Watching the games last night, I became aware of the fact that coaches are becoming as big a stars as anyone on the field.
At least in terms of subplots.
My piece last week on Rex Ryan touched on the idea of a character so larger-than-life (no fat jokes, please), that he draws in a crowd for reasons not exclusive to football. In that sense, it seems like coaches are becoming personas unto themselves -- and are starting to encroach on the traditional NFL diva's "Me" time.
Take last night for example.
At various points in the AFC Championship Game, the camera panned out to Tony Dungy sitting by watching the action unfold. Sometimes he was texting. Sometimes he was talking to his wife. At all times, the announce crew was ready to gush his praises at any given time. Dungy, therefore, is our Messiah of the Game.
Cut back to Ryan, who was seen stomping the sidelines and throwing his headset.
Suddenly, the coaches themselves played off like characters from Star Wars -- Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt, respectively.
I kid, I kid.
Now flip over to the NFC title game, where Brad Childress' glare during every official review could freeze an entire battalion. Every review, the camera focused on the coaches, ready to snare their initial reactions to each call and replay them until the next play was set to begin.
Not Brees. Not Favre. Not the Superdome crowd. The coaches. In a game that came down to OT for a trip to the Super Bowl, it was these two who represented their cities' emotions.
This wouldn't have been so a decade ago, when coaches were of the integral-but-bland variety -- the occasional Jim Mora flare-up aside.
Nowadays, as technology has made stars out of Ryan, Mora, Dennis Green, and any other coach who's been caught in the camera eye, it's becoming clearer that play-callers are just as entertaining as play-makers.
That said, I'm really hoping that we don't get the Bill Belichick Vogue picture spread.
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