Tuna with Belichick and Walsh? Sounds like a deli sandwich that packs a punch. It’s also the coaching staff for Brandon Thorn’s team to defend the planet.
There are few things I am more passionate about than the game of football. I have idolized NFL players for as long as I’ve been a fan, having fantasized about creating the perfect football team for many years. A childhood friend of mine and I have done fantasy drafts in Madden football since ’03, conjuring players with perfect traits for nearly every scheme imaginable. Having the honor to be the general manager of the most important team ever assembled is an honor that I am thrilled to partake in.
Having read many biographies on coaching legends over the last decade or so, my admiration runs deep for the men tasked with leading other men to greatness. This coaching staff is brought together with one common denominator in mind; they are leaders of men.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the rules this game will be played with.
Prior to the 1995 season, many rule changes have occurred that have made the game far less physical. We want to have the element of physical intimidation and enforcement in our arsenal, so every rule you see enacted since ’95 is eliminated. The defenseless player is all but gone. You can horse collar, bunch formations on kickoffs are back, chop blocks are here, and helmets can be used as weapons.
This may sound a bit barbaric and dangerous, but my team will be built to succeed in a purer version of the game than is being played now. Don’t assume this team will consist of only enforcers. There will be electric, spectacular, awe-inspiring talents with the toughness and smarts to survive a more physical game.
Head Coach: Bill Parcells
There are few things more respected by a group of men than knowing where you stand with your leader. The dry sense of humor intermingled with a realistic, no-frills style is exactly the sort of coach to keep the morale high and the structure in place with everything on the line.
Having recently read Parcells biography, Parcells: A Football Life, my appreciation for him has grown immensely. He grew up tough, has always had supreme confidence in himself, and has the edge needed to inspire and instill discipline. The most impressive aspect of Parcells is his ability to cater to various personalities and motivate each player differently. “The Big Tuna” is a domineering presence with the no excuses mentality and aura to motivate teams in the biggest moments.
Part of his legacy is his ability to facilitate drastic turnarounds in culture, winning quickly through his masterful use of leadership and discipline. To conjure a team as quickly as possible with the greatest chance of winning I couldn’t think of a better man to lead the charge.
We will be running the 3-4 base defense with the ability to move into an assortment of other looks with the defensive coordinator who will be running the show (Hint: someone very familiar with Parcells).
The offense will be a high-octane, west coast style of offense that favors speed, quickness, versatility, toughness, and smarts. This unit will also be run by a guy very familiar with Parcells.
Before I unveil my coordinators, let me leave you with some of Parcells’ best quotes that give you an idea of the type of leader he was and why I think he’s the perfect coach to defend the planet:
“There is winning and there is misery”
“You don’t get any medal for trying something, you get medals for results”
“I like linebackers. I collect ‘em. You can’t have too many good ones”
“If the players don’t trust the coach, it is a problem, and vice versa
You can see some of the attributes this team will be built on; trust, culture, discipline, hard work, and linebackers.
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Walsh
With his emphasis on perfect QB play, attention to detail, and passion for the game the offense will be in great hands.
Isn’t it ironic that the man (Parcells) who coined the moniker “West Coast Offense” will submit his offense to someone he battled, despised at times, and yet admired?
“The Genius” is a nickname Walsh detested yet was incredibly fitting. Having not invented but altered and perfected the “West Coast Offense” from his days as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator, Walsh has always been ahead of his time. With a burning desire for perfection and immense pressure put on himself, he had the recipe for success in any arena.
The simple, straightforward approach of Parcells will mesh brilliantly with Walsh’s more elaborate and inventive angle. Walsh can have his mad scientist offensive laboratory in his control, while Parcells can take on more of a tone-setting role. This also suits both personalities perfectly because Walsh tended to be much more emotional than Parcells. The Big Tuna will help simplify and objectify things to ensure order for the entire team and guide them through the pressure cooking situations they are sure to find themselves in during a game to save the world.
Parcells and Walsh had a bit of a feud during their days competing against one another, particularly in the 1985 and 1986 playoffs when Parcells accused Walsh of directing the phones lines be cut off (for both sides). While this claim isn’t far fetched (especially considering Walsh scripted plays before games), the mutual admiration for each other was still there, which was evident in Parcell’s statement to the media after Walsh’s death:
“He was one of our fiercest rivals, and we had some very memorable games in the ’80s. He was an innovative guy who brought his philosophy to the NFL, and he integrated the right people into it and allowed it to flourish. He is one of the very few people who really helped make the NFL what it is today, and his coaching tree is evidence of that.”
This team will need to be highly organized with even higher levels of demand enforced with minimal preparation time to save the human race. Walsh once said, “The absolute bottom line in coaching is organization and preparation for practice.” This respect and love for preparing will trickle down throughout the entire team, first beginning with the coaching staff.
Defensive Coordinator: Bill Belichick
Our defense will be the backbone of the team. When you think of a mastermind, particularly when it comes to game planning, you think of Belichick. Eliminating opponents’ strengths, exposing their weaknesses, and eliminating distractions are what separated Belichick from others for this lofty assignment.
Having served under Parcells for three different teams as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator, the chemistry is evident between the two. While things didn’t end on a high note in New England, we are picking these coaches and players in their primes. For Belichick, he displayed much of his genius early in his career, but wasn’t given the opportunity to fully unleash it as a head coach. He was a masterful coordinator under Parcells, excelling at philosophy and strategy as much as anything else.
With Belichick and Parcells’ affinity for the 3-4 defense, expect that unit to consist primarily of players who played in it, yet have the versatility to play in various other looks that Belichick has employed in more recent times. The end goal is to have the capability to adjust and out maneuver our alien opponents no matter the personnel they throw at us.
So far the three coaches leading this team have a nice mixture of communication, discipline, and leadership (Parcells) and smarts, innovation, and strategic brilliance (Walsh and Belichick) in a blend that should yield a victory. Throw in the familiarity and mutual admiration and you have perhaps the greatest coaching staff ever assembled to lead a group of all-stars in the battle of their lives–and ours.
Brandon Thorn is the NFL Draft Lead Writer at The Football Educator and a contributor at Draft Breakdown and CBS Sports. Thorn is also an Air Force veteran with 3 tours to his credit. He resides in Colorado Springs. Find the rest of the RSP Writers Project submissions here.