have ties to several guys.  Cowher, Tomlin are obvious.  Dungy coached and played for the Steelers.  Ken Whisenhunt, who lost to Tomlin in 2008, had been an assistant under Cowher in Pittsburgh.

* * * * *

Please keep in mind that this is just one angle.  Over the next month we’ll cover other angles such as age, experience, background, systems, and things like that.  I just found it fascinating to see what an impact Dungy and Parcells had on the last 12 years.


64 Comments on “Coaching Nugget”

  1. 1 Kristopher Cebula said at 11:21 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    even though sparano was not successful, his dolphins team was a hard nosed team that was tough to beat toward the end. I just want a coach who is going to field a nasty team who likes to hit people and makes the tackle the first time. tired of seeing eagles jerseys falling all over each other to miss tackles

  2. 2 holeplug said at 12:48 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Sparano would still be there if they had taken Matt Ryan instead of Jake Long #1 overall in 2008

  3. 3 shah8 said at 7:34 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    No he would not, well not necessarily. Matt Ryan is working with a very full stable of offensive talent in Atlanta. All the acquisitions and draft picks might not have happened in Miami the same way, and Ryan, I think, is one of those that need a pretty strong overall offense to be effective.

  4. 4 K_Dilkington said at 9:07 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Yeah, I mean come on, he obviously showed he needed a stacked offense to succeed at Boston College…

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 11:45 AM on December 7th, 2012:

    Nicely done..

  6. 6 T_S_O_P said at 11:24 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    What coaching tree is Kubiak? Landry? His run to the Superbowl this year is being powered by Wattage of the JJ variety. Oh I so wanted that guy. Some duffer sold him to me on ScoutsNotebook.

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 2:33 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Kubiak is a Shanahan guy.

    And I did love JJ Watt. He would be a glorious Eagle.

  8. 8 Angry Amishman said at 11:25 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    Lets just go after Dungy himself?

  9. 9 Baloophi said at 11:33 AM on December 6th, 2012:


  10. 10 TommyLawlor said at 12:23 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I don’t think Dungy wants to coach anymore.

  11. 11 P_P_K said at 12:28 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Vick would take a pay cut to play for him.

  12. 12 austinfan said at 11:30 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    I think it reflects that top coaches get to hire top assistants (both because they can identify them but also because their reputations means they get first dibs on hiring bright young assistants).

    However, you can get carried away, how good is Tomlin with no LeBeau? How good is Belichick with no Brady (that will be interesting to find out, Bledsoe went to the SB without Belichick). Small samples can provide spurious correlations.

    Another question is whether the coaches reflect their mentor, I think it would be hard to credit Parcells for Payton’s approach (obviously, coaching for the Eagles was his biggest influence). Gruden was influenced by Ray Rhodes? Or by Dungy? I doubt it. Was Dungy influenced by Cowher? Now you could make a stronger case for Parcell’s influence on Belichick and Couglin.

  13. 13 Thorin McGee said at 11:57 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    Keep in mind that the HC and the coordinators control the systems and terminologies used. The assistant coaches who coach under them get indoctrinated into that stuff just as much as the players. That’s more than just someone rubbing off on you.

  14. 14 austinfan said at 12:36 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    However, many assistants work for 3 or 4 coaches before becoming HCs, and maybe one thing that defines a good HC candidate is their ability to pick and choose from the systems they’ve been exposed to and develop their own philosophy. There are numerous varients of the WCO floating around the NFL from changes incorporated by Walsh disciples, for example.

  15. 15 Thorin McGee said at 2:04 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    They may work with 3 or 4, but the last guy is usually the most influential because that’s where they had the most success. Also, the 3 or 4 they work with are often going to be in the same general network (coaching tree) because that’s who recommends them to the next guy.

    As far as picking what you’re exposed to, I don’t think that reflects the competitive world of coaching. It’s a seller’s market, the young coaches latch on where they can. Plus, by nature, you don’t generally know what’s going to shape you before you get into it. Otherwise growing up and being successful would be a heck of a lot easier.

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 12:25 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Dungy and Cowher worked together in KC. Neither guy worked for the other.

  17. 17 ceteris_paribus1776 said at 3:40 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    You ‘ll never get enough sample size or be able to effectively control for all the moving parts to know how much the QB helps the coach. I think what makes the case for NE is just how different Belichick’s teams have become and how many different pieces they’ve moved through with very good results. He is the epitome of self reflection and adjusting.

  18. 18 Thorin McGee said at 11:37 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    The Parcells coaching tree is also the most run-heavy offense in the NFL. They tend to use the Parcells-Earhardt style offenses that are 50/50 run/pass. That’s what they run up in NE: even though sometimes their passing stats are way out of whack, that’s game planning, the base offense they have installed is 50/50, and they will smash you in the mouth even while passing for 600 yards.

    I don’t think this is a coincidence.

  19. 19 ACViking said at 11:38 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Greg Roman

    Roman was an assistant coach for 6 years in Carolina and then 4 years in Houston, all under Dom Capers.

    Capers served as Bill Cowher’s D-coordinator from 1992-94.

    I guess that makes Roman a Cowher guy, once removed.

  20. 20 ACViking said at 11:47 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Bill Belichick’s “true” coaching roots

    Belichick’s first coaching job was for the Baltimore Colts, then coached by Ted Marchibroda.

    Marchibroda had been the Redskins’ O-coordinator under head coach George Allen in the early ’70s, having come to Washington with Allen from the LA Rams.

    Allen himself developed a fearsome reputation as a D-coordinator for the CHI-Bears in the early ’60s under Papa Bear George Halas.

    So Belichick’s a Marchibroda guy from the George Allen tree of coaching.

    There was no NFL coach more paranoid and more often accused of cheating than George Allen. He’d do anything to get an edge.

    So I’m going with Belichick as an Allen guy.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 12:28 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Belichick was very close with Floyd Reese when they worked for the Lions together. I don’t know what that means, but I find it interesting.

    So what tree does Kevin Bacon fall under…Allen, Lombardi, Brown, Kotite?

  22. 22 ACViking said at 12:32 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I meant to say “6 degrees” but forgot!

    Well played, sir.

  23. 23 Ark87 said at 11:58 AM on December 6th, 2012:

    I worry that those coaching trees have been picked clean. My question is, do you think they picked up some winning ways off these coaches, or do Parcells and Dungy know how to pick a staff that is worth something. I would definitely see about consulting Dungy or Parcells on this transition.

  24. 24 A_T_G said at 4:31 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    You sold me. How about a Bill squared? Billy D Williams can bring some of his Cloud City organization to the team. Coordinators can wear those thought transmitter things like his assistant. The only down side is he doesn’t seem to have much background with the ground game.

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 4:37 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Coordinators with built in headsets. Now that’s 21st Century!

  26. 26 K_Dilkington said at 9:16 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    plus, instead of Koolaid, we can all taste some smooth Colt 45…. works every time.

  27. 27 Eric Weaver said at 12:00 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I’ve wanted Zimmer for years. He did more with less in Cincy. It isn’t until the last couple of seasons that he really has good talent.

  28. 28 KeithPetres said at 12:05 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Todd Bowles, of course, is a Parcells disciple.

  29. 29 TommyLawlor said at 12:28 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Well done, sir.

  30. 30 ACViking said at 12:20 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Bill Cowher’s Roots

    Cowher began his NFL career as a free agent LB and special-teams demon on the ’79 Eagles under Dick Vermeil.

    Coach Vermeil got his NFL break in 1969, when then-LA Rams coach George Allen hired him to become the *very first* full-time special-teams coach in pro-football.

    So Cowher’s roots trace to the sometimes-forgotten George Allen and his coaching-tree (as Bill Belichick’s does).

    Coach Vermeil — before his stint w/ the Rams — had been an assistant at Stanford under John Ralston, who led the then-Stanford Indians to back-to-back Rose Bowl upsets in ’71 and ’72 over Top Ranked and undefeated Ohio State and Michigan teams, first with Heisman winner QB Jim Plunkett and the next year behind journeyman QB Don Bunce (who made the cover of SI). Those wins spoiled the Big-10 winners’ chances to be National Champions.

    That was way back in the *much better days* when “THE BIG FOUR” Bowl Games — Cotton, Orange, Rose, Sugar — were all played on New Years Day (or, in the case of the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve starting in ’72). So depending on who won which game, you might not know the National Champion, or co-champions, until the Rose Bowl ended around 9 pm.

    It made for the BEST day of football-watching every year. 8 teams were all in all day long on 1/1.

    Anyway, Ralston later became head coach of the Broncos. And in 1979, he served as the Eagles O-Coordinator under his former student Coach Vermeil. That was the same year the legendary coach Sid Gilman joined Dick’s staff and turned the Eagles into a great offense.

    Gilman’s theory was spread out the defense horizontally to create passing lanes vertically built on the foundation of a sound running game, complemented by a 2-TE, 1-RB formation. The Cowboys of the early ’90s, with the triplets of Aikman, Irvin, and Smith, executed Gilman’s philosophy at the highest level. Think of Aikman to Irvin on that generally unstoppable skinny post. That’s all Sid Gilman.

  31. 31 TommyLawlor said at 12:30 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Lots of good nuggets. I had no idea that Stanford was called the Indians.

  32. 32 ACViking said at 12:33 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Changed to the Cardinals out of respect for the objections lodged by Native Americans.

  33. 33 A Roy said at 10:01 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Actually, they’re the Cardinal, as in the color.

  34. 34 ACViking said at 12:29 PM on December 6th, 2012:


    Great catalytic post leading to some interesting questions . . . and (for me) great rabbit trails all the way back to Palo Alto and Dick Vermeil.

  35. 35 TommyLawlor said at 12:45 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Some day when I’ve got time, I’ll write something on the importance of California and coaches. From John Madden and John Robinson growing up as neighbors to the great Stanford and UCLA staffs of the 1960’s/70’s to Marv Levy at Cal to Don Coryell at SDSU and Sid Gillman with the Chargers. And of course Mr Walsh at SF.

    Ohio and Cali are the key states for great coaches, whether born there or developed there.

  36. 36 ACViking said at 1:03 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Would be a great post. (Woody Hayes came from the Miami of Ohio breadbasket of power-football coaching . . . while California, with that great weather, had coaches developing the game beyond those dusty 3-yard carries by Woody Hayes’s fullbacks.)

  37. 37 Thorin McGee said at 1:59 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I’d like to read that, too. I imagine part of it the way the networks grew organically.

  38. 38 ACViking said at 1:01 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Belichick and Floyd Reese


    I’ve read about that connection . . . a couple young guys learning the ropes in the NFL.

    Reese played at UCLA in the late ’60s under Bruins head coach Tommy Prothro. Prothro — one of the great college coaches of the ’50s-’60s — coached 2 Heisman-winning QBs: one at Oregon State in 1962 named Terry Baker who was also a tremendous basketball player for OSU; and UCLA’s Gary Beban in ’67.

    Prothro was known for his offensive creativity. He started at Oregon State running the Single Wing in the early ’60s. (Which, as an aside, eventually morphed into the Delaware Wing-T that Holy Spirit High School ran with great success while Greg Roman was there . . . ugh!) Eventually, Prothro moved to the move to the more conventional split-back formation with the QB under center.

    The late ’60s was the highmark for UCLA mens’ sports. UCLA’s football team during the Prothro era was as big a draw as the then-emerging juggernaut that was John Wooden’s UCLA roundball Bruins. Rose Bowl bids routinely depended on UCLA’s end-of-the-season rivalry game against cross-town USC.

    Best remembered is probably the 1967 game, when OJ Simpson went 68 yards through the entire UCLA defense to put the Trojans up 21-20 late in the game — in which UCLA’s kicker had 2 FGs and a PAT blocked and missed wide on another FG.

    Not sure what Prothro’s influence on Reese was, if anything. But both turned out to be great GMs. (Prothro drafted many of the great San Diego Charger players, when he also served as HC, who became the backbone of those great Air-Coryell Teams.)

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 2:36 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Prothro is one of the overlooked guys in football. I’ve seen a couple of good NFL Films things on him. Odd note…he drank Coke like water. He would buy a case at a time and that would last him just a couple of days.

  40. 40 K_Dilkington said at 10:25 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    man, his teeth must have been like root beer barrels.

  41. 41 Julescat said at 2:07 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    basically the list shows a common denominator except in a few rare occasions. You need an elite QB to win the Super Bowl. Other than 2000 and 2002 that has been the case.

    How many of these winning coaches could do it without their elite QBs? Remember Belicheck with the Browns?

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 2:37 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Of course you need a QB. This angle on the recent SB champs is only part of the story.

  43. 43 Julescat said at 3:41 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    what I was trying to say is the elite QB makes the competent coach great. Will we be talking about Shanahan and Bruce Arians as great coaches once RG3 and Luck take their teams to the Super Bowl?

  44. 44 austinfan said at 4:38 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Brady 2001 – 86.5 QB rating, 6.9 YPA
    Brady 2003 – 85.9 QB rating, 6.9 YPA
    Eli 2007 – 73.9 rating, 6.3 YPA

  45. 45 ACViking said at 6:51 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Eli’s overall 2007 season wasn’t particularly good.

    But starting with the last few regular season games, and then the playoffs, Manning really elevated his play. And had some good luck too.

  46. 46 Mike Flick said at 2:18 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Brings up the point about the Reid Coaching tree.

    Which coach will be the first to lead a team to a championship?

    Harbaugh, Childress, Rivera, Frazier, Spagnolo, who else am I missing from former Reid staff member who is or was a head coach?

  47. 47 Anders said at 2:26 PM on December 6th, 2012:


  48. 48 TommyLawlor said at 2:38 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Great question. Harbaugh has the best situation, but the lack of progress there is a little concerning.

  49. 49 ACViking said at 3:24 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Harbaugh / progress concern


    11 months ago, he was one Lee Evans catch from the SB. A game the Ravens had a great shot to win over the G-men.

    But this year, the Ravens’ defense is exposed by age and injuries. And Flacco’s shoulders may not be broad enough to carry the team.

    I think his window in Baltimore is closing.

    That said, Ozzie Newsome’s been among the very best at re-loading that Ravens’ talent pool.

  50. 50 John Ormond said at 5:29 PM on December 6th, 2012:


  51. 51 47_Ronin said at 2:49 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    This is a good post. Interesting thing about Mike Zimmer, he was DC with the cowboys under several HCs and ran a 4-3 when Parcells arrives Zimmer stays as DC and switches to a 3-4.

    I mentioned a while back that it’s somewhat irrelevant what system a defensive coach comes from or ran in the past (so it’s not necessary to think of say Vic Fangio as a “3-4” coach), a good coach can adopt.

  52. 52 Ark87 said at 2:53 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Fun research of the day:

    The teams we won against this season have a combined record of 20-16, 56% win rate.

    The teams we lost against this year have a combined record of 52-56 for a 48% win rate. And that includes the loss to the 11-1 Falcons.

    And to this point the opponents we’ve played have a combined record of 72-72. If not for those bye-week quirks this is actually a very fair schedule to this point.

  53. 53 Anders said at 4:03 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I have to say, Im really beginning to like Greg Roman as our next HC.

  54. 54 Dave said at 5:37 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Ugh! I’ll pass on the Belichick tree (unless BOB can be pried from PSU)

    Romeo Crennel
    Al Groh
    Josh McDaniels
    Eric Mangini
    Nick Saban
    Charlie Weis
    Jim Schwartz (current head coach)

  55. 55 ACViking said at 6:48 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Nick Saban

    He played at Kent State for a defensive minded head coach named Don James — who left KSU for the University of Washington.

    James made U-Wash not just competitive in the Pac-8 (then Pac-10). But he made the Huskies a force on the national scene, winning a co-National Championship in 1991 with U-Miami.

    Saban didn’t join a Belichick staff until more 20 years into his coaching career.

    About 8 years earlier, Saban’s first stint on an NFL staff came as the DB coach for the then-Houston Oilers under Jerry “NFL means ‘not for long'” Glanville.

    As Austinfan observed about successful coaches generally, Saban seems like a great example of a very talented coach who’s taken different things from many different coaches.

  56. 56 Dave said at 9:41 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    My apologies, didn’t mean to infer that Belichick was the architect behind each of them, merely that they all coached under him at one point and went on to become NFL head coaches (all except Charlie Weis).

    Saban is clearly a talented college recruiter, as for being a top tier coach, he falls in line with Spurrier, Petrino, Holtz, etc.- guys who were great recruiters but once the playing field was leveld in the NFL, they offered little to prove they were anywhere above average.

  57. 57 dawkinsfan said at 6:11 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    First, Started a new Eagles blog that I hope can complement Tommy’s flawless work. Wrote a piece about our o-line and would love feedback.

    Also, I think that we would do best with a young assistant from Jim or John Harbaugh’s staff. I wouldn’t even be against giving Bowles the reins, regardless of his stint as DC. It is obvious he is well respected around the league and isn’t even running his own system right now. He could be that young assistant we have been looking for.

  58. 58 ACViking said at 7:30 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Re: Sheldon Brown, Circa April 2010

    AR’s coaching aside, he’s taken full responsibility — no “naming names” — for the team’s personnel issues.

    In April 2010, the Eagles traded Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong to the Browns for a pair of draft picks (4th & 5th rounders). At the time, Shelly wanted a new contract.

    Later that month, the Eagles used a 4th Rd pick to select U-Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley. When the 2010 season started, journeyman Dmitri Patterson was the starting RCB.

    QUESTION: Who made the call on moving Sheldon?

    Was it Joe Banner, since Brown had crossed over the 30 year-old threshold.

    Was it Howie Roseman, the GM?

    Clearly, Reid was *ultimately* responsible. But — like any corporate CEO — his decision-making depends on the contents of the memo analyzing the issue and making a recommendation. So, yeah, Reid traded Brown . . . because someone said “It’s the smart move.”

    Whoever it was, I’d like to know if the same person whose memo to Reid said Dmitri Patterson could handle the RCB . . . and then said Nnamdi can handle the RCB?

    Reid’s the CEO. He’ll take the fall here.

    But who made the recommendations and conducted the analyzes that led to Shelly’s departure in favor of Dmitri Patterson and then Nnamdi’s big contract?

    Shelly could have had for about 40% of what the Eagles spent on Nnamdi.


    To be clear, I’m accusing anyone. I’m just wondering . . . because that person may be here next year.

  59. 59 47_Ronin said at 11:00 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    I’m glad you’re on this case

  60. 60 quest4fire said at 9:06 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Lurie loves New England and wants the next Belicheck

  61. 61 Matthew Verhoog said at 9:10 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Bill, John, tom, Tony, They are all people with very common first names.

  62. 62 Raul Estrada said at 9:46 PM on December 6th, 2012:

    Tony Dungy is a Chuck Noll disciple, so is John Fox. Gruden’s a Holmgren disciple. So is Billick, who had Marvin Lewis as his Def. Coordinator.
    I still want Dennis Thurman on our staff. Forget the nasty player he was when he hurt Carmichael and Jaworski back in the day.
    Rex Ryan keeps cockblocking him for interviews, but Ryan should be fired at season’s end, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
    He made Darrell Revis what he is today and I don’t mean injured. The NYJ DBs had swagger before losing Revis to injury.
    Carnell Lake should be another good mention if Thurman can’t be an Eagle coach.

  63. 63 47_Ronin said at 10:59 PM on December 6th, 2012:


    I was reading something on Brasher and would like to see your thoughts on what DL changes he might bring and how that might affect some of the players.

    I thought Brasher was one of Reid’s better assistant coaches, much better than Segrest (who should’ve been let go after his performance as SPT coach).

  64. 64 BC1968 said at 10:36 AM on December 9th, 2012:

    WIth these two running backs, I want Cowher. Please, please please.