Pigskin Detention: Bryan Burwell needs to sit in time out

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 15, 2011



By Patrick Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts Media Mangler


Wednesday St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell wrote an article titled "Firing the coach could be a mistake". It's really funny. It's funny because firing the coach (in this case, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo) could also be a good thing. It could be a litany of things, really. This is not an article about whether Burwell, you or I think the Rams should fire the head coach with a 10-35 record. It is simply an exhibition for all to enjoy. 


To properly put into context the absurdity we now join the column already in progress, with Burwell's words in bold font.

It's possible that a coach can struggle mightily when faced with a bad situation, then turn into a great coach. I'm not ready to compare Steve Spagnuolo to New England living legend Bill Belichick, but it bears repeating that the best coach of this generation was regarded as a failure in his first head-coaching stint in Cleveland (36-44 record between 1991 and 1995).

I love it when writers try to convince readers they're not doing something simply because they tell readers they're not going to do it. It would be similar to me writing the words, "I'm not ready to rip on Burwell's writing, but he really sounds foolish when he says he's not ready to compare Spagnuolo to Belichick when the rest of his column does that very thing".

In Belichick's five seasons with the Browns, he went 6-10, 7-9, 7-9, 11-5 and 5-11 and was fired just before Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore. Six years after being fired in Cleveland, Belichick won his first Super Bowl as head coach of the Patriots.

Comparing a 10-35 record to 36-44 shows that one coach won games and one coach did not. I hope Burwell isn't suggesting the Rams retain Spagnuolo for six more years. But you never can tell in these types of columns. (For those curious, Spagnuolo has never guest starred in a cooking show that we know of). 

Was New England owner Bob Kraft crazy, lucky or brilliant when he saw something special in Belichick and gave him a second chance as a head coach? Kraft relied on his own instincts, went against conventional wisdom and hired a man who most NFL people deemed a failure as a head coach. Is there something special that Kroenke sees in Spagnuolo that with some major tweaking of the people around him could make him worth salvaging? 

A question with no answer from a guy who could ask questions makes for a skillful writer! Does Kroenke see something special in this Web site? Does he like dunking Oreos in milk? Ha. Check out this next one ...  

One thing that puts Spagnuolo ahead of Belichick's development as a head coach is the way he manages his players. 

Okay stop. Re-read it and try not to laugh. Okay. 

Belichick in Cleveland alienated his veteran players. Not until he got another crack at being a head coach did he learn the fine art of getting his players to play for him.

Question: does it matter if the coach gets the players to play for him if ultimately the players' performance stinks as bad as Jim Mora's diddly poo? Doesn't this actually work against Burwell's case for Spagnuolo? If Belichick got 36 wins with players who didn't play for him and Spagnuolo gets 10 with players who play for him ... what case is Burwell trying to make again? Developing ...

But looking back at Belichick's years in Cleveland, it's really difficult to understand how things didn't work out. Unlike so many first-year coaches who tend to put together inferior coaching staffs the first go-round, Belichick didn't have to overcome the weaknesses of his coaches or personnel departments. Belichick was surrounded by a coaching staff and front office that makes it even more unfathomable that he failed in Cleveland. His coaching staff was filled with some heavy hitters. Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, Pat Hill, Al Groh, Woody Widenhofer and Rod Dowhower. In the personnel department were people you also might have heard of. Ozzie Newsome, Scott Pioli, Mike Lombardi, Phil Savage, Jim Schwartz and Tom Dimitroff Sr.

So does this mean Spagnuolo could be a better coach than Belichick in the future since he doesn't have the luxury of failing with all star talent? But how would Burwell or any of us know if Spagnuolo is surrounded by superior coaching talent? The majority of "talent" surrounding Belichick was still climbing the ranks at the time. Geesh. (shakes head)

But now here he is more than a decade later, a certain Hall of Famer and the best coach of his generation. So miracles can come out of the rubble.

Keep in mind this column is about how firing the coach could be a mistake. The coach of the St. Louis Rams. In 2011. And he has a 10-35 record. It turned into why Bill Belichick isn't as great as perceived because he failed in Cleveland. Wait I've got it! Burwell is saying Cleveland made a mistake when they fired Belichick! Right? 

Uh, no, it's never actually stated. Just as Burwell fails to state if he actually thinks Spagnuolo should be fired or retained. Join us on Friday when Burwell writes a piece titled "Retaining head coach could be a mistake" followed by a Sunday extravaganza "Not firing the head coach could be the thing to do." 

Burwell is flagged for unnecessary use of words and will be sent to the pundit dunking booth. He will stay there until we tell him he can leave.

Tweet @patrickimig

From our partners




Join Insider Today!
Must See Videos
2014 NFL Combine Winners
2014 NFL Combine Most Impressive Performances
2014 NFL Combine Losers

Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI