Spurrier Ball Will Play in NFL: Steve Spurrier Proved He Could Coach Pro Ball during His Years with the USFL. (Sports)

By Daly, Dan | Insight on the News, February 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Spurrier Ball Will Play in NFL: Steve Spurrier Proved He Could Coach Pro Ball during His Years with the USFL. (Sports)


Daly, Dan, Insight on the News


As a rule, college coaches do about as well in the National Football League (NFL) as fillies do in the Kentucky Derby. Pro football was a humbling experience for successful college coaches Bud Wilkinson, John McKay, Dan Devine and Frank Kush. Bear Bryant's name might have been on the list if he hadn't had second thoughts about taking the Miami Dolphins job in 1970. The same goes for Joe Paterno, who almost accepted an offer from the New England Patriots a few years later.

These are the odds Steve Spurrier is bucking as he prepares to bring his Wild West Show to the NFL's Washington Redskins. For every Jimmy Johnson, there have been 10 Mike Rileys, a half-dozen Dennis Ericksons. As successful as Spurrier has been at the University of Florida -- and Duke University before that -- it's still reasonable to wonder whether he can pull it off at the pro level.

In the NFL, he'll have to wait his turn in the draft, just like everybody else, instead of dipping into Florida's bountiful talent pool every year. Also, there aren't any Vanderbilts or Kentuckys in the league (though the Cincinnati Bengals are close).

Still, my money's on Spurrier. He might not win two Super Bowls like Johnson, but I'd be surprised if he didn't at least have a Don Coryell-type career in the NFL. And wasn't pro football a better place in the 1970s and 1980s with "Air Coryell" around?

That's what "Steve Superior" has going for him that so many other college coaches don't: a thorough understanding of the passing game. And in the pros, as Bill Walsh will tell you, you don't run to set up the pass, you pass to set up the run.

Actually, Spurrier already has shown he can pull it off at the pro level -- that is, if you consider the United States Football League (USFL) the pro level. In his three seasons with the Tampa Bay Bandits in the early 1980s, he went 35-19 and made the playoffs twice. And that was his first head-coaching experience, after a brief period as a college assistant. But he held his own against the likes of George Allen, Marv Levy, Jim Morn, Walt Michaels, Jack Pardee and John Ralston, among others, all of whom have had their moments in the NFL.

It has mystified me why an NFL club didn't hire Spurrier right then, why he had to settle for the decidedly unglamorous Duke job. After all, when he was in Tampa, he upstaged -- and outdrew -- the Buccaneers. "Bandit Ball" was so much more exciting than the three yards and a cloud of dust running game McKay's Bucs used.

Most good college coaches have failed in the pros because they took a college approach to offense. That was certainly true of Devine, McKay, Lou Holtz and Tommy Prothro. Barry Switzer, who presided over the Dallas Cowboys' demise, ran the wishbone at Oklahoma. Ron Meyer, who got two NFL shots, made a name for himself with the Pony Express backfield of Eric Dickerson and Craig James at Southern Methodist University. Neither was a good bet to become the next Paul Brown.

But coaches like Johnson, who had a high-octane offense at the University of Miami, have greater possibilities in the pros. And Spurrier falls into that category. It's not that they're averse to running the ball, they just like gaining their yardage in larger chunks. If Spurrier's a little more insistent about it, maybe it's because he was a quarterback and, on the sideline, thinks like a quarterback. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spurrier Ball Will Play in NFL: Steve Spurrier Proved He Could Coach Pro Ball during His Years with the USFL. (Sports)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.