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Can someone cut and paste Selena Roberts column today...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jason_whitlock, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. i don't have times select and i ain't getting it..
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Read it and learn, JW:

    Sports of The Times
    Coach vs. Coach, Progressive vs. Dictator

    The enlightened depths of the N.F.L. can be measured by which tree it wants to hug.

    In an RCA Dome cavernous enough to be a biosphere, two coaching trees will be rooted in the artificial turf during today’s American Football Conference title game, one with Tony Dungy at the top and another represented by Bill Belichick.

    You know Coach Hoodie. As Bill Parcells’s estranged coaching grad, Belichick is the Patriots’ socially awkward football savant dressed in the wardrobe from the teenage flick “Clerks.” He grunts answers disdainfully and has perpetuated Parcells’s cranky lineage by delivering to the N.F.L. a disingenuous Nick Saban and an impassive Eric Mangini.

    Dungy gave us a genial man named Lovie, as in Smith, coach of a Bears team that is in today’s National Football Conference championship game. And Dungy couldn’t be more thrilled for Smith, his former Tampa Bay assistant and lifelong friend.

    This is Dungy. He is like the best man at every wedding. Under pressure, with everyone around him on the verge of a flop sweat, he is the serene sideline caretaker of others.

    “He’s a man that’s strong,” Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said Friday, adding, “You never want to put him nor the Colts out there for something negative, because he’s so nice to us all.”

    Dungy values relationships over victory. As many know, he, Smith and another past Dungy hire, Herman Edwards, all recently dined together in an Indianapolis restaurant when their teams made the playoffs.

    Smith and Dungy remain. If Smith’s Bears end the Saints’ feel-good journey, if Dungy’s Colts finally crack the Patriots playoff code, it will be the first time a black coach, much less two, advanced to the Super Bowl.

    It shouldn’t have to be a big deal, but there would be no diminishing the social significance of Dungy’s and Smith’s potentially coaching in the largest television event of the year. Almost everyone with a remote — even folks normally anchored to either Lifetime or MTV or PBS — will witness the game.

    And as it is in so many cases, a societal shift has to be seen to be absorbed, be viewed to be felt. In one Super Sunday, a league forever led by an ant trail of white coaches could finally find a comfortable seat aboard the Soul Train.

    Would the league then officially become colorblind? Only if coaching perceptions do. Somewhere today, a voice from a TV booth will celebrate Smith and Dungy for their motivational skills but not their mental acuity, leaving the thinking-man’s adjectives for Belichick or the Saints’ Sean Payton.

    It’s not purposeful, or meant to be disrespectful, but think of it as black quarterback stereotyping when applied to coaching.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    “I guess the media and everybody else kind of gives you credit when they want to give you credit and kind of not when they don’t want to,” the Colts defensive star Dwight Freeney said. “It’s kind of a funny thing. But Tony has done a great job. Every place he’s been, he’s turned teams around. He comes up with great schemes and kind of lets the players be the type of players they can be.

    “It’s not always, ‘O.K., draw a line here, you go here,’ like a bunch of robots.”

    And yet, rigid systems are celebrated more than a football coach’s mental ability to fit plays around players. Belichick will easily discard past stars for interchangeable parts to plug into his design. Dungy is more fluid in his math, able to adjust a team’s persona as well as its scheme. Dungy’s revamped Colts defense — described as soft until it out-Ravened the Ravens — has saved Indy in the playoffs.

    “I think he should get probably a lot more credit for what he does as a mind in the game,” Freeney said.

    Yet, the game-day rhetoric is often pitched as Belichick versus Peyton Manning. As the Colts’ quarterback, Manning — never one to shy from a theatrical marquee moment — finds such billing absurd. “I think it’s never an accurate way to phrase it,” he said.

    The phraseology pinned on Dungy, and every head coach under his umbrella, is the backhanded praise of players’ coach. This is narrow casting considering the league’s ubiquitous Cover 2 defense was borne from Dungy’s blueprint years ago.

    Almost every Parcells disciple is called a schematic genius (Belichick is Coach Mensa and Mangini is Mangenius) or a disciplined tactician (see Tom Coughlin or Saban spit cleat spikes).

    So the Parcells bullies probably took pride in a Sports Illustrated poll this month that queried 361 N.F.L. players on which coach was the hardest to play for. The top 10 dictators included Parcells, Coughlin, Saban, Belichick and Mangini.

    Among the top 10 easiest to play for? Dungy, Edwards and Smith.


    If Dungy or Smith, or both, land in the Super Bowl, this would not be a referendum on new-age coaches versus throwback coaches, but about progressive versus oppressive.

    This is not to shortchange Belichick’s aura; he is deserving of his dynastic coach status. But it would be a refreshing change to welcome a hybrid coach in a Prius-driving world, to see a trend of do-no-harm leaders who mix humanity with intellect on the Super Bowl stage.

    This would prove that genius and grace aren’t mutually exclusive traits in coaching. But even if Belichick’s Patriots win and Smith’s Bears lose, there is no doubt the N.F.L. is better for having an alternative coaching tree to hug.

    E-mail: selenasports@nytimes.com
  4. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    i'm a fan of her writing usually

    but she did something in this column that bugs me - set up a strawman:

    "Would the league then officially become colorblind? Only if coaching perceptions do. Somewhere today, a voice from a TV booth will celebrate Smith and Dungy for their motivational skills but not their mental acuity, leaving the thinking-man’s adjectives for Belichick or the Saints’ Sean Payton."

    what if some 'voice' doesn't? where does that leave her argument? and to be honest, i am not aware of the dichotomy - seems a bit forced.

    progressive vs. oppressive? splitting hairs, eh?
  5. dungy is credited with developing a defensive scheme, cover 2.... bill walsh is credited with the west coast offense... if dungy wins a super bowl, he'll get plenty of intellectual credit. he's already given a tremendous amount of respect as an intellectual.
  6. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member


    she didn't have to go there to make that column work.
  7. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Someone on this board picked the Bears and the Colts to go to the Super Bowl. Halfway there.

    And it had nothing to do with the color of the coaches' skin. Hate to burst anyone's bubble here.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Don't let the small side commentary on racism - it is not the crux of the piece - distract from the point.

    I appreciate Belichick's achievements. I do. But a Colts win is a win for a good, humble coach who - regardless of skin color - treats his players with respect.
  9. I think she's on the money. If you watch a lot of pre-game coverage Edwards, Denny Green and Dungy always get the players' coach tag while Bellicheck, Holmgren and Parcels are nothing less than geniuses.

    Of course, being a player's coach is better than the alternative. You could be Tom Coughlin.
  10. belichick, holmgren and parcells have rings and super bowl appearances.

    edwards, dungy and green have good regular-season records.

    maybe the highest praise is reserved for the title winners. maybe winning titles gives you the right to play hardball with players.
  11. Well, that's an easy argument to make considering no black coach until now has made it to the super bowl, not to mention won one. But they've also had fewer opportunities since there are fewer black coaches.

    So am I to believe that the spokesmodels will praise Lovie Smith's X's and O's if and when he wins the big one. Not likely. They're more apt to praise his personality, or even more likely to credit the defense.

    If Dungy somehow pulls out tonight's win, are you telling me he'll get as much credit as Peyton Manning ... even though Manning has been absolutely pedestrian in the playoffs? Holmgren still gets credit for Favre's Super Bowl.

    I definitely think there is a subconscious push among broadcasters to label successful white coaches as smart and black coaches as players' coaches. Is it purely racial? Probably not. It may have something to do with the fact a lot of the black coaches have defensive pedigrees. I'm not sure. But it's there.
  12. I've got a little more to say. No question Parcells is a good coach, but from what I remember when he won his last Super Bowl, the league still hadn't had a black coach yet. All I'm saying is, winning a ring shouldn't be the standard for being considered an X's and O's coach. It's not been a level playing field.
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