JUST AS his parents predicted, Vermeil's retirement didn't stick. Starting in 1983, he worked as an NFL and college football analyst for CBS and then ABC. But he never stopped longing for the sideline. When the Eagles fired Rich Kotite in 1994, Vermeil hoped for a Philly homecoming, but Eagles management failed to meet his contractual terms and hired Packers assistant Ray Rhodes instead.
Three years later Vermeil was hired to coach the Rams. He struggled initially, going 9-23 his first two seasons. The situation looked bleaker in August 1999, when quarterback Trent Green suffered a season-ending knee injury. Vermeil responded by installing former Arena Football League passer Kurt Warner as QB, and St. Louis finished the season 13-3 and went on to a 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. It marked the first Super Bowl victory for the Rams and for Vermeil. The turnaround job earned Vermeil his second Coach of the Year award. Following the victory, Vermeil retired again and vowed to spend more time with his grandchildren. But again it didn't stick, and he was back at the helm of a team—this time the Chiefs—by the start of the 2001 season. In five years in Kansas City he compiled a 44-36 record, failed to win a postseason game and left football a third time, in '06.
During Vermeil's last Chiefs training camp, actor Greg Kinnear spent a few days with the coach in preparation for playing the famously emotional Vermeil in the movie Invincible. The coach still keeps in touch with Vince Papale, the out-of-work teacher, part-time bartender and Eagles folk hero on whom the movie was based.
When he's not tending to his Napa Valley vineyard, Vermeil and his wife, Carol (above), spend time living and working on "The Ranch," a 114-acre homestead in rural Chester County, Pa.