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Count Zarth
11-17-2007, 11:52 PM
You go Herm. You go.

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/366074.html

Does Herm Edwards have that championship gene in his makeup like his friend Tony Dungy?

KANSAS CITY | Chiefs coach Herm Edwards does not duck the question. You can say what you want about him, and people do, but he doesn’t duck many questions.

“Am I a Super Bowl coach?” he asks back. He’s not angry. He’s animated. His eyes are wide open now. He had looked tired seconds earlier — no sleep, the penance for a losing coach who is about to take his team to Indianapolis to face the Super Bowl champs. On the video screen behind him, quarterback Damon Huard is frozen in time. It is the instant before Huard fumbled against Denver last week, the fumble that sealed the Chiefs’ doom. Edwards had been watching the play again and again at his desk.

“Absolutely, I’m a Super Bowl coach,” Edwards says. “I don’t say that with any arrogance. You have to believe in yourself, and I do. I know what I’m doing here. I know what it takes to build a winner. I know how hard it is. We’re going to do it here.”

He points to a photograph that is across the room. It is two young coaches standing arm in arm and smiling for the camera. The coaches are Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards.

“We made a promise to each other, a long time ago,” Edwards says.

•••

INDIANAPOLIS | Colts coach Tony Dungy does not duck the question. He’s a quiet man in many ways, but he will tell you what’s in his heart.

“I don’t think there is any such a thing as a Super Bowl coach,” he says.

Dungy can say it now. He could not say this before last year, before his Colts went on that crazy playoff ride, three straight playoff victories, a victory over Chicago and close friend Lovie Smith in the Super Bowl, became the first black football coach to win it all. Before all that, Dungy had coached a decade’s worth of winners, but he had no ring. Nobody would have listened to him say then that, yes, winning the Super Bowl takes talent and hard work and inspiration and a sense of direction, but it also takes luck, lots and lots of luck. People might hear him now.

“Look at us,” he says. “Last year, we win the Super Bowl. But if New England doesn’t have 12 guys in the huddle, if it wasn’t for a pass-interference penalty, we probably don’t go. Now that we’ve gone, I guess I’m supposed to be validated. So that means that if it were not for 12 men in a huddle, I’m not validated? I just don’t see that.”

Dungy laughs. He laughs easily. Most will tell you: He is the nicest coach in American sports. Until last year that was his flaw. Too nice, people said.

“You have to understand, Herm and I were talking about this 15-plus years ago,” Dungy says. “It isn’t about perception. It’s all about who you are.”

•••

KANSAS CITY | Herm Edwards points to the phone. “That man called me day after day,” Edwards says. “Day after day. I said to him: ‘Tony, don’t do this to me, man. Don’t do this to me.’ But he would not stop. He kept saying, ‘Herm, you gotta help me.’ ”

This was 1995, and by then Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards had known each other for almost 20 years. They had met at a college all-star game in 1977. They were different. Dungy was quiet even then, a thinker, a college quarterback who knew that he would have to change positions to play in the NFL because there wasn’t much place for a black quarterback. And Edwards was a defensive back, loud, cocky and too slow, according to the scouts. His hero was Ali. His style was brash bump-and-run. He played nine years in the NFL even though he was, as one coach said, “slower than sand.”

They connected. Neither one can explain it exactly. Beneath the surface, they were not different at all. They believed the same things. They saw the world the same way. After practices, they found themselves having surprisingly serious talks about life and philosophy and race, things they did not talk about with anyone else.

“It was unique,” Dungy said. “There are those people you meet in your life where, the day you met them, you feel like you have known them all your life.”

They both played in the NFL — Dungy for a only a short time — and then they were trying to decide what to do with their lives. Thirteen years later, they both worked for the Chiefs — Dungy as a defensive backs coach, Edwards as a scout. Their conversations seemed to pick up just where they had left off. They would sit in Dungy’s small office at Arrowhead Stadium and talk into the night about football and family and where they were going.

Four years after that, Edwards’ phone would not stop ringing. Dungy had just been hired as head coach in Tampa Bay, and he wanted Herm Edwards to be his assistant coach. He wanted it so badly that he would not let his staff meet. “I’m going to get this guy,” Dungy would tell Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli and the other coaches.

“No,” Edwards would say every day. He was in Kansas City, working in the pro personnel department, on track to become a general manager someday.

“You’re a coach, Herm,” Tony would say. “Come on. In your heart, you know it. You’re a coach.”

“Leave me alone, Tony. I’m staying here.”

“Herm,” Dungy said. “You remember what we said? You remember the promise?” Edwards stopped cold. He stared at the wall. He did not say a word.

“You remember, Herm?” Dungy said. “You owe me.”

“Oh man, that’s hitting below the belt,” Edwards said. And, bound by his promise, he went to Tampa to become assistant head coach and help turn around the most laughable franchise in the NFL.

•••

INDIANAPOLIS | Tony Dungy remembers what it felt like to get fired as coach. He saw it coming, maybe. He understood it, in some ways. But it felt wrong.

“People don’t know,” Edwards says. “They have no idea what we went through in Tampa. They will never know how hard it was to do what we did there. And when they fired Tony, it hurt.”

Before Dungy took over, Tampa Bay had 13 consecutive losing seasons. It was worse than that. They had won four games or fewer five times during that stretch. The organization had hired legendary coaches (John McKay), brutally intense coaches (Ray Perkins) and off-the-wall coaches (Sam Wyche), but the team was miserable every year.

Dungy started over. Edwards was his wingman and his bad cop.

Dungy: “I got to be the nurturer, the encourager, the guy who said: ‘We can do this, guys. Don’t worry. You’re doing great!” Herm had to take the other side. He was the one who said: ‘If you don’t pick it up, we’ve got to ship you out of here. We’ve got to get rid of you.’ We were saying the same things, but we were just saying them differently.”

Edwards: “You should have seen the look on people’s faces when I came down the hallway. It was like, ‘Oh, oh, here comes Herm, Coach must want something done.’ And I’d say, ‘Buckle up boys, I’ve got some bad news for you.’ But I was proud to do that. I was proud because I knew Tony, I understood Tony. This was just what we had talked about doing. I knew what he wanted before he said a word. It was special, you know. And I could tell him, ‘Coach, you don’t have to say a word, it’s taken care of.’ Oh man, we had such a great staff, such great players, we had so much fun.”

They won, too — from 1997 to 2001, the Bucs went to the playoffs four out of five years, unheard-of success in Tampa. At first, Dungy was wildly popular with those Tampa fans who had spent so many years in agony. But after a while — as people in Kansas City will tell you — just making the playoffs loses its thrill. Dungy’s teams could not take it all the way to the Super Bowl, and eventually people wondered whether the man had that Super Bowl gene missing. He was fired at the beginning of 2002.

Dungy thought about getting out of football. He considered going into prison ministry. He considered taking some time to get his balance back. But there was a job opening in Indianapolis, which had quarterback Peyton Manning. The Colts wanted Tony Dungy.

Dungy’s phone rang. It was Edwards, who had a year earlier become coach of the New York Jets. They both remember the conversation precisely.

“Tony,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to take that job. Are you kidding me? It used to take us a month to score 30 points. They could score 30 points in one game.”

Dungy laughed and said there were other things he wanted to do.

“You’re a coach, Tony,” Edwards said. “That’s who you are. The NFL needs you. Remember what you told me? Remember what we promised? You need to coach.”

Dungy took the job and has led Indianapolis to the playoffs every year since.

•••

KANSAS CITY | Herm Edwards knows what people are saying. They’re saying he dismantled the most explosive offense in the NFL. They’re saying he so conservative that he almost got the Pat Robertson endorsement. They’re saying that he cannot make critical game-time decisions.

He knows many say he is not a Super Bowl coach.

It would not be precisely correct to write that what people say doesn’t bother him. It depends, as Bill Clinton might say, how you define the word “bother.” The criticism doesn’t upset him. It doesn’t make him angry. But it does rile him up.

“People talk,” he says. “That’s OK. That’s America. That is our right as Americans. People love the Kansas City Chiefs, they’re passionate about the Chiefs, and that’s good. That’s a good thing. Everyone has their opinion, and that’s good. People talk. But that doesn’t mean that people know what they’re talking about.”

He shrugs. He has taken teams to the playoffs four times in his six years as coach, the same record as Dungy in Tampa. He willed the Chiefs to the playoffs last year even after they lost their Hall of Fame left tackle to retirement and their starting quarterback to injury. This year’s Chiefs are somewhere in the playoff picture even though they lost their Hall of Fame right guard to retirement, they have had injuries to their leading receiver and star running back, and they have all sorts of questions at starting quarterback.

“The thing about Herm is that he inspires people,” Dungy says. “His gift is that he will get the most out of a player. He does it naturally. Players stay together. That’s what it takes to be a successful coach. It isn’t about outsmarting anybody.

“I know how hard it is to get a team to the playoffs. I know how difficult it was for Herm to get New York to the playoffs, Kansas City to the playoffs, to be in the hunt year-in and year-out. But we all know that in society today, you have to win it all. You have to get to that top level. I believe this: If you get there year after year, you will break through. That’s what happened to us. That what will happen with Herm, too.”

•••

INDIANAPOLIS | This was an odd week for Tony Dungy. It always is when he plays against a friend. Edwards, honestly, doesn’t mind playing against Dungy. In fact, he likes it. “We love going against each other,” Edwards says. “We love the challenge of beating each other. It’s always special when we coach on opposite sides.”

Dungy doesn’t sound quite so sure. Edwards is a year older than Dungy, but when they talk you get the sense that Dungy is the older brother.

“When you are a coach, you spend the week trying to find the other team’s weaknesses and then you try to pound those weaknesses and pound the team into submission,” Dungy says. “It’s tougher when it’s a friend, I think. This is probably a game you would like to win by one point.”

This is the sensitive side of their relationship. When Herm Edwards’ wife, Lia, found out that she had diabetes, Dungy visited the hospital and took Edwards aside for a long talk. “Be strong,” Dungy said. “You guys can beat this. I know.” Dungy’s mother had diabetes for the last 25 years of her life. Now, Lia and Tony Dungy are spokespeople for Cerner’s “Tackle Diabetes” campaign, which is dedicated to make people more aware of diabetes. With Edwards and Dungy leading the charge, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis are two of the hospitals offering free computer software to help children manage their diabetes.

When Dungy’s 18-year-old son, James, died, Dungy asked Edwards not to come for the funeral because it was a Tuesday morning, and Edwards’ Jets were playing a Monday night game. “It’s OK,” Dungy said.

“I’ll be there,” Edwards said. “There is no way I would not be there.”

And, of course, there were countless other connections through the years, small moments, long talks, late night phone calls, family gatherings — both will tell you it isn’t easy to be friends as an NFL head coach. The hours are long, there are a million responsibilities, and when the team loses, nobody likes the coach. Nobody’s complaining. The pay’s good, and the competition is addictive — but there are some bad days.

“I think there’s something that drives us both,” Dungy says. “And that is to prove to people that there’s no stereotypical right or wrong way to coach. There are a thousand ways to win. You can win being who you are. That’s what we tell each other all the time. We’re going to do this our way. We’re going to win by being ourselves.”

•••

KANSAS CITY | What was the promise they made to each other, the one that has had such a big effect on both their lives? Herm Edwards smiles and shakes his head. It isn’t something you can put into one or two sentences, he says. The promise was something deeper than that.

“You have to understand that when we were young, there were no black head coaches in the NFL,” Edwards says. “Every coach pretty much looked the same, acted the same. We were all told you had to put the fear of God into the players or they wouldn’t win for you. Tony and I, we didn’t fit the mold.

“But we thought there was another way to win football games. We believed you could treat players like men. You could make a team into a family. It’s simple. You teach, you hold players accountable, you take the blame, you don’t worry about who gets the credit, and you respect the game. That’s all. That’s everything. I know people always want to talk about play calling and defensive schemes and all that — that stuff’s important, too. But there’s something underneath it all. Something more important.”

So what was the promise?

“I’m not sure there was one promise,” Dungy says. “We just talked a lot about what we were going to do, how we were going to be as coaches and as men. I think we have been there for each other just to remind each other through the years.”

So what was the promise?

“I can’t put it into words,” Edwards says. “All I can tell you is Tony’s fulfilled his promise. And I still have some work to do.”

Count Zarth
11-17-2007, 11:55 PM
“No,” Edwards would say every day. He was in Kansas City, working in the pro personnel department, on track to become a general manager someday.

“You’re a coach, Herm,” Tony would say. “Come on. In your heart, you know it. You’re a coach.”

Well well well. If you Herm haters want to hate someone, hate Tony Dungy. ROFL

'Hamas' Jenkins
11-17-2007, 11:56 PM
Wouldn't one have to watch a Super Bowl to know what a Super Bowl coach is?

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 12:01 AM
This explains why JoPo didn't write all week. He dragged his ass to Indianapolis just to interview Tony Dungy and dragged it back to KC. Must have been exhausting.

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 12:04 AM
It is the instant before Huard fumbled against Denver last week, the fumble that sealed the Chiefs’ doom. Edwards had been watching the play again and again at his desk.

OK, now I begin to worry a little bit. What is Herm doing, sleep-deprived, watching that play over and over again? What purpose does that serve? We know Terry sucks, we know Huard fumbles sometimes. Is Herm a masochist? I mean the guy wears sweatshirts in 90-degree weather. Jeez.

Come on, Herm. Move on. It's okaaaaaaay!

Dave Lane
11-18-2007, 12:08 AM
OK, We all know Herm sucks, we know Huard fumbles sometimes.

Fixed your post...

Dave

Chiefs Pantalones
11-18-2007, 12:09 AM
I read this article about an hour ago and didn't want to post it simply because I hate Herm. I don't care what Joe "softy" Po writes and I don't care how much other people talk good about him. He is not a good coach. I would love to have him as GM though.

Dave Lane
11-18-2007, 12:12 AM
I read this article about an hour ago and didn't want to post it simply because I hate Herm. I don't care what Joe "softy" Po writes and I don't care how much other people talk good about him. He is not a good coach. I would love to have him as GM though.


Actually a scout would be a awesome use of his talent...

dave

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 12:13 AM
I read this article about an hour ago and didn't want to post it simply because I hate Herm. I don't care what Joe "softy" Po writes and I don't care how much other people talk good about him. He is not a good coach. I would love to have him as GM though.

STOP IT :#

'Hamas' Jenkins
11-18-2007, 12:14 AM
OK, now I begin to worry a little bit. What is Herm doing, sleep-deprived, watching that play over and over again? What purpose does that serve? We know Terry sucks, we know Huard fumbles sometimes. Is Herm a masochist? I mean the guy wears sweatshirts in 90-degree weather. Jeez.

Come on, Herm. Move on. It's okaaaaaaay!

Back and to the left, back...and to the left.

The only thing different was that Huard's skull flap didn't detonate on the hit from Dumervil. Well that and Bigfoot didn't crawl across the back of the Cadillac to try and retreive said skull flap.

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 12:18 AM
I just can't change my opinion about Herm now. I've done a complete 180 and I'm not going back.

The man has so much conviction in his own approach to the game, and so much energy, at some point he's bound to a win a Super Bowl. He's gonna WILL that Lombardi to One Arrowhead Drive if he has to.

I hope he's here for 15 years.

Redcoats58
11-18-2007, 12:19 AM
The more things change the more things stay the same.

“Tony,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to take that job. Are you kidding me? It used to take us a month to score 30 points. They could score 30 points in one game.”

RustShack
11-18-2007, 12:21 AM
Herm is doing a great job, I'm glad hes our coach. Hes been a head coach for how long? How many times has he made the playoffs? Thats pretty damn good. How many coachs do you guys know that win the Super Bowl right off as a first time NFL head coach?

Micjones
11-18-2007, 12:22 AM
Damn you Dungy!!! It's your fault!!!

Herm would've been a great GM I think.

kcfanintitanhell
11-18-2007, 12:25 AM
I would love to have him as GM though.

That could very possibly be the best of both worlds... Carl gets dumped, Herm kicked upstairs, and Cowher decides to come back.

Dave Lane
11-18-2007, 12:33 AM
I just can't change my opinion about Herm now. I've done a complete 180 and I'm not going back.

The man has so much conviction in his own approach to the game, and so much energy, at some point he's bound to a win a Super Bowl. He's gonna WILL that Lombardi to One Arrowhead Drive if he has to.

I hope he's here for 15 years.


Hope he lives to be 10,000 then.

Dave

Fruit Ninja
11-18-2007, 12:35 AM
I think Herm can do it. He almost did it in NY. Its hard as hell to do it in NY. There is some things i dont agree with, but he sure in the hell knows more about football then i do.

BigRock
11-18-2007, 12:46 AM
This explains why JoPo didn't write all week. He dragged his ass to Indianapolis just to interview Tony Dungy and dragged it back to KC. Must have been exhausting.
He practically wrote a book on his blog this week, although it was 99.99% about baseball. He's nuts with the blogging. Not that that's a bad thing if you write as well as Joe.

ClevelandBronco
11-18-2007, 01:34 AM
“Absolutely, I’m a Super Bowl coach,” Edwards says.

I must have missed that one.

My bad. I usually watch them all.

Fruit Ninja
11-18-2007, 02:12 AM
I must have missed that one.

My bad. I usually watch them all.If a coach doesnt beleive he's a Super Bowl caliber coach. then ther eis no reason to be coaching.

FringeNC
11-18-2007, 06:33 AM
The man has so much conviction in his own approach to the game, and so much energy, at some point he's bound to a win a Super Bowl. He's gonna WILL that Lombardi to One Arrowhead Drive if he has to.


It's almost impossible to win the necessary 3-4 playoff games playing not-to-lose football.

Bill Parcells
11-18-2007, 06:43 AM
Wouldn't one have to watch a Super Bowl to know what a Super Bowl coach is?
Not if you're a complete retard of a Super Bowl Coach.

You're not thinking at Herm's level, Hamas. shame on you!

Bob Dole
11-18-2007, 06:48 AM
I think Herm can do it. He almost did it in NY. Its hard as hell to do it in NY. There is some things i dont agree with, but he sure in the hell knows more about football then i do.

Keeping Green in to start the second half last year against Indy, and keeping Huard in to start the second half last week against Denver, are two glaring examples of why Herm Edwards is NOT a Super Bowl coach.

Skip Towne
11-18-2007, 06:59 AM
Herm lives in the past. He can't even use the internet. I don't want him for a coach and certainly not a GM. He should be in the player personnel dept. Herm is not a smart man, just a good judge of football talent.

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 07:14 AM
He practically wrote a book on his blog this week, although it was 99.99% about baseball. He's nuts with the blogging. Not that that's a bad thing if you write as well as Joe.

Holy shit, I didn't know JoPo had a blog. If only Whitlock had one. Got a link?

TEX
11-18-2007, 07:14 AM
I just can't change my opinion about Herm now. I've done a complete 180 and I'm not going back.

The man has so much conviction in his own approach to the game, and so much energy, at some point he's bound to a win a Super Bowl. He's gonna WILL that Lombardi to One Arrowhead Drive if he has to.

I hope he's here for 15 years.

Not surprising at all. You flipped on an issue and you'll flip again when Herm flops.

Herm's more the type who "knows Super Bowl coaches, (he said that himself), rather than be one. Super Bowl coaches do NOT quit on their teams. That's exactly what he did in New York. All of your BS can't change that.

Count Zarth
11-18-2007, 07:15 AM
Herm lives in the past. He can't even use the internet.

No, he knows how. He just doesn't make use of it, for whatever reason.

Reerun_KC
11-18-2007, 07:30 AM
I just can't change my opinion about Herm now. I've done a complete 180 and I'm not going back.

The man has so much conviction in his own approach to the game, and so much energy, at some point he's bound to a win a Super Bowl. He's gonna WILL that Lombardi to One Arrowhead Drive if he has to.

I hope he's here for 15 years.

If herm stays here for 15 years, the Chiefs will sink faster than the Titanic. NOTHING will drive fans out of Arrowhead quicker than keeping that dufus on the sideline.

Also if Herm is a superbowl coach, then I am Chuck Yeager....

Neither is true...

Zouk
11-18-2007, 09:17 AM
This is a great article. People forget that Belichick was dumped on in Cleveland too. They said he was a coordinator, but not a head coach. It was nonsense. The truth was he did not have the right mix of talent and circumstance to win it all in Cleveland. But he got the most out of what he had. Intelligent judges of talent would have seen that, but of course 75%+ of all football fans/commentators didn't. As with Dungy. He never had a really good QB or good offensive talent in Tampa (and I will grant they made some terrible offensive drafting decisions there - Shaun King, Reidel Anthony, etc.). But he got the most out of what was there.

My contention is that Herm did the same in NY. He was playing in the same division as a dynasty in its prime (which meant he couldn't get home playoff games when he had his best team in 2004). His best player was an over 30 Curtis Martin. There was not a bevy of Hall of Fame talent there. He had a mediocre to slightly above average QB who got hurt every year. But he still went to the playoffs year after year, won a division title in the 1 year the Pats were down (partially by beating them in Foxboro in December), he beat the Colts 41-0 in the playoffs, he won a road playoff game, and almost won another one in Pittsburgh, even though the Steelers had better talent at virtually all positions. If he had been in the NFC, there's a very decent chance he WOULD have made a Super Bowl with that team.