Monday, January 22, 2007

Tony and Lovie and Mike and Russ and Bill

What a coaching caravan! On Saturday, Mike Tomlin was reported to be Dan Rooney's choice as Steelers head coach. Then the Steelers announced that no coaching decision had been made, which is akin to putting the cat back in the bag. You may try, but the cat ain't going.

Then on Sunday, Lovie Smith became the first black coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl, beating his mentor Tony Dungy to the honor by four hours. Then the Steelers said never-mind, Mike Tomlin really is the next head coach. We just hadn't had the chance Saturday to tell Mike, or assistant coach Russ Grimm, the leading candidate for the job. Before we interviewed Mike, that is. It's a real shame Russ had to read that in the papers instead of the email we were going to send him.

It's not like Russ was screwed out of an opportunity. That job in Oakland is still open, even though the Raiders have become a coaches graveyard lately. Plus, Grimm's Steeler buddy, Ken Whisenhutt is hiring assistants down in Arizona. If Russ can stomach JJ and TO, he can send a resume to Dallas where Big Tuna has jumped ship. Of course, the Rooney Rule mandates that Dallas interview at least one minority candidate, just as the Steelers did. The Steelers are owned by Dan Rooney, who led the committee that created the rule. Of course he would take it seriously. Who's to say JJ will. After all, NFL rosters have been 70% African-American for, oh, three decades now. Just because players become assistants who become coordinators who become head coaches, that doesn't mean the Cowboys can find a highly qualified minority candidate. How many could there be?

The Steelers can talk all they want about Tomlin leading them in a new direction. I'm convinced the real reason Grimm didn't get the job is because Steeler management kept confusing him for Andy Reid. That's Russ on your left. Or, is it on the right?

If all else fails, Grimm could find a home with the Redskins. There's always room for another coach at Redskin Park. Grimm, one of the original Hogs offensive linemen, is an icon in the Washington area. He is a 2007 candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I swear, I'm absolutely positive, I saw an article called "Williams to scratch to keep coaches" and I'm mostly sure that it was on When I went back to link to it for scathing commentary, it was completely gone. Wiped out. Erased. Never existed. Maybe the Redskins thought it was ludicrous to publish a story about how Gregg Williams would work to keep his coaching staff in tact after the atrocious year the defense had. Or, maybe the higher-ups knew that Dale Lindsey was to be axed two days later. Or maybe I haven't taken my pills today.

Since this was written, The Raiders named Lane Kiffen as their next head coach. Tony Dungy's coaching tree continues to grow with that appointment. Lovie Smith, Herm Edwards, Mike Tomlin, Rod Marinelli were Dungy assistants in Tampa Bay in 1996. Kiffen is the son of Monte Kiffen, the Buccaneers defensive coordinator who came to Tampa Bay to be on Dungy's staff. Mention "tonydungy" on your resume and get a job.

Bill Parcells decided to hang up his spurs (again). Good riddance. The guy's been a thorn in my side since the 'eighties.

Photos: Russ Grimm,; Andy Reid,

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