October 17, 2006
Smashmouth normally tries to avoid the obvious, so we’ll try not to obsess too much about how Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green is the most overrated coach in the history of football.
We’re going to talk about one of our rules when it comes to kickers at the end of the half or game. We call it the “five-yard” rule or the “Scott Norwood” rule. What we believe is simple: When dealing with a kick at the end of a half or a game-winning kick, coaches need to make it as easy as possible on the kicker by getting him as close as possible.
So many times we’ve seen coaches settle on having a kicker try a mid-range field goal for the victory when they could have easily gotten that kicker closer and made it easier for him. Dennis “I always play no to lose and never to win” Green gave us another stark example of this in Monday night’s game.
We call this the “Scott Norwood” rule because of what happened at the end of the 1991 Super Bowl between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants. We don’t blame Norwood for that loss. We blame Jim Kelly and Marv Levy for that defeat.
Kelly had time to run one more play in which he would have had to throw about a 5-yard pass to the sideline to get Norwood a little closer. But instead he decided that the Bills were close enough and had Norwood try a 47-yard field goal.
Norwood, by the way, had never made a field goal that long on grass. You would think that a head coach like Levy, who’s paid plenty of money to know that, and his staff, should have known that.
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We also refer to this as the “five-yard” rule because the Bills really had enough time to get Norwood about five yards closer. We believe if a team can get a kicker within 45 yards, it can get him to within 40 yards and if it can get him to within 40 yards, it can get him to within 35 yards and so on.
But Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green decided that Neil Rackers was close enough at 40 yards. His play calling was baffling.
Matt Leinart had played the greatest game in the history of a quarterback considering he was going against the greatest defense of all-time without a running game. Leinart had moved the Cardinals down the field with high-percentage passes.
But instead of sticking with what worked, Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green decided to go back to what hadn’t worked all night, running two straight times up the gut with Edgerin James, who finished with 56 yards on 36 carries.
Of course, Brian Urlacher, who had the greatest game by a defensive player of all-time, was there to greet James each time to make two of his I think about 50 tackles (actually he finished with 19).
Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green figured the Cardinals had gotten Rackers close enough and was more concerned about getting a first down and not giving the ball back to the Bears instead of getting Rackers as close as possible.
Even if Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green was overly concerned about getting the first down, he should have still had Leinart throw the ball since the Cardinals’ running game was non-existent.
If Dennis “I always play not to lose and never to win” Green (OK so I did obsess too much about how Green is the most overrated coach in the history of football) and other coaches followed the “five yard” or “Scott Norwood” rule, they would win a lot more games.