As we mentioned a few days ago, the folks from ESPN.com are compiling their list of the top 20 coaches in the history of the National Football League. While I thought they might just skip over Minnesota Vikings' legend Bud Grant all together, the four-letter has placed him on the list after all.
Grant came in on the list at number 15, ahead of Tony Dungy, Mike Shanahan, Sid Gillman, Marv Levy, and Hank Stram. The article all but says that he would have been higher on the list had he gotten a Super Bowl victory, but it spent a great deal of time acknowledging his playing career and the time he spent in the Canadian Football League as well.
There's also a bit of commentary from a former player of his, safety Paul Krause. Krause was very complimentary of his former coach, as you would expect in an article like this.
Bud Grant knew how to pick people. A lot of teams will just gather players, and they wind up with some who don't fit what the coach wants. Bud knew what kind of player he wanted at all times. And there wasn't any confusion. He told you how it was, what you were going to do and how he wanted you to perform. If you couldn't handle that, you were gone.
When I first came to Minnesota from the Redskins [in 1968], he didn't talk to me for the first couple days I was there. That's because he knew what I could and couldn't do, which was good enough for him. That's the thing about Bud. He could tolerate a player missing a tackle or making some other kind of physical mistake. But he hated mental mistakes.
In fact, he would rather play a guy with lesser talent who would do what he was supposed to do than somebody who would screw up.
We've talked about Bud Grant a lot over the past few days. . .and yes, that is the only picture of Bud we have access to. . .but it's well-deserved. Congratulations to Bud Grant for being recognized as one of the greatest coaches the National Football League has ever known.
Grant will also be recognized by ESPN television, as a special honoring coaches #11 to #15 will be aired on Wednesday, June 5 at 6 PM Central time on ESPN.