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gabefergy

Props to John Harbaugh

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For whatever reason, John Harbaugh never get's the credit he deserves for being one of the best coaches in the NFL. In fact he frequently comes under fire from fans for not being "offensively minded" among other laughable critiques.

Looking past the remarkable fact that he has led the Ravens to 5 consecutive playoff berths and won at least 1 game in each of those postseasons including 3 AFCCG appearances, I wanted to focus on 3 critical decisions he has made over the course of the season that has this team where it is today.

1) Choosing Justin Tucker over Billy Cundiff. To a lot of fans this seemed like an easy decision, but in reality it was quite a gamble. And it worked beautifully. Cundiff was the established veteran with a big contract that also happened to be coming off one of the worst choke-jobs ever. Tucker was the young buck with zero experience, but a big leg. Tucker also managed to convince Harbs that he was clutch and I give credit to both John and Justin for coming to the right decision here.

2) Firing Cam Cameron and promoting Jim Caldwell. Once again this is something a lot of us fans wanted to see done a long time ago, but to make the move in the middle of the season was a gutsy call. Some may argue that there were other (ownership) influences on this decision, but at the end the call comes down to the HC and Harbaugh once again makes the tough and proper decision.

3) Inserting Bryant McKinnie as a starter for the first time in the playoffs. McKinnie was in Harbs' infamous "doghouse" for much of the season. He came into camp overweight and almost got cut, but managed to stick around because frankly we didnt have much of a choice. Whenever Big Mac came in to play during the season he looked sloppy and seemed like just didnt have a clue what was going on, but somewhere along the way he managed to gain Harbs' trust and was given the chance to start. We had a revolving door (literally) at LG for the entire season and moving KO there to go along with Oher to RT and McKinnie to LT has been a huge boon. This change might be the biggest reason why we are playing in the AFCCG.

Awesome job once again Coach. Keep up the great work and finish the season right in New Orleans!
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Probably because he isn't one of those coaches who seems to be directly involved in the playcalling. BB Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton practically run both sides of the ball (McCarthy is the playcaller). Harbaugh is a great HC. You can say the Cam firing took too long. Inserting McKinnie was practically the only choice we had. Tucker over Cundiff had to happen. I don't think anyone would have done otherwise.

He is a great coach though. One of the best.
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I agree with all your points. I think Harbaugh is a player's coach who is also disciplined enough to assert himself if necessary. I like his style. He doesn't throw his position around but will. He really trusts his players and I think that's a big reason why they play so hard for him.
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He should have been coach of the year instead of Mike Smith back in 2008 and he has been disrespected ever since. The beautiful thing about John is that he doesn't give a damn. It's all about the team.
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[quote name='dhstandard' timestamp='1358296925' post='1313630']
Probably because he isn't one of those coaches who seems to be directly involved in the playcalling. BB Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton practically run both sides of the ball (McCarthy is the playcaller). Harbaugh is a great HC. You can say the Cam firing took too long. Inserting McKinnie was practically the only choice we had. Tucker over Cundiff had to happen. I don't think anyone would have done otherwise.

He is a great coach though. One of the best.
[/quote]

I disagree about all three being choices anyone would make. Sure, it's easy to say that in hindsight. When was the last time an OC was fired mid-season on a playoff contending team? That move was crushed nationally as a "panic move". McKinnie was not the only choice. It would have been just as easy to insert Bobbie Williams or Ramon Harewood who had both started at LG at some point that season. He changed 3 positions along the Oline to get what he saw was the best 5 and he turned out to be right. The move was questioned by many prior to the Colts game. Once again, cutting Cundiff seemed obvious but going into the season with a rookie kicker with ZERO experience is [i]not[/i] an easy choice. What happens if Tucker turns out to choke midway through the season?
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[quote name='gabefergy' timestamp='1358297742' post='1313645']
I disagree about all three being choices anyone would make. Sure, it's easy to say that in hindsight. When was the last time an OC was fired mid-season on a playoff contending team? That move was crushed nationally as a "panic move". McKinnie was not the only choice. It would have been just as easy to insert Bobbie Williams or Ramon Harewood who had both started at LG at some point that season. He changed 3 positions along the Oline to get what he saw was the best 5 and he turned out to be right. The move was questioned by many prior to the Colts game. Once again, cutting Cundiff seemed obvious but going into the season with a rookie kicker with ZERO experience is [i]not[/i] an easy choice. What happens if Tucker turns out to choke midway through the season?
[/quote]

We asked for all of these before the decision was even made. I know we as fans aren't always correct, but people were begging to see McKinnie start, did not want Cundiff back, and we wanted Cam gone for years. Not really surprising things to the Ravens fanbase to see happen.
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[quote name='dhstandard' timestamp='1358298406' post='1313652']
We asked for all of these before the decision was even made. I know we as fans aren't always correct, but people were begging to see McKinnie start, did not want Cundiff back, and we wanted Cam gone for years. Not really surprising things to the Ravens fanbase to see happen.
[/quote]

Right. But you just said it yourself...they are moves the fans clamored for, but rarely do you actually see those changes actually made. None of them were easy decisions or guaranteed success. The fact that all three were brought to fruition and have had positive results is fortunate. The fact that you are even arguing about this just further demonstrates the point I am trying to make. Fans won't ever give him credit, but he's OK with that.
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[quote name='dhstandard' timestamp='1358298406' post='1313652']
We asked for all of these before the decision was even made. I know we as fans aren't always correct, but people were begging to see McKinnie start, did not want Cundiff back, and we wanted Cam gone for years. Not really surprising things to the Ravens fanbase to see happen.
[/quote]

Uh yea and fans also asked for Ray Rice to not get any carries, wanted to see Tyrod Taylor get the nod over Joe and questioned Ozzie Newsome's recent drafting. The fans are always reacting due to emotion, not football smarts. People wanted to see McKinnie start because Oher was getting beat like a drum and making the whole o-line look bad and yet conveniently forgot about the numerous times this season when we've put him in he was getting beat WORSE than Oher and playing without any passion at all. The ONLY reason he's playing the way he is now is because Ray finally took him under his wing and he's retiring.

People have complained about Cam since day one even though he was very successful with the team and helped Joe become the QB he is today. In fact most fans DIDN'T want him gone NOW because in their words it would be, 'too late,'. We even questioned the move after it was done like the rest of the media because championship caliber teams almost never cut a key member of the staff anytime before the off-season. Obviously, we didn't want Cundiff back because of the miss in NE, but once again: all emotion. Not ONE of the Ravens staff or players blamed him solely and all took credit for the loss and had his back; he had won many games for the Ravens and hardly lost any for them. It would have been the easier decision to stick with Cundiff and show we were behind him regardless of what fans wanted than to go with an untested, undrafted rookie with crazy eyes. Took a lot of guts to make that call.

Bottom line is, the fans want a myriad of things from their football team whether they be reasonable or outlandish and just because a few things we've screamed for have come to pass AND worked out isn't indicative of the fans smarts or knowledge; if they were in John's shoes they may very well have done the opposite of what he's done.
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I'm not entirely sure why Harbaugh doesn't get the credit he's earned... people rail on Flacco and our 'aging' defense yet we stack wins every sense and make a lot of noise in the playoffs (which we go to every season under him).

This year might just be his best yet, overcoming mountains of adversity and has our team 2 games from a championship. When we went on the 3-game losing streak in December, there was not dissension within the locker room, as there may have been in other franchises.

Furthermore, aside from the on-field decisions, the culture of the Ravens is vastly different than the final years of the Billick era. I loved BB but there was an issue with cohesion and entitlement on our team.

edit - more credit would definitely come with a SB...
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[quote name='berad' timestamp='1358300395' post='1313680']
I'm not entirely sure why Harbaugh doesn't get the credit he's earned... people rail on Flacco and our 'aging' defense yet we stack wins every sense and make a lot of noise in the playoffs (which we go to every season under him).

This year might just be his best yet, overcoming mountains of adversity and has our team 2 games from a championship. When we went on the 3-game losing streak in December, there was not dissension within the locker room, as there may have been in other franchises.

Furthermore, aside from the on-field decisions, the culture of the Ravens is vastly different than the final years of the Billick era. I loved BB but there was an issue with cohesion and entitlement on our team.

edit - more credit would definitely come with a SB...
[/quote]
No one cares about Bmore outside of Bmore.

Harbs is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He deserves credit, but will never get it bc we are not a big market team
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[quote name='gabefergy' timestamp='1358295588' post='1313607']
For whatever reason, John Harbaugh never get's the credit he deserves for being one of the best coaches in the NFL. In fact he frequently comes under fire from fans for not being "offensively minded" among other laughable critiques.

Looking past the remarkable fact that he has led the Ravens to 5 consecutive playoff berths and won at least 1 game in each of those postseasons including 3 AFCCG appearances, I wanted to focus on 3 critical decisions he has made over the course of the season that has this team where it is today.

1) Choosing Justin Tucker over Billy Cundiff. To a lot of fans this seemed like an easy decision, but in reality it was quite a gamble. And it worked beautifully. Cundiff was the established veteran with a big contract that also happened to be coming off one of the worst choke-jobs ever. Tucker was the young buck with zero experience, but a big leg. Tucker also managed to convince Harbs that he was clutch and I give credit to both John and Justin for coming to the right decision here.

2) Firing Cam Cameron and promoting Jim Caldwell. Once again this is something a lot of us fans wanted to see done a long time ago, but to make the move in the middle of the season was a gutsy call. Some may argue that there were other (ownership) influences on this decision, but at the end the call comes down to the HC and Harbaugh once again makes the tough and proper decision.

3) Inserting Bryant McKinnie as a starter for the first time in the playoffs. McKinnie was in Harbs' infamous "doghouse" for much of the season. He came into camp overweight and almost got cut, but managed to stick around because frankly we didnt have much of a choice. Whenever Big Mac came in to play during the season he looked sloppy and seemed like just didnt have a clue what was going on, but somewhere along the way he managed to gain Harbs' trust and was given the chance to start. We had a revolving door (literally) at LG for the entire season and moving KO there to go along with Oher to RT and McKinnie to LT has been a huge boon. This change might be the biggest reason why we are playing in the AFCCG.

Awesome job once again Coach. Keep up the great work and finish the season right in New Orleans!
[/quote]

you are assuming it was his call to make any of those 3 decisions.

while I agree he had input, I SERIOUSLY doubt it was his decion alone.
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[quote name='Bump N Run' timestamp='1358302797' post='1313718']
you are assuming it was his call to make any of those 3 decisions.

while I agree he had input, I SERIOUSLY doubt it was his decion alone.
[/quote]

The final "decion" most certainly came to Harbaugh.
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[quote name='Mr. Irrelevant' timestamp='1358302595' post='1313716']
No one cares about Bmore outside of Bmore.

Harbs is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He deserves credit, but will never get it bc we are not a big market team
[/quote]

If we keep winning we will become a "big market" team. The media and fans love winners, if we can continue this success and win SBs the bandwagoners will come, if we want them or not.
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[quote name='Mr. Irrelevant' timestamp='1358302595' post='1313716']
No one cares about Bmore outside of Bmore.

Harbs is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He deserves credit, but will never get it bc we are not a big market team
[/quote]

I reside within Los Angeles and I'm a die-hard Ravens fan! :)
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[quote name='Im Too Legendary' timestamp='1358314002' post='1313894']


I reside within Los Angeles and I'm a die-hard Ravens fan! :)
[/quote]
Los Angeles has a lot of Ravens fans for some reason. Probably because of shear numbers but its also a good fanbase out here.
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I'm a big fan of John Harbaugh, I think he's a really good Head Coach. Three appearances in the AFC Championship game in five years is a record that most Head Coaches would be envious of and rightly so. As well as his obvious coaching abilities I also think Harbaugh comes across really well in his press conferences. He seems like a likeable guy.

It would be fantastic for John Harbaugh if we could win on Sunday. I'm sure he doesn't want to be known as the Head Coach who is 0-3 in Championship games.
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of course, got to give props an credit where its due. Harbaugh has been the driving force both on and off the playing field, both mentally and physically. the man knows how to lead and guide a team the right way, a real interpersonal guy which I think the players and coaches and Raven personnel feed off of. a True testament to what it means to be a Raven (coach wise) . I wish nothing but the best now and in the future for our team :)
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I agree, major props to Coach Harbaugh. I feel he is a blessing to our organization and a heck of a head coach. So much goes into being an effective leader and so far John Harbaugh has the "it " quality. I am so proud of our team, and it starts from the top down.
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Coach Harbaugh is definetly a players coach its great to see all the players have so much respect for the guy him and ray rice crouching down as JT took tht kick and the following kiss on the head summed it all up for me, so much respect for the guy, we couldnt ask for a better coach.
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[quote name='Mr. Irrelevant' timestamp='1358302595' post='1313716']

No one cares about Bmore outside of Bmore.

Harbs is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He deserves credit, but will never get it bc we are not a big market team
[/quote]

I live in The Netherlands and I'm a Ravensfan. Stay up deep in the night, sometime till 6am just to watch their games, right before I go to work.

The great thing with Harbs is, is that he gives but also recieves a lot of respect from the players. I don't know which week it was, but there was almost a mutiny and he just sat down and listened to the players instead of using his authority.
Showing that he cared about them. Other coaches are to arrogant or too much of a controle freak to do that.
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[quote][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=3][background=rgb(247, 247, 247)]No one cares about Bmore outside of Bmore.[/background][/size][/font][/color]
[/quote]
You have a point Mr Irrevelent, however I feel it will be better served by changing your words. I would say " No one outside of Bmore is as passionate and hard core and devoted fans as us Baltimorons.. Our market might not be the biggest but our heart sure is..GO RAVENS!!!.. As a Baltimore native, I bleed Purple n Black.
ALSO
as we can see PLENTY of people outside Bmore love the ravens.. We got a massive flock. Caw!!!Caw!!!:) I know lots of people all around the world that just love our team. Its bigger than Bmore bruddah :)
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[quote name='gabefergy' timestamp='1358295588' post='1313607']
For whatever reason, John Harbaugh never get's the credit he deserves for being one of the best coaches in the NFL. In fact he frequently comes under fire from fans for not being "offensively minded" among other laughable critiques.

Looking past the remarkable fact that he has led the Ravens to 5 consecutive playoff berths and won at least 1 game in each of those postseasons including 3 AFCCG appearances, I wanted to focus on 3 critical decisions he has made over the course of the season that has this team where it is today.

1) Choosing Justin Tucker over Billy Cundiff. To a lot of fans this seemed like an easy decision, but in reality it was quite a gamble. And it worked beautifully. Cundiff was the established veteran with a big contract that also happened to be coming off one of the worst choke-jobs ever. Tucker was the young buck with zero experience, but a big leg. Tucker also managed to convince Harbs that he was clutch and I give credit to both John and Justin for coming to the right decision here.

2) Firing Cam Cameron and promoting Jim Caldwell. Once again this is something a lot of us fans wanted to see done a long time ago, but to make the move in the middle of the season was a gutsy call. Some may argue that there were other (ownership) influences on this decision, but at the end the call comes down to the HC and Harbaugh once again makes the tough and proper decision.

3) Inserting Bryant McKinnie as a starter for the first time in the playoffs. McKinnie was in Harbs' infamous "doghouse" for much of the season. He came into camp overweight and almost got cut, but managed to stick around because frankly we didnt have much of a choice. Whenever Big Mac came in to play during the season he looked sloppy and seemed like just didnt have a clue what was going on, but somewhere along the way he managed to gain Harbs' trust and was given the chance to start. We had a revolving door (literally) at LG for the entire season and moving KO there to go along with Oher to RT and McKinnie to LT has been a huge boon. This change might be the biggest reason why we are playing in the AFCCG.

Awesome job once again Coach. Keep up the great work and finish the season right in New Orleans!
[/quote]

All good points with one thing in common: they all happened this year. I think one of the reasons he hasn't gotten as much credit as he deserves is because for the first four years, we were predominantly a defensive team. The problem is that we have been a defensive team with different coaches/coordinators for over a decade. So, the perspective is that he is a good coach who came in, made this team better, and brought consistency with getting to the playoffs every year, but hadn't done anything like the "elite" coaches have done such as winning a Super Bowl or finding success in a bad situation. He had the luxury of a good situation coming in.
I think he has earned a lot of respect down the stretch, and will be much more respected next year as a result of what he's done this year. He's taken a team that no longer has that defensive presence (statistically, anyway) that was built long before he was here to the championship game for the third time in five years. He's become the only coach to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons, and if we get to, or even win the Super Bowl this year, that will put him over the edge as one of the top coaches in the league.
What I've noticed is that he is often respected as one of the better coaches in the league, but just isn't in that Bellichick/Tomlin/McCarthy group yet. While Bellichick is the best coach in the league, I do think Harbaugh is a better coach than Tomlin (who owes all his success to Dick Lebeau, the most underrated coach in the league) and McCarthy, they've "overcome" more adversity than Harbaugh has. Tomlin continually deals with an injured quarterback and offensive issues, but remains a defensively dominant team who everybody expects to be in the playoffs every year (even if he has missed the playoffs entirely two out of the last four years). McCarthy made the Favre-Rodgers transition and went on to win the Super Bowl. Even guys like Mike Smith get more credit than Harbaugh because he took over what was a trainwreck of a team after the Vick era and turned it into one of the better teams in the league. All Harbaugh did was take over a team that had been in the playoffs in four of its last nine seasons (which doesn't sound great to us anymore, but teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville would kill for it) and had a top 5 defense and good running game established before he got here. He's a victim of circumstance. If Baltimore had been a worse team before he got here, he would have already gotten that credit. Instead, I think he's only now starting to earn in.
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He is a great coach! Just look at his record! 11 wins on average during the regular season and 1.5 wins in the post season! 3 AFCC games in 5 yrs!

Please let me know how many HC's can you find with such stellar credentials! Couple that with a brand new QB and RB, with a defense that has been pulverized on occasion! Great HC and a good man! We in Baltimore are lucky to have him! Steve Bisciotti is a great talent scout clearly!
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He's a good coach. Most people that were anti-John often said that he just took a really good team form BB and rode from there... Well our team is almost completely different from the team that he took over and we are still rolling.

I find it ironic that his brother took over the exact same sort of team, in the same type of situation and is doing the same things with their teams. Idk what was going on in that Harbaugh household, but I'm still young enough to learn!

I'm up for adaption!!
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Just replying to the initial post, I agree 100%. Coach Harbs has truly kept this ship not only afloat, but cruising speed and dangerous. I wish I knew what exactly was the last straw with Cameron. I liked Harb's press conference after the Denver game. I like how he started it by saying that faith was why this team is special.
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[quote name='rlh445' timestamp='1358299781' post='1313674']
Uh yea and fans also asked for Ray Rice to not get any carries, wanted to see Tyrod Taylor get the nod over Joe and questioned Ozzie Newsome's recent drafting. The fans are always reacting due to emotion, not football smarts. People wanted to see McKinnie start because Oher was getting beat like a drum and making the whole o-line look bad and yet conveniently forgot about the numerous times this season when we've put him in he was getting beat WORSE than Oher and playing without any passion at all. The ONLY reason he's playing the way he is now is because Ray finally took him under his wing and he's retiring.

People have complained about Cam since day one even though he was very successful with the team and helped Joe become the QB he is today. In fact most fans DIDN'T want him gone NOW because in their words it would be, 'too late,'. We even questioned the move after it was done like the rest of the media because championship caliber teams almost never cut a key member of the staff anytime before the off-season. Obviously, we didn't want Cundiff back because of the miss in NE, but once again: all emotion. Not ONE of the Ravens staff or players blamed him solely and all took credit for the loss and had his back; he had won many games for the Ravens and hardly lost any for them. It would have been the easier decision to stick with Cundiff and show we were behind him regardless of what fans wanted than to go with an untested, undrafted rookie with crazy eyes. Took a lot of guts to make that call.

Bottom line is, the fans want a myriad of things from their football team whether they be reasonable or outlandish and just because a few things we've screamed for have come to pass AND worked out isn't indicative of the fans smarts or knowledge; if they were in John's shoes they may very well have done the opposite of what he's done.
[/quote]


I must vehemently disagree that most fans did not want Cam gone at that time. Most fans wanted him gone even if it cost us the season. They would have sacrificed anything to see him fired. On this the fans were right.
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If I did my research right, I could find only two other teams since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 that have been to back-to-back conference championship games with different offensive AND defensive coordinators in the two years.

That would be the 1988-1989 49ers, and the 1980-1981 Chargers.

And in the case of the Chargers, I can't really find any concrete information on who was doing what in those '80-'81 teams. Don Coryell was considered an offensive guy, but it seems he was the defensive coordinator in addition to being the head coach in '80, but filled Jack Pardee into the defensive coordinator role in '81, and he had Joe Gibbs acting as offensive coordinator in '80, but took over as OC himself in '81. So it was like he was head coach & DC in '80, then head coach & OC in '81. Very strange. Clearly he had his fingers all over that team, so I'm not sure it should even count as significantly as our offensive & defensive coordinator switches go.

And then in the case of the 49ers, the defensive coordinator for the '88 team became the head coach in '89, so he may have still been "in charge" of the defense, despite having filled the role of defensive coordinator with another individual. This one is obviously the closest to our situation, but NEITHER situation is quite like ours. For what it's worth, the 49'ers won the Super Bowl in the second year of this back-to-back appearances set.

In both of those situations, either the offensive or defensive coordinator from the previous season was still in the team, just in a higher capacity.

Ours is the only situation since the merger where we made it to back to back championship games without having either the offensive coordinator OR the defensive coordinator in the system at all anymore.
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[quote name='callahan09' timestamp='1358366007' post='1314429']
If I did my research right, I could find only two other teams since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 that have been to back-to-back conference championship games with different offensive AND defensive coordinators in the two years.

That would be the 1988-1989 49ers, and the 1980-1981 Chargers.

And in the case of the Chargers, I can't really find any concrete information on who was doing what in those '80-'81 teams. Don Coryell was considered an offensive guy, but it seems he was the defensive coordinator in addition to being the head coach in '80, but filled Jack Pardee into the defensive coordinator role in '81, and he had Joe Gibbs acting as offensive coordinator in '80, but took over as OC himself in '81. So it was like he was head coach & DC in '80, then head coach & OC in '81. Very strange. Clearly he had his fingers all over that team, so I'm not sure it should even count as significantly as our offensive & defensive coordinator switches go.

And then in the case of the 49ers, the defensive coordinator for the '88 team became the head coach in '89, so he may have still been "in charge" of the defense, despite having filled the role of defensive coordinator with another individual. This one is obviously the closest to our situation, but NEITHER situation is quite like ours. For what it's worth, the 49'ers won the Super Bowl in the second year of this back-to-back appearances set.

In both of those situations, either the offensive or defensive coordinator from the previous season was still in the team, just in a higher capacity.

Ours is the only situation since the merger where we made it to back to back championship games without having either the offensive coordinator OR the defensive coordinator in the system at all anymore.
[/quote]
You always do some great research! thanks =)
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