Yes, if you know Elgar, this is the Eyes Glaze Over title for an article about why Elgar was excited about the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 and still is.
You see, loose keyboards sink ships, but less so when the source is perceived as totally crazy. It works for Mafia Dons, so why not in football blogs?
If you actually read all the stuff on Daily Norseman, you knew long before this that Bill Musgrave is a Erhardt-Perkins kind of guy from the exclusive interview he did with this site. The Erhardt involved in this saga is not a Minnesota legislator, and since it’s not politics, we can talk about him. This late Mr. Erhardt won Super Bowls as Offensive Coordinator for the Giants for Bill Parcells. Not coincidentally, another favorite Parcells guy of mine is an Erhardt-Perkins school coach named Bill Belichick. Ever heard of him? Life is about being in the right place at the right time and staying awake. I was born in Cleveland, and lived in New England, Atlanta, and the Twin Cities.
EGO is in this context not something duking it out in Freud’s mind with ID, it’s the marketing acronym for Eyes Glaze Over, the thing you don’t want your prospective customer to undergo. Jargon has a function beyond looking cool with buzz words; it allows those in the know to communicate faster.
Why is that point relevant?
Well, if you read the Musgrave interview, you knew he was going to change the language for calling plays from the West Coast lingo to Erhardt speak.
Why did this excite Elgar? Is it because he is nuts and wants the Vikings’ uniforms to have numbers expressed in runes? No, it’s because he knew Belichick speaks Erhardt and has been doing interesting stuff with tight ends because the coach realized he could not answer his own question on how he could defend against certain two tight end stuff.
Erhardt-Perkins is the third basic school of NFL football. There is the Don Coryell school, where pass plays come in three digit numbers off a route tree, plus backfield routes. There is the West Coast lingo, which is much more complicated method for describing plays. Erhardt is simpler, with coded concept words used to set up similar plays quickly out of any formation. (When you hear the word “simpler” think “no huddle” quicker. Hey, the QB here in the 21st century has radio equipment in his hat. I love Paul Brown, but why are we always having all these team meetings to call plays, other than to run off some clock time?) You need one style where you score quickly and another where you drain the timepiece. It’s called situational football.
Are we there yet, Elgar? No, but we’re making progress.
You see, if you’ve ever coached any sport, you know something my maternal grandmother knew, and she hated football. It’s like the Queen of Hearts said, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place. The other teams are practicing and drafting and improving too. To gain against them requires you run like hell with reckless abandon. As an astrologist would tell you, the Vikings’ stars are coming into alignment. This year’s draft is deep, and there is gold available in the low 20’s. We don’t know for sure what happens until the drafting starts, but Mr. Spielman has enough ammo to bag a bounty in the areas the team needs.
Elgar was not surprised at last season’s success, but a lot went wrong. The good news is mistakes teach us more than success does.
It takes experience to learn, and not just good experience. Look at some of the other names in the Bill Musgrave story, in Atlanta alone: Michael Vick, Bobby Petrino, and then Matt Ryan. Think that was educational?
Sure, I hear the critics. Bill Musgrave has failed as an OC the first time under George Seifert with the Panthers. He didn’t make it the second time with the Jaguars either. My Grandma, however, always said the third time’s a charm. And if it quarks like a duck… Offensive football, among other things, is about making the defense do something to try to stop you, reading poison they have chosen, and then cramming the killing cure down their throat instead.
Practice makes perfect.
It’s not that football gets modern. Woody Hayes is still right in that three things happen when you pass and two of them are bad. It’s just that receivers and passers today have learned from history what not to do. Some things remain true. We still cannot see with the backs of our heads, and it is illegal to wear mirrors on your helmet.
We just have to ask the right questions, assemble the right talent, and train the team how to read and execute plays. Options? Counters? Yeah, football is about playing heads I win, tails, you lose. There questions are like: what happens when the tight end can outrun your linebacker and has eight inches and ninety pounds your cornerback does not? What if he’s outside the numbers, not inside those hash marks? “Do you feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?” Do you think Parcells, Seifert, or Shannahan could teach you anything about football? We’ll find out. Musgrave also worked under Mike Mullarkey in Atlanta, who coached from the Steelers’ tree. This kind of stuff rubs off on you. (Yes, the same Mike Mullarkey who played tight end for the Vikings in the 1980’s. Funny how what goes around comes around, eh?)
Is it to be a finely aged and balanced wedding of three trees of coaching ideas, or not?
“Hey, I gots to know…”
In conclusion, Coach Musgrave has a list of 100 rules for playing quarterback.
Never tempt Dirty Harry to pull the trigger.