Do Dan Reeves and George Seifert deserve busts in Canton?


Head Coach George Seifert and QB Steve Young @ New York Jets, 10/29/89. 49ers won 23-10. Photo by Bill Fox.
Head Coach George Seifert and QB Joe Montana vs. L.A. Rams in Tokyo for the American Bowl, preseason, 8/6/89.
Head Coach George Seifert and QB Joe Montana vs. L.A. Rams in Tokyo for the American Bowl, preseason, 8/6/89.
(Photos courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Talk of Fame Network

This week our Hall of Fame guys, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, sit down to talk with two former head coaches with Hall-of-Fame resumes but as yet no place for themselves in Canton: Two-time Super Bowl winner George Seifert and Dan Reeves, who is one of only two men to reach the Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

No one has been involved in more Super Bowls than Reeves, having made the NFL’s biggest game nine times. Reeves twice made it as a halfback with the Dallas Cowboys and three times as a Cowboys’ assistant coach as well as leading the Denver Broncos there three times as head coach and the Atlanta Falcons once.

That means that roughly 25 per cent of the time Dan Reeves was in the NFL, he finished his season in the Super Bowl.

When he retired in 2003, Reeves’s 190 regular-season coaching wins ranked eighth highest in NFL history, so you’d think they’d have made room for him in Canton by now. Once again this year Reeves is a preliminary candidate, but one seemingly overshadowed by an 0-4 Super Bowl record as a head coach.

Of the 10 winningest coaches eligible for the Hall of Fame, only three – Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer and Chuck Knox – have been denied admittance. None won a Super Bowl. The others did. Is there too much importance placed on that one game when it comes to Hall of Fame credentials?

“I really do think that’s true,’’ Reeves said. “Coach (Tom) Landry was an outstanding coach long before he won a Super Bowl. It’s so difficult to get there.’’

If Super Bowl success is the crowning moment for a coach then what do we make of Seifert, who twice led the 49ers to Super Bowl championships after taking over for Bill Walsh yet who remains a Hall-of-Fame afterthought? While Seifert lacks the regular season success of Reeves, he has as many Super Bowl titles as legends like Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcells. Yet his name has never been remotely considered for the Hall of Fame.

Seifert agreed with Reeves that there was too much emphasis on the importance of that one game and, coincidentally, mentioned as one of his personal coaching favorites a man Reeves also cited as worthy of the Hall: Passing guru Don Coryell.

“Obviously, it (Super Bowl wins) has an impact, but there’s other contributions coaches make,’’ Seifert said. “Don Coryell’s innovative passing game certainly influenced pro football. All of that is part of a resume.’’

Time will tell if either ever makes it to Canton, but one thing is clear: Both of them were winners.

So, too, is this week’s debate over the surprising trade of Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers for next to nothing as part of an apparent fire sale in Chicago. Do his 134 career sacks, ninth all-time, make him a viable Hall-of-Fame candidate going forward? You may be surprised to learn the guys aren’t so sure.

The three of them also get into it over whether this year’s edition of the Cincinnati Bengals is for real and which teams, if any, can survive long-term doses of backup quarterbacks seeing full-time action.

On that score, Rick Gosselin, our resident “Dr. Data,” crunched the numbers and concluded that the Steelers, Cowboys, Saints and Bears will struggle if they have to rely for extended periods on backup quarterbacks. Reason: Since 2000, such backups won only 44 percent of their starts. That trend didn’t improve last weekend, Rick pointed out, with the three backup starters going a collective 0-3 with a combined ZERO touchdown passes, and it didn’t change Thursday night when Michael Vick and the Steelers came up a losers to the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.

Time will tell if “Dr. Data’s” numbers hold up, but, as always, he has history on his side.

Rick also makes the Hall-of-Fame case for a forgotten Green Bay Packer, and we don’t mean Jerry Kramer. According to Rick, Bobby Dillon, a defensive back in the 1950s who forced 55 takeaways in only 94 games before retiring in 1960 at 29, was a victim of having toiled in the losing years before Vince Lombardi arrived in Green Bay. His case is a compelling one.

So too is Borges’ “Borges or Bogus” argument that the NFL’s decision to partner with fantasy football sites Fan Dual and Draft Kings may be a decision the league comes to regret. As he points out, any association with gambling was the great fear of NFL commissioners like Bert Bell and Pete Rozelle. But Roger Goodell, the league’s 32 owners and the NFL Players Association have seemingly embraced it while insisting the multi-million dollar Fantasy Football industry is not gambling.

Tell that to the thousands of weekly losers.

Ron forcefully warns that the day some player is accused of shaving fantasy points to do the bidding of a multi-million-dollar gambler will be a harsh reality check that will be no fantasy for the NFL.

That and more, including the two-minute drill and a heated debate over which coaches are already on the hot seat, is available now on over 80 radio stations around the country, as a podcast on iTunes and the TuneIn Radio app or at talkoffamenetwork.com.

Listen now!

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