I won't claim to be any sort of expert in regards to managing a pro football organization, but I have a strong belief that there is an unspoken of bias in the NFL. Not the racist bias one instantly thinks of(thank you media brainwashing), but of bias of mentality. A mentality that says defense wins championships, but offensive minded coaches build dynasties. At least in the modern era of sports. Look at the dynasties of the last thirty years. Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick...offensive geniuses right? Then look at the great defensive minded coaches of the last thirty years. Bill Parcels, Joe Gibbs, Mike Ditka, Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher...great defensive coaches right?
What is the difference between the first four coaches mentioned and the last five? Well, for starters, about five Super Bowl victories. The offensive masterminds of the last thirty years were a collective 11-1 in the Super Bowl...with the lone loss being this past Super Bowl by the Patriots. The second group was a combined 8-3. Still stellar and elite among men, but I also included one more coach in this sample. The main difference I am seeing is a lack of dynasty building by defensive minded coaches. Many times they grind it out for years before finally reaching the top. Not to mention most of those Super Bowl wins came in the 80's and early 90's. Since 1995, these coaches are just 2-3 in the big game.
Pat Bowlen must be consciously or subconsciously aware of this trend in the NFL. He knows he needs defense to win a Championship, but he also knows he wants to win more than one Championship and to do that he needs a powerhouse offense. McDaniel must have impressed him enough to make his worry over the defense seem less of a problem. Not only that, Pat Bowlen wants a dynasty. A Dynasty that was cut short with the retirement of John Elway, as we all have wondered what history would have been made if Elway had been 5-10 years younger when that team was put together.
I actually wanted Leslie Frazier to be hired last week because I wanted a classy guy to take the reigns of this football team who could also repair the damage done to our defense. Instead, Pat Bowlen once again showed me why I am just a fan and he is the Boss. The hiring of Josh McDaniel was a shrewd move by an owner who has the foresight to know what will bring his team success in the future. Why shrewd? Because Pat Bowlen understands the importance of an offensive minded coach and winning Super Bowls.
On top of that, the addition of Mike Nolan as Defensive Coordinator sent me about mile high. I was not big on Dom Capers at all, in fact, I felt like he'd be a horrible addition to our coaching staff. I live near the bay area and I saw first hand what Mike Nolan built in San Francisco and if it wasn't for that franchises dysfunctionality then he would have brought them back to the playoffs. In my opinion, Mike Nolan gave too much freedom to Mike Martz who proceeded to completely screw up that offense that had worked so well under Norv Turner. Nolan is a defensive guy and he took the blame in San Francisco for a problem that was essentially created by Martz. A fact proven by Mike Singletary's unwillingness to give Martz the freedom he enjoyed under Nolan. Which the world saw on television when the two got into a shouting match. Martz is gone and I think the 49ers will threaten playoffs in 2009 because of that. Any team that hires Martz deserves what they get.
That said, Mike Nolan will turn this defense into a solid unit. Next year might be a little rough, but by the 2010 season we should be fielding a playoff caliber defense. If the offense continues to progress into a more dominating unit then God help the AFC West and the rest of the NFL. I've spent the last two weeks in nervous anticipation and now I can finally celebrate the move. I am grateful for actually being happy about the choices made and I am already laughing at the Raider fan cat calls about us hiring the next Lane Kiffin. How sad that so many of them don't see that it is the owner who is the problem, not some 30-something coach. We have Pat Bowlen, no worries about power hungry egomaniacs there.
To conclude this little rant, defenses do win championships. Just not as often as they once did. Although, it should be noted that the leagues top two defenses are squaring off in the AFC Championship game this weekend. Whatever the trend may be going forward, Denver has been an offensive oriented team for a long time and too much change could be a bad thing(don't tell voters that). In short, I like the direction Pat Bowlen has decided to take us and I will reserve judgement for at least two years....barring a major fall.
BRING ON THE DRAFT!!!!!!