Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
In case you missed it, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli has an excellent column today discussing whether assistant coaches belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There's been a run on head coaches and "contributors" to the game in recent years, but assistants have been all but ignored in the voting process.
It seems that the recent loss of Jim Johnson has reminded people across the league how important a role assistant coaches have played over the years. And as Pasquarelli explains, it seems like we've all gained a better appreciation for what assistants are able to accomplish on a week-to-week basis. Rick "Goose" Gosselin, a member of the Hall's Board of Selectors, has been writing about this issue lately. Here's what he told Pasquarelli.
"People keep talking about it, but I really don't think it's going to fly," Gosselin said. "Many of those assistants were players or [head] coaches at one time, and experienced some failure while they were in those positions."In my opinion, just because an assistant experiences failure for a year or two as a head coach shouldn't eliminate them from consideration for the Hall. Take Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, for instance. Yes, he had a forgettable run as head coach with the Bengals, but his remarkable run with the Steelers -- and his playing career with the Lions -- should override those lean years. Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel is another name that came up. He had a regrettable run as a head coach, but his credentials as an offensive line coach are impeccable.
Former Eagles special teams coach Frank Gansz, who got his start in the league with the Chiefs, was an incredible innovator. He spent 24 seasons in the league, changing the way many head coaches approached special teams.
Here's hoping the voters find a way to honor some of the league's top assistants in the future. Johnson deserves to be in the Hall.