United Football League: Ranking the Best Head Coach/Quarterback Combinations
I’ve always believed that if the same two teams played against each other ten times, nine of those times the team with the best head coach/quarterback combination will win the game. Those two minds will provide much of the critical thinking that is necessary to win a lot of games in professional football.
We know that the game is played between the white lines, but it’s also played between the ears. The eight seconds that it takes to run your average football play is setup by countless hours of film study and game plan preparation. That is why we give more credit for success to those who put in the time before the game.
I’m not trying to discredit the defense, they play a critical role as well. Every defense has a captain that is lining their players up just like the quarterback lines up the offense. The difference is that on different teams, you’re not sure who’s doing the aligning. It may be the middle linebacker, a safety, or the roles can be split between multiple players on that side of the ball.
But on offense, it’s the quarterback. He walks upright to look across the field and try to figure out what the defense is doing. He’s changing plays and he is an important part in executing the gameplan that the head coach took all week to conjure up.
In the United Football League, there are many years of experience within the starting quarterbacks and even more in the head coaches.
Some argue that the best teachers of the game are in the UFL, and if that’s true, than it is no wonder the league has sent more than 70 players to the NFL in the past three seasons. From Dennis Green to Marty Schottenheimer, their names ring a bell to most modern football fan across the nation.
Under center, the UFL boasts a cast of quarterbacks of all different types. Heisman trophy winners to UFL Championship MVPs. Season veterans to journeymen quarterbacks. There is no shortage of talent in the league’s signal callers.
So which team has the best combination of quarterback and head coach?
4. Coach Dennis Green and Any Sacramento Mountain Lion QB
It’s hard to get a gauge on who Dennis Green plans on starting next Saturday when the Mountain Lions host the Las Vegas Locomotives in their week one faceoff. It’s mainly difficult because he’s changing quarterbacks more than he is socks.
This past week, Green overhauled his quarterback group by bringing in two newcomers, former Cincinnatti Bengal Jordan Palmer, and McLeod Bethal-Thompson who was recently cut by the San Francisco 49ers.
Add to them Fresno State rookie Ryan Colburn, and you’ll notice there may not be a horse in this race that you want to put your money on.
Green said that Colburn is the number one quarterback on the depth chart right now, but anything can happen when you bring in two other players to compete with him.
This ranking doesn’t have much to do with Green though, he is an excellent coach and was one game away from the championship game last season. But his indecisiveness with his signal caller makes me believe that he doesn’t have the quarterback he wants on the roster.
3. Coach Joe Moglia and QB Eric Crouch of the Omaha Nighthawks
The Eric Crouch story is sounding better and better the more I listen to it.
A player who never really made it in the NFL, played a few years in the CFL, only to return to play in his home state where he originally won the Heisman trophy.
And so far in training camp, everyone seems very impressed with his progression and how he’s taking on this offense.
Joe Moglia is trying to run an offense that capitalizes on the athleticism of his quarterbacks. The group of Crouch, Troy Smith, and Jeremiah Masoli might be able to win a relay race against other teams’ receiving core.
As much criticism that Moglia may get for not having the experience as the other coaches in the league, he is leaning on his assistant coaches and players’ strengths to win games for Nighthawk Nation.
And there’s nothing wrong with a coach that is smart enough to use all the talent that he surrounded himself with.
2. Coach Marty Schottenheimer and QB Chris Greisen of the Virginia Destroyers
Marty Schottenheimer is often criticized for not having a Lombardi Trophy on his resume.
What he does have is 200 professional wins and a winning percentage of .613, better than Bill Parcells, Jon Gruden, and Bill Walsh.
Credited for reviving the San Diego Chargers as well as leading the Cleveland Browns in some of their best years as a franchise, Schottenheimer now leads the Virginia Destroyers who hope to derail the Locomotives’ attempt at a 3-peat.
Schottenheimer has not only proven that he can coach, but he can adapt to the game as it changes. From when he began coaching professionally in 1974 to the present day, the game of football and its rules have drastically changed. But Schottenheimer consistently changed his philosophy and continued to win.
Chris Greisen is a veteran quarterback who has spent time in the NFL, NFL Europe, and Arena League Football before he came a few plays short of winning the Hambrecht trophy last season in the UFL. When Brooks Bollinger went down as the Florida Tuskers quarterback, Greisen took over seamlessly and was the obvious leader on offense.
With an intelligent coach like Schottenheimer and a veteran leader in Greisen, there will be no easy wins for visiting teams at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
1. Coach Jim Fassel and QB Chase Clement of the Las Vegas Locomotives.
When you listen to a Loco fan talk about their team, you read their Facebook status, or see their tweet, you’ll find one common phrase: 3-Peat
And who could blame them?
The team under Jim Fassel has won the only two UFL championships in the league’s short history and look to return to the same form especially now that DeDe Dorsey returns at running back.
Fassel is the only head coach that has been to a Super Bowl and once again brought back a core of his players from last season back to make a run at a 3-Peat.
His quarterback will be Chase Clement, the MVP of last year’s UFL championship.
Clement is only in his second year as a professional quarterback and he looks to continue to learn and grow under Fassel’s system. Clement showed last season that he can be just as deadly on the ground as he is through the air.
What I like about him is that he constantly keeps his eyes downfield as he scrambles. He doesn’t look to call his own number whenever he can, but when he does defenses had better look out!
A young coachable quarterback in Clement combined with a teacher like Fassel are prime ingredients for success in the UFL. They proved last year that they can win, and I’m positive they can do it again this year.