Thursday, December 15, 2005
You're never too old
By Mike Puma Special to ESPN.com
Dick Vermeil and Kurt Warner shared in the glory of the Rams' Super Bowl XXIV victory.
Signature Game January 30, 2000 -
At 63, Dick Vermeil became the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl when the St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Vermeil expected overtime as Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw to Kevin Dyson on the game's final play. But Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson at the one-yard line to seal the victory. "When the ball went in the air, I was going to get on the phone," Vermeil said, explaining that he intended to call offensive coordinator Mike Martz to begin plotting overtime strategy.
Known for displaying his emotions, Vermeil was calm as Jones made the tackle. "I've been in the other locker room," Vermeil said. "I've been in the Super Bowl and lost, so I know how it feels. And believe me, this feeling is much better."
Odds 'n' Ends
Vermeil and his wife Carol met in high school and married when they were 19. They have three children and 11 grandchildren.
Vermeil's early dream was to drive in the Indy 500.
In the 1950s, Vermeil's father sold him a 1936 Ford for $15 and left him to restore it. Vermeil still has the car.
Vermeil's great-grandfather, Garibaldi Iaccheri, was a winemaking pioneer in the Napa Valley. Vermeil has upheld the family wine making tradition. His first release was a 1999 Jean Louis Vermeil Cabernet Sauvignon.
As a senior, Vermeil's Calistoga High School team was undefeated before losing its last game, 12-0 to unbeaten St. Helena.
Vermeil made $8,500 his first season as an assistant coach at Stanford.
At Stanford, Vermeil was an assistant coach with Bill Walsh, Rod Rust, Mike White and Jim Mora, all of whom became NFL head coaches.
Upon landing the UCLA head coaching job, Vermeil interviewed potential assistant coaches between midnight and 3 a.m., after he had finished his day as a Los Angeles Rams assistant coach.
Vermeil's brother Al was a strength and conditioning coach for the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bulls.
Vermeil and Steve DeBerg were the first athletes inducted into San Jose State's Hall of Fame.
After becoming Eagles coach, Vermeil bought a 180-acre ranch near Philadelphia.
Vermeil was persuaded by his wife and Eagles general manager Jim Murray to see a psychiatrist in the late 1970s.
Vermeil once had to be tackled to prevent him from going into the stands after a heckler at Veterans Stadium.
When he quit the Eagles after the 1982 season, Vermeil had three years and $600,000 remaining on his contract.
Vermeil left Philadelphia as the second-winningest coach in franchise history, with a 54-47 record.
When former Eagles owner Leonard Tose fell into hard times because of gambling, Vermeil paid for him to stay at Philadelphia's Warwick Hotel.
From 1989-96, Vermeil did color commentary on the Chiefs' preseason telecasts.
In the 1990s, Vermeil teamed with Brent Musburger on ABC's college football telecasts.
The Rams tried to lure Vermeil from the broadcast booth in 1992 and 1995. After he turned them down, the team hired Chuck Knox and Rich Brooks, respectively.
In 1999, Vermeil's coaching staff was the oldest in the NFL.
To obtain Vermeil as its head coach in 2001, Kansas City had to surrender two draft choices and $500,000 to the Rams, who still held Vermeil under contract.
In 2003, he became the 27th NFL coach to reach 100 victories.
On Nov. 6, 2005, Vermeil showed his fearless side, deciding against a game-tying field goal and electing to run a play from the one-yard line with five seconds left. Larry Johnson scored the touchdown to give the Chiefs a 27-23 victory over the Raiders.