Thread: Football The Philosophy of Bill Walsh
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:18 PM   #35
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At the end of the 1987 season, for example, San Francisco met the Minnesota Vikings in a playoff game. Minnesota was vastly underrated and San Francisco had tired and become stale during their two weeks of preparation.

During the game, we fell behind and were unable to move the ball. I sensed that, in addition to not having the protection he needed, Joe Montana was not at his best.

In the middle of the third quarter, I knew what I had to do. On one hand, it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make, but on the other
hand, it was also very easy. I decided to pull Joe and insert Steve Young at quarterback.

Because of the lack of pass protection, I believed Steve's incredible mobility as a quarterback might spark the team and turn the game around. But I was
still pulling perhaps the greatest quarterback in the history of football out of a playoff game.

I knew that fans would be outraged and that the media would forever criticize and second guess my decision if the 49ers lost. I also knew the experience
would be traumatic for Joe.

Despite all the potential drawbacks, my decision was simple. I was the head coach and I was responsible for making appropriate decisions, even if I knew I
would be condemned by others. I had no alternative.

I was aware of the possibility that Steve might fare no better than Joe, but we were down to a "one game season" and something had to be done quickly for us to have any chance of winning. I made the change.

When Joe came off the field, I put my arm around him, explained why I had replaced him, and told him I cared about him. Steve did spark the team, and
we became more competitive but still lost. As the coach, I had to make the tough decision and then live with it.

As I expected, I was criticized for some time regarding that decision. It also fueled a quarterback controversy early the next season. If I had taken the easy way out, letting Joe stay in the game and then be criticized for not playing up to par, I would not have been fulfilling my responsibilities as the head coach.
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