I figure I've gotten all the responses I'm going to get, so it's a great time to jump into this. As you know, I'm endorsing Mike Singletary, but there was an interesting range of choices. Because this is lengthy, everyone's responses will go after the jump. I posted the responses in the order in which I got them.
Catch 'em all!
Reader John Tortoso
Reader Brian Basenberg
First of all, we need a head coach that is already coaching in the NFL and is aware of the challenges involved in operating in a high-pressure environment where you are coaching grown men and where millions of dollars are at stake. I think the Petrino fiasco simply highlights the fact that college coaches, even the great ones, are almost never successful in the NFL due to the entirely different challenges involved in coaching at such a high level.
Secondly, we need a coach with head coaching experience. The Atlanta Falcons have faced one disaster after another this year, and the players are clearly fed-up with dealing with amateurs. We need someone who's "been there before" and has the knowledge, strength of will, and self-confidence to do whatever has to be done to make the team better, even if it means stepping on a lot of toes.
Finally, we need a coach who is a proven winner. Not the son of a good coach, not someone who had one or two good seasons with a team loaded with talent, not someone who the media thinks will be a great coach one day. No, we need someone who has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are a winner and will do whatever it takes to win.
In my opinion, there are only a handful of coaches who meet all these criteria and are available for hire. And of these few, none has been more successful than Marty Schottenheimer. He made the Cleveland Browns into winners, he made the Kansas City Chiefs into winners, and he made the San Diego Chargers into winners. Everywhere he has been he has taken losers and made them into Winners. In fact, no one in the past 20 years has been as successful at as many different teams as Marty Schottenheimer has been.
Oh sure, I can hear some already saying "He can't win the big game". So what? He can make the Falcons into consistent winners, something they have never managed to achieve in over 40 years. And remember, Bill Cowher and John Madden were both once considered coaches who "couldn't win the big game" until their final season as a head coach. And who would question their greatness today?
Sure, many NFL players can't stand Marty's super-strict, and very demanding style of coaching. The players on the Washington Redskins even complained to the owner in order to get him fired after only one season. But success in the NFL is not about having warm and fuzzy feelings for one's head coach. Success in the NFL is defined by winning. Period. And no one understands that better than Marty Schottenheimer.
Reader Gil James
A rumor has started about Bill Cowher being brought back from retirement. He is my pick. Give him a ten year, 100 million dollar contract such as Vick received and I guarantee that we will have a dedicated coach whom has passion and heart for the game, the league and the players. A coach of this magnitude will bring back an unscaled excitement to a city whom is in a dire need for it. I remember the excitement when Dan Reeves was hired and placed as head coach and general manager and his passion brought a lot to Atlanta. In my opinion, the biggest mistake Arthur Blank did since taking over the Falcons is of Dan Reeves departure. Even if the current general manager gets the boot to bring a coach of this magnitude to Atlanta, then so be it. History proves that a coach whom has a strong role in developing the team has great success.
Dave, this is a serious mail sent to you by a serious falcons' fan. I hope Arthur Blank has learned from his mistakes in the past, stop taking chances with want to be coaches and bring in a real coach with talent, skill and experience. To me, that best candidate is Bill Cowher.
First off, he is the exact opposite of our last two coaches when it
comes to player relations. Petrino didn't give a crap about his
players, Mora Jr. was a little nice. I don't know if "nice" is the
right word but in either case I think it was both of those guys'
inexperience as a head coach in the NFL that lead to serious personal
issues. Right now this team needs a coach for his leadership skills
as much as for his playbook.
Second, he is a proven winner. He has had success wherever he has
coached except for the single year with the Skins (is 8-8 REALLY a
failure?) but then again he wasn't given a fair shake as Daniel Snyder
had a boner the size of Florida for Steve Spurrier (ironically another
college coach who couldn't hack it). In 20 full seasons of being a
head coach he has taken his teams to the playoffs 13 times and has a
career winning percentage of .613.
Look no further than San Diego where the Chargers are basically
playing with the same talent this year (maybe even a little more of
defense) as they did last year when they went 14-2. Where are they
now without him?
Marty is an old school coach who before anything can add stability to
the team which is what they really need next year more than anything
and of course he has a proven track record. And oh yeah, unlike some
of the other candidates, he is currently unemployed.
My name is runningback, and I approve this post for Marty Ball in 2008.
Reader Jeff Horowitz
love in the midst of a disastrous season. I have just completed my 5th year as a season ticket holder and hope for the "best for the 08 campaign".
It is going to suck watching games in an empty dome. I appreciate the fact that Mr. Blank is painting the outside of the dome...etc..etc... to
enhance the "game day" experience, but to my the ONLY thing that will enhance the game day experience is putting a competitive team on the
field. That being said I feel the problem may start with our esteemed general manger Rich McKay. True he has had some great success in the past
with the Bucs et all...but what has he done here in the ATL. Just examine our draft from this past season. Jamal Anderson...Justin Blalock...
rookies that have had zero impact. What is even more painful in the fact that we traded away a franchise QB to move up two spots in the draft to
pick both these guys up.
OK...getting to the point of this e mail..new head coach. I will give you my top 5...some may not be available but as we know Mr. Blank has DEEP
pockets and there is no salary cap when it comes to head coaches. We need a coach who can take CONTROL of all aspects of the team and will
help to put fans in the seats
1.Bill Parcells (the Cowboys are his team as we all know)
4.Jimmy Johnson...can't deny his past history in the NFL
5.Dan Reeves..the best coach we had had since I have been in this city
The one thing I do not want at this point is a college coach or an NFL coordinator( I know Tomlin is a good coach..but there are plenty of bad ones
Cam Cameron,Mike Nolan,Jim Mora).
One of the unseemly things in the whole Vick thing was the issue of race. Terrance Moore addressed that early on when Vick was indicted and it showed on that "townhall" crap that ESPN did. So, like it or not, a black coach will help with the fans. A former player, especially one that has won and a HOF'er will help with locker room not to mention the PR.
All the above leads to Singletary. But there are the unknowns. He has no DC experience, much less HC. And while we can guess his defensive mentality (I think Zimmer has done a pretty good job as DC. I like his aggressiveness but would Singletary take over the play calling?), what would his offense look like?
As a Falcons fan, it's hard to take an objective look at the roster and decide whether this team can win with a few tweaks (well, a major tweak at QB...) or if the roster needs to be blown up. The roster is going to be blown up soon I suspect because of age and salaries. That would be a major factor in a coaching hire.
I know Cowher is being tossed out there a lot but I just don't know about him. He had some great coaches on his staff at Pittsburgh but he would have to assemble a brand new one for the Falcons. Take away his staff and he's reduced to spittle-laced tirades on the sidelines. Whisenhunt and LeBeau aren't coming with him but he might bring Mularkey or Chan Gailey...
My dark horse candidate would be Jim Caldwell, QB coach of the Colts. He interviewed with the Cards and Cowboys last year. He's a Tony Dungy-type who would also be a good coach for a rookie QB... Here's a report on him from when he interviewed with the Cards.
Leave your own comments about everyone's selections, and share your own thoughts if you haven't already.