Advertisement

Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Capital's club is getting perfect representative

Up there in Washington, where the visionaries live, they think they're a little smarter than the rest of us.

Up there in Washington, where the blood is blue, they think they're a little better. There is a growing arrogance at work, the same regal air of a castle baron as he looks at the rest of us beyond the moat. They are the leaders, after all. If not for them, the rest of us would bump into each other in our aimless wanderings.

Up there in Washington, where the privileged play, they think of themselves as a bit more sophisticated. A little smoother. A little superior. The ideas seem a little clearer there, the goals a bit more high-minded.

We, on the other hand, have our own thoughts about them. Usually, it has something to do with Ted Kennedy's pants.

It is an amusing little situation, this mutual disdain by country and capital. More and more, Washington seems a million miles away from the rest of America. By and large, we don't think much of Washington because we are convinced Washington doesn't think much of us.

Please keep this in mind as you weigh the following the question:

Has a football coach ever been a better fit for a city than Steve Spurrier is for Washington?

He is cocky. He is arrogant. He is full of himself. This is well established. It is also well established that Spurrier doesn't consider any of it to be a character defect. Heck, if he had it to do over again, Spurrier probably would include such descriptions in his wedding vows.

He is smug. He is egotistical. He is conceited. Two more adjectives, and a large pay cut, and he could be a congressman.

Don't you love him?

Don't you hate him?

Are you amused by him?

Are you enraged?

Wouldn't you love to see him win?

Wouldn't you love to see him lose?

This is the beauty of Coach Superior, who took his ballclub to the field Monday to open training camp. He makes you feel something. He makes you elbow your friend and say, "Get a load of Stevie." Or, he makes you say, "Don't you wish a load of something heavy would fall on Stevie?"

He's great, or he grates. With Spurrier, the middle ground is the size of a neutron.

That's why it's going to be fabulous to have Spurrier in the NFL. It doesn't matter if he has great success or great failure. Either way, it's going to please a great many people. Climb the mountain or fall off. Either way, it's going to be a hoot.

Look around. Unless you're a Cowboys fan, do you care how Dave Campo does this year? Do you even know who Dave Campo is? Do you care about Dom Capers or Tom Coughlin or Dick LeBeau?

But you can't help but have an opinion about Spurrier, and the way he has swaggered into the NFL as if it were a cheap saloon in Dodge City. You get the feeling Spurrier isn't exactly impressed by the other gunslingers in the room. Hey, maybe they're the ones who should be impressed.

Spurrier is one of those men who perpetually wears a look that suggests he knows something no one else does. There is the way the past 4,819 coaches have approached their jobs, and there is his way. He likes his way better. It's as if he's thinking, "If these are the great minds of the NFL, wait till they get a look at me."

Let's see. Mr. Spurrier has gone to Washington on a platform of shorter workdays, bigger leads, better play-calling and peaceful coexistence with the other side of the ball. Wow. Good thing no one else thought of those things, huh?

For instance, the rest of the NFL coaches work too hard. In particular, he gigged the Saints' Jim Haslett on that one, but it applies to others, including the Bucs' Jon Gruden. "Sometimes you can stay in your office too long," Spurrier said.

For instance, the rest of the NFL has the wrong approach. He zinged former Bucs coach Tony Dungy with that one. "I was talking with a guy who was with the Bucs," Spurrier said. "He was telling me that Tony Dungy said, "If it's a big game, let's make sure it's close in the fourth quarter.' Well, I always like to have about a four-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. It's just a difference in philosophy."

For instance, the rest of the NFL head coaches mistakenly get involved in both sides of the ball. "The defense is Marvin's (Lewis') team," Spurrier said.

These are the things that make Spurrier's fans giddy, and the things that drive other coaches crazy. He'll make winning more fun: for the Redskins, and for the other side, too.

So, is this league too good for Spurrier? Or is it good enough? We'll see.

(The easy thing to suggest is that the NFL doesn't have any Vanderbilts. That's not true. It has the Bengals. The Bengals are the team Vanderbilt plays for homecoming. The problem is simply they're in the other conference.)

Look, the guy knows his way to the end zone. Spurrier is a student of offenses, and not just his own. If what he's running doesn't work, he'll change. The question is whether he can do it with players the rest of the league has thrown away.

Spurrier is the kind of coach who needed two things to be a success. He needed a great defensive coordinator, which he got in Lewis. And he needed a great front office, which he didn't get with Dan Snyder.

That said, the nature of the NFL is to make everyone equal. Philosophy or not, Spurrier will be involved in more close games in the fourth quarter than he ever has been. Some 10 games a week are decided by three points or fewer. (For the record, Spurrier's Florida teams were 4-8-1 in games decided by three points or fewer.)

Bottom line: How will Spurrier do?

Answer: Good enough to make his fans smile. Bad enough to make other fans laugh.

In other words, it's going to be fun for the whole family.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement