Team Of The Teens? The Top 10 Coaches With a Shot at Building a New-Age
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The New England Patriots have the most legit claim to this last millennium's first "Team of the Decade" honor. The Cowboys were the Team of the 90s without dispute. The 49ers owned the 1980s hands down, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were downright dominant through most of the 70s. Green Bay had its time in the 1960s, and if we keep digging, we remember the Lions and Browns and Bears (oh my!) even had their times in the earlier days of American Football.
With the birth of another decade should come every fans hope of running the table on the league, and reveling in the light and glory of an NFL Champion Empire.
So who will be the team of the teens? Well that's a stupid question to which nobody knows the answer. Then again, a little speculation won't hurt anybody.
Any Patriots, Steelers, 49ers, Packers, or Cowboys fan can tell you there's more that goes into a dynasty than 99.9 percent of the population will ever know. Each dynasty had different cutting-edge qualities that distinguished them against the competition during their respective times. The Steel Curtain, The West Coast Offense, etc.
There's always some levels of universal traits, however, that can base a criteria for the sake of ridiculous forecasting. One such congruency to look for is a capable and respectable leader at head coach. After all, the bottom line of football: It takes a winning attitude to win; attitude reflects leadership.
So now, lets take a look at the top 10 coaches poised to lead the next great NFL dynasty, and the Team of the Teens.
10—New England Patriots—Head Coach: Bill Belichik
It's not fair! He should have been our coach the last ten years!
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It's not fair. Why do the Patriots get a chance to be the team of the decade yet again?
Well, call it an outside shot, but if the New England Patriots didn't impress you from 2001 to 2007, then you're just being sour.
Yes, yes, we all wish it had been our team that won three of four times, and almost finished undefeated one year. The Patriots, however, did it. recently.
They, like so many other dynasties, will continue to shed and gain players in unsentimental form. The culture in New England regarding football, however, has been changed for good.
Once you taste Super Bowl victory, no other dish will do. Belichick has given the Patriots a reason to believe from this point on, and he knows how to deliver.
The real question for Bill is just how long he wants to endure the rigors of being an NFL head coach; 10-years time is impressive in and of itself.
9—Denver Broncos—Head Coach: Josh McDaniels
Denver has a lot of upside moving forward.
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There's young, and then there's inexperienced. Josh McDaniels is the former, but certainly not the latter. After cutting his teeth with the Patriots over the last decade, McDaniels could be building a Denver team to rival even those of the late 90s.
The young quarterbacks on the squad include Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Tim Tebow. None are NFL proven, but all have some degree of potential.
From quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in New England, McDaniels showed levels of creative game planning that were among the best in the league. The team he's building in Colorado could and should be impressive as well, and for some time once they're established.
8—Detroit Lions—Head Coach: Jim Schwartz
Lonooong road ahead for Schwartz, Detroit.
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All things, good and bad, must come to an end; Detroit has had it pretty bad for a while. Hockey Town USA is about the only thing they've got going for themselves sometimes. In fact, just over a year ago, the Lions were coming off a winless season. Talk about the wrong kind of perfect.
Eventually, the Lions should bounce back, and they've taken measures that seem to indicate they're heading in the right direction.
Ndamukong Suh is one hell of an appliance to build a defense around, and Stafford is a young talent with plenty of time to become a great NFL quarterback. For Schwartz, there's really nowhere to go but up right now.
It'll be a couple years before the playoffs, or even a .500 record become feasible, but lookout after that. Brick-by-brick, citizens, brick-by-brick.
7—Green Bay Packers—Head Coach: Mike McCarthy
Is that a McDonalds menu, or a play sheet?
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"Set up for success" describes almost everything about the Packers right now. In fact, Aaron Rodgers has been the definition for his entire career thus far.
When Brett Favre first retired (remember that?) from the NFL, the Packers didn't play his cat-and-mouse game. Instead they moved forward with the plan they had, which was to play the quarterback they had drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft.
The California kid was properly marinated behind Favre, and in the wake of Brett's departure following the 2007 season, Rodgers stepped in almost seamlessly. Not only did the Pack manage to stay competitive during rebuilding, they were back in the playoffs after only a year of mild gloom.
Now that's how an organization preforms a remove-and-replace procedure at the starting quarterback position! McCarthy has done an outstanding job in Green Bay and there's really no reason to believe he's going to mess any of it up.
6—Philadelphia Eagles—Head Coach: Andy Reed
Maybe the toughest job in the world: Head Coach in Philly.
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The Eagles may have already had their dynasty, and unknowingly flew right by it. One NFC Championship game after another ended in heartache last decade, and the success culminated with one lousy Super Bowl berth, the aftermath of which somehow ripped the team apart.
Now the Eagles are doing their own rebuilding, and although it could be a little time before they soar again, the fresh start bodes well for the next decade.
Andy Reed is another fallow where you just wonder "how long does he want to keep doing this?"
Being a head coach can be a serious drain on family and personal life, and the city of brotherly love is a tough place to take jeer after jeer, year after year.
If, however, the coach can get some support in the next couple years, he might find the reinvigoration needed to sally forth.
5—Miami Dolphins—Head Coach: Tony Sparano
Enjoying coaching is the secret to longevity.
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Another team set up for continued future success is the Fish. Sorry, the Dolphins.
This is another team that turned heads around the NFL a couple years ago. In 2007, they won a game. Yes, one regular-season game. They turned it around the very next year under the guidance of coaching-great-tuned-football-consultant Bill Parcells.
Thing like the rebirth of the Wildcat, building an offense from the inside-out, and smash-mouth defense became words on the street in southern Florida.
Basics like "tough, smart, disciplined" outline Sparano's Philosophy, and it has thus far been a reasonable recipe for success.
4—San Francisco 49ers—Head Coach: Mike Singletary
The "our coach can beat up your coach" debate has ended!
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I think it's official: The 49ers head coach can beat up any other coach in the NFL. Look no further than his hall-of-fame linebacking career if you want to know why so many players respect him, believe in him, and want to play their best for him.
Mike Singletary has an old-school, 1980s approach to almost every aspect of the game; most days, it seems, he's three parts Ditka, one part Walsh. No one wants to let him down, and no one is going to sass him when he's giving orders.
Samurai Mike is largely responsible for the paradigm shift in recent 49ers culture. The 80s 49ers have been buried, the '90s teams have been allowed to pass on, and the creepy ghosts of the last decade should finally be busted.
There is a new way about the organization that is reminiscent of of the old way: when men were men, and players played their asses off because they wanted to win; shedding blood, sweat and tears was considered a good thing.
In this age of prima-donna receivers and lazy quarterbacks, having a fit coach, who conjures up true tales of how things used to be can be a real boost to the human spirit.
It's no wonder players around the NFL want to play for the man; they understand how he will make them make themselves better than they ever though they could be.
3—Baltimore Ravens—Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Harbaugh has the world at his fingertips in Baltimore.
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Baltimore is set up for success, and for a while. Young Quarterback Joe Flacco has the keys to the Ravens' dynasty in his strong, accurate arm.
The defense has been a part of Baltimore culture since their first Super Bowl ten years ago, and when they came upon giant nose tackle Terrance Cody and savvy pass rusher Sergio Kindle in the April draft, one could only stop and say "they're doing it again."
Sure these two are not getting plugged directly into Baltimore's defensive system as many had hoped, but there's plenty of future ahead for them to bloom in the seasons ahead.
In the meantime, Flacco's arsenal includes one of the league's premier rushing attacks, and an incredibly expanding list of talented and proven wide receivers.
A new cliché over the next 10 seasons could likely be "never count out those Ravens."
2—New Orleans Saints—Head Coach: Sean Peyton
What's that thing in his hand?
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There's an intrinsic advantage to the Saints here: they are incumbent Super Bowl champions. They just beat a seasoned Peyton Manning (featuring the Indianapolis Colts) in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7th, so they have a little momentum right now.
Drew Brees is all of 31 years old, making him a reasonable lasting option as we move into the 20-teens. Their offense dares opposition to "try and keep up" typically resulting in the challengers making hurried mistakes.
Peyton has youth and energy on his side as well, and for a city that seems to be bombarded with disasters these days, the bright spot he delivers last Feb. must have relived some stress and increased the coaches job security for quite a while.
1—New York Jets—Head Coach: Rex Ryan
What an arm! Seriously though folks...
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Football is a game, right? Games are supposed to be fun, right?
In spite of all his cussing and hollering, Rex Ryan typically seems to enjoy what he's doing in New York.
A fine example from Hard Knocks was when the team was watching a magician about to do who knows what, Ryan spits out something along the lines of "Make Revis show up." I freaking lost control of my laughter at that point.
Creating champions is practically in Rex's blood too. Most should already know that Rex's father, Buddy, was the architect of the '85 Bears legendary defense.
After having assembled a cocky army of big-swagger talents in The Big Apple, Rex is not shy about the team's goals: win the Super Bowl, win the most games, play as the best offense, defense, and special teams in the league.
It's an awful lot of hype to live up to for the team, but the scales are going to be tipped in their favor for a while. They have a tough defense, a top-notch offensive line, and a second-year quarterback who took them to the AFC Championship Game as a rookie.
Love it or hate it, the New York Jets are set up for a lot of success—and for years to come.