The significance of head coach quarterback tandems
The spotlight in the NFL shines brightest on the head coach and the quarterback. These are the only two individuals with a win/ loss record attached to their name, and for good reason, asÂ they have the most impact on a football team. They are the leaders. They are the first two that get the praise when things go right, and the first two that get the blame when things go wrong. Probably too much both ways considering there are 53 men on the roster, 11 men on the field, and 3 phases of the game. Still, there is no denying the importance of these two individuals.
Football requires incredible timing, undeniable chemistry, and for the proud few that hoist the Lombardi…..divine luck
I’m not here to dissect how well the great coaches and quarterbacks worked together. I want to talk about timing. And not the kind of timing Troy Aikman had with Michael Irvin on the deep out. The kind of timing the winning franchises had when they brought in head coachÂ quarterback tandems. The results are freakishly eerie. Iâ€™ll just take it from the top and work my way back.
2013 Seattle Seahawks – this was a franchise that dwelled in mediocrity for the existence of their history. In 2010 they hired a very successful collegiate coach with significant NFL experience in Pete Carroll. Two years later the Seahawks spent a 3rd round pick on a quarterback they were very high on in Russell Wilson. It only took Carroll and Wilson two years to climb the mountain.
2012 Baltimore Ravens – Since the late 90’s the Ravens were known for their tough defense. They produced one of the greatest defenses of all time in 2000 and won their first ring. In 2008, they hired a new coach in John Harbaugh and that same year they spent a 1st round selection on their franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco. 5 years later they were champs.
2010 Green Bay Packers – in 2005 the Packers had Aaron Rodgers fall in their lap late in the 1st round. They had Brett Favre but figured the heir apparent was there for the taking. One year later they brought in new head coach Mike McCarthy. In 2008 they made the quarterback switch from Favre to Rodgers. 2010 it was title town again.
2009 New Orleans Saints -. In 2006, the Saints brought in Sean Peyton to turn the team around and to give the city, a community ravaged by hurricane Katrina, something for which to cheer. Payton wasted no time in finding his franchise quarterback. He brought in free agent Drew Brees that same year. 4 years later Bourbon Street was celebrating a Lombardi trophy.
2007 New York Giants – In 2004 the Giants brought in Tom Coughlin to coach the storied franchise. That same year they traded their 1st round pick (Phillip Rivers) and their 2004 third-round pick (K Nate Kaeding), 2005 first-round pick (LB Shawne Merriman) and 2005 fifth-round pick to San DiegoÂ to acquire Eli Manning. 4 years later they knocked off the undefeated Pats. Then they beat the Pats again in 2011 to win their 2nd ring together.
The Patriot dynasty – in 2000 the Pats brought in defensive genius Bill Belichick to be head coach. That same year in the draft they spent a 6th round pick on a guy they figured might be able to be the 2nd or 3rd string quarterback behind then franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Fate works in crazy ways. In 2001 Bledsoe got injured, Brady took over, and the rest is history. It took 2 years for them to win their 1st of 3 rings together.
1999 St Louis Rams – 1997 Dick Vermeil hired. 1998 Kurt Warner brought in. 1999 the greatest show on turf is born
1996 Green Bay Packers – 1992 Mike Holmgren hired. 1992 they trade for Favre. 1996….title town
90’s Dallas Cowboys Dynasty – 1989 Jimmy Johnson hired. 1989 the 1st overall pick spent on Troy Aikman. And we all know very well what happened from there. Three Super Bowl titles in four years
85 bears – 1982 Mike Ditka hired. 1982 Jim McMahon drafted 1st round
1980’s 49ers dynasty – 1979 Bill Walsh hired. 1979 Walsh drafts Joe Montana. 1981 they win their 1st of four rings and dominate the 80’s
1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers – 1969 Chuck Noll hired. 1970 Terry Bradshaw drafted in the 1st round. 1974 they win their 1st of 4 titles
As I said earlier, I know there is much more to football than the head coach and quarterback. But looking at this list, it seems almost like a “must” to bring in a head coach and quarterback around the same time if you want to truly change the culture of your team.
What does this make me think about our Dallas Cowboys…..well a couple things. First, I think it is too bad Bill Parcells was at the end of his career when Tony Romo became the Cowboys starter. In 2003, Parcells wasÂ hired. That same year, Tony Romo wasÂ brought in as an undrafted free agent. InÂ 2006, Romo gets his shot, leads his team to the playoffs and then Parcells retires. All the other teams won within 5 years of the head coach/ quarterback tandem arriving. The Cowboys were right on that same trajectory. The 2007 the team that was built on Parcells players, came into its own with a 13-3 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Unfortunately, Parcells was gone and he was easily the most qualified head coach Romo had. I almost feel like Romo was cheated of an opportunity for potential greatness. But as I observed earlier, success in the NFL requires incredible timing. For Romo, it just wasnâ€™t there.
2nd thing I think….if this is Jason Garrettâ€™s last year then the Cowboys front officeÂ better get the next head coach his newÂ quarterback within 2 years. Given the history and success all these organizations had, the blueprint is clear. Getting the head coach quarterback tandem together increases chances for ultimate success.