Are you ready for some football?
The 2010 NFL season gets underway on Sunday with the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Speaking of which, if you’ve never been to Canton, I strongly suggest you make the trip at least once. I’ve been to both the football and baseball shrines and while Cooperstown has a bit more historical value, walking amongst the busts honoring NFL legends is an absolutely incredible experience. Plus, it’s like the Hall of Steelers because everywhere you turn, you’re staring at someone who wore the Black and Gold.
Speaking of which, one of the most beloved Steelers of all time is being inducted during Saturday evening’s Hall of Fame ceremonies. So make sure you’re home tomorrow night (or set your Tivo) and tune into ESPN starting at 7:00 P.M. (ET) to witness the induction of our fabled defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Yeah, I know Dick never actually played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played fourteen years for the Detroit Lions, recording 62 interceptions for 762 yards and three touchdowns. That ties him for seventh all-time in NFL history, although he was fourth when he retired. Considering teams threw the ball a lot less in the 60s, who knows how many he would’ve gotten in today’s pass happy league. The Veteran’s Committee gets no argument from me for choosing him based solely on his playing career.
But as any member of Steeler Nation will tell you, LeBeau could just as easily be inducted based on his coaching resume. Pittsburgh loves defense and nobody has done more to strike terror into the hearts of quarterbacks than Dick LeBeau. He’s the father of the zone blitz, possibly the most innovative and widely copied defensive scheme in NFL history. His defensive units have been dominant everywhere he’s coached. The only reason he hasn’t been honored earlier is the Hall of Fame Committee is comprised of idiots who have some lame bias against coordinators.
In fact, you may be wondering why the HOF Game is between the Cowboys and Bengals. Well, Emmitt Smith is one of the featured inductees (Conflagellations, Emmitt!) so that explains Dallas being there. Jerry Rice is the other major name so you’d assume the 49ers would be the opponent but I guess the NFL decided San Francisco has appeared too often (just like the Steelers). So they gave the Bengals the other slot because LeBeau’s one and only head coaching opportunity was with Cincinnati back in 2000.
He was fired in 2002.
I’m sure he’d rather have the Steelers represent his name than the buffoons who canned him. However, since Cincy is too inept to find any players talented enough to actually get inducted on their own merits they get thrown a bone out of pity. At least Mike Tomlin has decided to cancel Saturday’s practice so the entire team can be there when their beloved leader receives his long overdue honor.
Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
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