Friday, December 26, 2008

Rule No. 1: "A man has got to know his limitations."

I am not fan of armchair coaching.   I frequently post comments on other blogs and have developed a reputation among a very small circle of enthusiasts as an annoying pain in the ass for criticising the criticising of playcalling.  I have been called a "tool" (I'd prefer "a-hole" but I guess "tool" is in the ballpark so I can live with it) and a "troll" (this one is comically baseless).

However, I'm actually not an absolutist.  I certainly do criticise playcalling and will continue to do so in the future.  It's just that I personally feel that too many fans (and certainly too many internet bloggers and commenters) go overboard---and in my opinion way overboard.  So, for what it is worth---if anything---I wrote down a list of the rules that I try to observe when armchair coaching.  Then I looked at what I had and it was way too long.  No sane person would bother to read it.   So I am breaking it up into 5 pieces.  Here is my Rule 1:

(1) "A man has got to know his limitations."  Cliff Chrystl  (who I must admit I miss quite a bit)  used to get pretty aggressive with fans who constantly whined about playcalling.  

I think I've had the advantage of interviewing countless GMs, coaches, etc., over the years and have gained considerable knowledge from those people. But I don't believe that makes me an expert on the game. I admit to you that I know almost nothing about play-calling, game plans, etc.; that I'm not qualified to judge coaches with other teams, etc. Ron Wolf used to tell me that he wasn't qualified to speak about the technical aspects of the game or that he didn't know enough about certain coaches to comment on them. So when I "diss" or criticize fans, as you say, it's usually the ones who come across as experts in their own minds. If Ron Wolf says he isn't qualified to talk about something, how many fans are qualified to do so? And I think I take most of my shots at those of you who think you're know-it-alls and feel the need to editorialize on subjects where you have limited knowledge.

At bottom, coaching is a "real job."  And a demanding one at that.  Pro coaches spent 60 hours, 80 hours, or more a week breaking down film and preparing for opponents.  They know as much as there is to know about obscure players that I am only vaguely familiar with.  I am hobbyist.  I watch the games, I  hit replay on my DVR a few times on important plays.  I read news coverage. And that's about it.  Fans (even passionate fans) are hobbyists.

I stand by my position that "hobbyists" are deluding themselves if they honestly believe that week in and week out they have all the answers over those that put in the hours and go through the grind.

Does that mean that coaches are always right and fans are always wrong?  Of course not.  There are bad coaches everywhere. (I do argue in Rule 3,  however, that you should judge those coaches based upon their overall body of work and not based upon a handful of plays.)

However, before I go on an overemotional rant (See the upcoming Rule 4), it is useful for me to remind myself that there is a very good chance that I am off base.  A little humility is never a bad thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment