[size=13pt]Jim Souhan: The colorful history of coachspeak[/size]

Sadly, Brad Childress doesn't seem to have much in common with his predecessors when it comes to media quips.

Jim Souhan, Star Tribune
Last update: September 07, 2006 – 5:58 PM


Brad Childress appears to be a serious, intentionally-boring, buttoned-down football coach.
Which is too bad. Maybe facing the pressure and scrutiny of real games will draw out his personality.

We can only hope. I don't know the career records of any Vikings coaches, but I remember what they had to say and how they said it.

Here is the often profane, frequently profound oral history that Childress has inherited:

Norm Van Brocklin: After swinging at a writer from Dallas and suffering a bruised hand, he said he was victimized by an unprovoked attack from a post.

When a newspaper guy begged him to move training camp closer to the Twin Cities for publicity purposes, the Dutchman said: "What the hell do these 36 stiffs need with publicity? What we need is cover and concealment."

Asked how to stunt the trend of soccer-style kicking, he said, "Tighten the immigration laws."

Bud Grant: The great coach often offered wisdom:

• "A good coach needs a patient wife, a loyal dog and a good quarterback, but not in that order."

• "I have always felt that any time I'm hollering, I'm not thinking."

• "It's a game. A player has to like it. We expect to have a good time and run a happy ship."

Les Steckel: He took the football-as-war metaphor seriously, and lasted one year because of thoughts like: "You don't change your gameplan just because the enemy sneaks up on you in the middle of a river."

Jerry Burns: It was Burns who said, "It's easy to be humble when you're as ugly as I am."

He blamed the team's woes on the Metrodome security guard who tried to prevent him from entering the stadium to coach his first game: "If he would have pulled his gun and stopped me, everybody would have been spared all these problems."

More Burns:

• "Football's too much of a business to be a sport, and too much of a sport to be a business."

• "In life, we're all actors and we play a role, and you gotta do it. I hope I'm the same guy, but I don't have the same role I used to have in this little play that I have going."

• "We had a saying when we were kids: If you're so smart, how come you aren't rich? Now the whole thing's been turned around. The players are rich, so they think that means they're smart."

Dennis Green: Green became defined more by his grudging interviews than his considerable successes. Minutes after a game-losing play at Green Bay, he said, "That's yesterday's news."

In his first news conference after writing a book threatening to sue team owners, he insisted on talking only about the next opponent, reciting, "Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay."

After a tenure in which he regularly attacked his real and perceived critics, he insisted, "You can find me on the high road."

On his autobiography: "I like it. In fact, I love it. I really do. I've read it about four times, to be honest with you, and I wrote it."

Mike Tice: How many NFL coaches would lead cheers for a team that could help him in the playoff race, chanting: "E-A-G-L-E-S! Eagles!"

Speaking of his players before a big game: "I'm not Knute Rockne. They know they're the underdogs. Probably half their wives don't think they can win."

This, the week after the game in which Randy Moss left the field early: "If he stays on the field for 60 minutes, we've got a chance."

Self-explanatory: "I'm balding, but there isn't anything I can do about it. I'm not going to spray that spray on my divot."

Childress may warm up eventually, but I can't imagine him ever talking about spraying that spray on his divot.