Post Super Bowl notebook
With Sunday's thrilling 28-24 New England victory over Seattle, we close the book on the 2014 NFL season. Now that the season is officially behind us, we can begin looking forward to 2015. Next up, is the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, followed by free agency, and then the Draft. The way the NFL calendar is set up, there is always something to look forward to in football and that’s why it’s the greatest game on earth. I spent yesterday thinking about the season that was and a few things came to mind.
Belichick is the greatest coach in the history of the game
Yes, I worked with Belichick for a number of years early in my careerm and I am partial, but the facts point out that he is the greatest coach of all time. Belichick is tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers' Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl victories with four. Not to take away anything from Noll, but not only has Belichick won four Super Bowls, but he also has lost two as a Head Coach. Add to that, the fact that he won two other Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator, and you have a record that no one can match. Not only has Belichick won four titles as a head coach, he was also the general manager. Bill Belichick oversees all football operations for the Patriots. He decides what players they keep and what players they let go, who they draft and who they pass up, who they sign in free agency and who they pass on signing. He makes all of the decisions, and the success or failure of the New England Patriots starts and stops with Bill Belichick. He is the true architect of the team.
Noll, as great as he was, never had total control over the Steelers' organization. Belichick has also won in an era that makes it very difficult to sustain winning. Unlike when Noll was coaching, each year an NFL team has about 15 to 20 new players on the roster. To keep winning like the Patriots have is unprecedented in NFL history. He is always a step ahead when it comes to any decisions being made. No one in the NFL can come close to matching his success or ingenuity.
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time
After Sunday’s victory, Tom Brady is tied with two others with quarterbacking a team to the most Super Bowl victories. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are the two others who have won the title four times. Just like Belichick has coached his team to victories in a new era, so too has Brady quarterbacked his team in that same era. Bradshaw’s Pittsburgh teams never had the roster turnover that New England goes through on a yearly basis. When Joe Montana won his Super Bowl titles in San Francisco, there was no free agency for the first two wins and free agency was in it’s infancy for the second two. Those quarterbacks never had to deal with the salary cap issues clubs face today. Both Bradshaw and Montana had pretty much the same team intact when they were winning. Brady’s offensive teams change on a yearly basis. While Brady has had some great receivers to throw to, he has never had the same group of receivers for an extended period. His ability to adapt, change, and improvise is second to none.
Johnny Manziel checks into rehab
When news broke yesterday that Johnny Manziel had checked himself into a rehab center last week, it didn’t surprise me. The surprising thing was that it didn’t happen sooner. The signs were there. It is my hope that it’s not too late for Manziel to get help. Love him or hate him, Manziel is a talent. His own worst enemy is himself, and if he can’t overcome that, his career will go nowhere. It could turn out to be a wasted first round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns.
In the months leading up to last year’s draft, we all saw the warning signs that Manziel may have some problems. Many chose to ignore them. The Manziel backers were all saying it was just immaturity and he will be fine. The backers, like they usually are, were wrong.
Manziel’s problems lead me to a quarterback in this year’s class: Jameis Winston. While Manziel and Winston don’t have the same issues, they both have issues. In fact. if you look at Winston closely, his issues far outnumber Manziel’s issues when he was at Texas A&M. Whether you care to believe it or not, Jameis Winston has problems. He has shown it over and over again while at Florida State. Florida State chose to ignore those issues because Winston won football games. The fact is, Jameis Winston has never been held accountable for anything his entire life. He does what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants, whenever he pleases.
Yes, Winston will be on his best behavior over the next few months as he prepares for the draft. Trust me, that good behavior is not real, it’s a facade. Manziel did the same thing a year ago and looked what happened. Some team will be fooled into thinking that Jameis Winston has matured and will be fine just as Cleveland was fooled a year ago. They will take Winston in the first round with the hope that he can save their franchise. Trust me, it won’t happen. Winston may fool some people for a little while, but in the end, he will break their heart. My advice, be smart and stay away. You just may save your job!
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe