Sunday, November 27, 2005


Walt Michaels, we hardly knew ye.


If that happens, I ought to be fired as Official Predictor of The First Coach to be Fired. During Week 7, I predicted these coaches would most likely lose their job before the season was over: Tice, Sherman, Capers, Billick , and Parcells. Did I expect Moochie to get the ax before any of them? No.

Whether the Lions decide to fire Mariucci in the next few days, I'm still sticking to my prediction that Parcells will quit even if Dallas makes hay in the playoffs. Who knows, hell, he may coach the Lions next year. Team-hopping is his M.O.

I'm going to hate this, but I may be turning into a Tony Kornheiser clone. Like Tony, my predictions never bear fruit.


Remember two years ago when Mariucci was trumpeted as the savior of the Lions franchise, after going 5-27 in two seasons under Marty Morningbreakfastweg?

If you think about Mornhinweg a little more, I believe (after a cursory look at NFL records) that no NFL coach with an unintelligible name has taken his team to the playoffs. I'm not sure why this doesn't apply to NCAA basketball, most particularly at Duke.

Maybe that's why Walt Michaels was able to take the Jets to one game of the Super Bowl back in 1982. He was born Wladek Mijkai.


Seriously, it was a shame that Walt Michaels departed after the 1982 season under pressure from Jets management, particularly after a deflating loss to the Miami Dolphins in the mud at the Orange Bowl. I honestly think that if Walt Michaels stayed on, Richard Todd, Wesley Walker, and Freeman McNeil would've become the most feared triplets of the 1980's, and won at least a couple Super Bowls.

Michaels' successor, Joe Walton, signed his own death warrant with his first major coaching decision: drafting Ken O'Brien two spots ahead of the Miami Dolphins, who took Dan Marino. That decision didn't do much for Richard Todd's psyche, either.

I kinda liked Walt Michaels. He was in-your-face. He inspired his team in a way his four successors, including Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll, and Rich Kotite, never did. He left the Jets one year before the team ditched Shea Stadium and went across the river to share space with the Giants, where they promptly lost their local identity.

The Jets identify with Queens, Kings, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The Giants can take Manhattan and the Bronx. When the Jets were at Shea, they used to represent the tough, in-your-nose, in-the-grass spirit of Long Island, with Joe Namath, Weeb Ewbank, Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. Is it any wonder the New York Sack Exchange crashed, so to speak, when the Jets moved to New Jersey? The stock hasn't recovered from its 1982 highs. John Abraham and Dewayne Washington, anyone?

Even the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, who went 25-11 under, yes, Walt Michaels, had a clearer identity.

Honestly, I was delighted when New York City's proposal to move the Jets to a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan was shot down. I really thought that if they were going to build a West Side stadium, that should belong to the Giants. The Jets just don't represent Manhattan. Once the New Jersey Nets' stadium in Brooklyn is completed, I say let the Jets follow. Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn will only be too happy to embrace their team. Every time I think of the Jets in New Jersey, I get a headache. Really.

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