Posted: Thursday June 29, 2006 3:00PM; Updated: Thursday June 29, 2006 4:06PM
Bill Parcells has many disciples in head coaching positions around the NFL.
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The practitioners of the West Coast offense were once dominant in the NFL. Not too long ago it seemed like anyone who had ever assisted someone who had assisted West Coast mastermind Bill Walsh -- or even cleaned the pool of someone who assisted him -- was coaching gold and primed for his own NFL head spot.
But looking to the 2006 NFL season, it's clear there's another coaching tree that's standing a little taller.
There are plenty of successful West Coasters out there, still working the old magic. One of them was in the Super Bowl last season, another in the AFC conference championship.
But in 2006, the West Coasters are being overtaken by what we'll call the West Pointers. The name "West Pointers" is given in honor of the man who stands at the top of the tree, Bill Parcells. He coached at Army for four years and has carried a military bearing with him. Parcells' leading sideline progeny, his former defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, also has a certain martial quality -- not surprising, considering that Belichick's father, Steve, coached for 33 years at the Naval Academy.
In the 2006 NFL, the West Pointers will narrowly outnumber the West Coasters. Granted, some of the "limbs" of the West Point coaching tree are stronger than others, the weakest connection being new Rams coach Scott Linehan, who makes the West Point list on the basis of one year assisting Nick Saban, who assisted Belichick in Cleveland in the early '90s. But on the whole the groups cohere pretty tightly. Here are the rosters:
1. Mike Holmgren (Seattle) 2. Mike Shanahan (Denver) 3. Jon Gruden (Tampa Bay) 4. Andy Reid (Philadelphia) 5. Jim Mora (Atlanta) 6. Brad Childress (Minnesota) 7. Gary Kubiak (Houston)
1. Parcells (Dallas) 2. Belichick (New England) 3. Tom Coughlin (New York Giants) 4. Saban (Miami) 5. Romeo Crennel (Cleveland) 6. Eric Mangini (New York Jets) 7. Sean Payton (New Orleans) 8. Linehan (St. Louis)