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THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE ONLINE
Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
ALL ABOUT THE COACHES
Cam Cameron's first year as coach of the Miami Dolphins may not have been terrible, merely a bit clumsy. That would seem to be the conclusion after Dolphins Executive VP Bill Parcells wielded his new axe and cleft the neck of General Manager Randy Mueller. As first moves go, Bill's aim was accurate. Cameron's head may yet follow, but one thing serial coach Parcells' has learnt from all those career stops is when an organization has the right infrastructure to produce a champion.
Finally, Parcells has a position senior enough not just to assess a front office, but to leave coaching behind and build a front office himself. His rambling press conference when appointed as Executive VP was to the effect that he had difficulty giving up coaching, that football was too much in his blood, but that maybe this was his way of sating that desire.
Elsewhere, another retired Hall of Fame coach, Marv Levy, stepped down as General Manager of the Buffalo Bills ten years to the day since he stepped aside as the franchise's head coach. Like Mueller, he produced more draft–day criticism than playoff runs. But whereas Mueller's final year included a hail of boos on draft day, one of the least tactically–sound trades of the modern era (WR Wes Welker to New England), and a team that was an overtime away from going winless, Levy's departure from the Bills would seem to leave Buffalo with a roster so deep in talent that even a record number of injuries couldn't stop them from staying in the hunt into December.
Levy' day–one selections in the last two drafts: RB Marshawn Lynch, LB Paul Lozluszny (IR) and QB Trent Edwards in '07; SS Donte Whitner, DT John McCargo, CB Ashton Youboty in '06. On neither occasion was Levy praised for the Bills' drafting, and in 2006, he was criticized heavily for their selections of Whitner and McCargo, at least until they started playing. But from these two drafts only a couple of 7th rounders didn't contribute this season. Quietly, Levy has built a legacy for his Bills.
Finding a senior role after coaching rather than sliding into obscurity may be easier after a Super Bowl run or two. In Parcells' case he won Super Bowls with the Giants, and reached the big game with the Patriots, while at least pointing the Jets and Cowboys in the right direction. Levy's career will forever be associated with the Bills teams he led to four consecutive Super Bowls — four consecutive losses, if we're being picky, but at least he knew how to get teams there consistently.
Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens parted with Brian Billick, a coach who once won a Superbowl. Problem was, that was 2001, and the Ravens never went back. One year removed from a 13–3 season, owner Steve Bisciotti looked at his team's 5–11 record, last place finish in the AFC North, 9–game losing streak (including that overtime loss to the Dolphins), and quoth 'nevermore'.
Finding his next coaching job might be tricky for Billick, despite the Super Bowl ring. He arrived at Baltimore with the reputation as an offensive genius, thanks to his coordinator role with the Culpepper–Moss era of the Minnesota Vikings. However, under his leadership, the Ravens offense has been consistently anaemic, even during the Super Bowl year. He may not be a hot property anymore as a coordinator, let alone as a head coach in the NFL. Now that his entire staff is out of work, his own former defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, may get a job before Billick does.
Bowl Bites: Coaching Counts
As the bowl games get later, the distance from the regular season gets longer. Equally, experience becomes a bigger factor, as coaches try to focus their players on the matter in hand. Not only do players have longer to forget the fundamentals such as tackling and securing the ball, but there's the talk of declaration for the NFL, the distractions of coaching changes and, with the bigger bowls, the even greater distractions of 'destination' bowl cities and the pre–game hoopla.
No surprise then that Joe Paterno logged his 23rd bowl victory this week. It was also his 500th game as a head coach, and puts his record at 372–125–3, just one victory behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden on 373. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that 31 of Bowden's victories were from when he was in charge at non–FBS Howard — that's a statistical debate for another day — Bowden's victory lead was cut to one as FSU fell to Kentucky, 35–28.
Traveling without 36 of their regular players following an academic cheating scandal that added to the normal attrition of team suspensions and injuries, the Seminoles fought hard, never falling more than two scores behind, and at the gun were still in position to make one last fling for the end zone.
Bowden has never before lost a bowl game in December, and yet this Music City Bowl loss may have been one of his greatest coaching performances. With the FSU academic scandal still prominently referenced by critics, some people are inappropriately suggesting Bowden should step aside and allow a new era to begin at FSU. But this simply isn't the way it should end.
Paterno will be back at Penn State for one more year. Hopefully Bobby Bowden will be too.