Bill Walsh questions? Super Bowl questions? Life questions? Bring 'em.
Seth, maybe the best and most touching piece of yours that I have read. Congratulations
Thank you very much.
SanFrancisco ranked 4th in passing yards and 4th in rushing yards, all while playing great passing offenses like Atlanta, GreenBay 2x, Detroit, New Orleans, New England and a improving Seattle team. The 49ers beat every team I just listed. Why wouldn't I pick SF to win this game just based off that list?
Because the Ravens are really good, and maybe picking a quarterback whose 10th start is the Super Bowl isn't a good idea? But who knows. I just returned from the Senior Bowl, and I asked every GM/scout/coach/exec for their opinion on the game. It was about 50/50 split. I can't wait for kickoff.
What do you think the Falcons major problems were in the NFC Championship game?
Defense, catching shotgun snaps.
Given that Billick was so close to Walsh, coupled with Billick having one superbowl ring under his belt and leading the Viking's offense to historic numbers, why do you think he has not garnered MORE interest for a coaching vacancy?
Walsh was close to a lot of guys. At this point, it's hard to see a team hiring Billick simply because he's been out for a few years now, and owners like to hire fresh faces. He might have had a bad record his final year in Baltimore, but he didn't leave the cupboard bare.
How is my book?
Couldn't finish it.
do you own a copy of Bill Walsh' book yourself?
Yes, I do. I bought it on Amazon, and when it arrived I opened to see that it was autographed. It reads: "John--Enjoyed seeing you at the Swallows. Bill Walsh." John, that's just cold.
Will I ever be able to buy Walsh's book?
Yes, as long as you can find about $100.
Why couldn't you finish it?
It's a brutal read. Belichick once called it "literature," but it's not literary at all. It's a textbook, really--550 pages. I can see why it's catnip for coaches, but there is A LOT to digest in it.
Will we get back to the super bowl any time soon?
Not until the Packers find defenders that can stay with five yards of Kaepernick.
The article really brings to life the torment of the perfectionist and the stresses on the family of these geniuses. Which coaches do you think walk this fine line today?
Great question. All of them do, to an extent. They're all high strung, and all they see is areas to improve upon, not places that they've already succeeded. That mentality--of constantly building upon success--is normal for competitive fields and isn't necessarily unhealthy. But many are extremists. Bill Walsh was an extremist. That's what made him great, and what made nothing good enough for him--not winning, not his legacy, not his legacy book.
Given the high demand for the book, why wouldn't they print more copies?
A couple of reasons. Walsh sued for rights, which he won in a settlement. So his family owns the book right now. But more importantly, Walsh didn't like the book. When I visited his son, Craig, in the Bay Area, Craig couldn't believe that I was writing about Finding the Winning Edge because its successor, The Score Takes Care of Itself, is so much easier to digest. Like football, Walsh was unhappy with the final product and wanted a new book. He died while writing that one, and his son finished it. The Score Takes Care of Itself is much easier to read than Finding the Winning Edge, but doesn't have the cultlike following because it's not as deep on football.
What has been your favorite event to cover as a writer? as a spectator?
A few NCAA tournament games, the Missouri-Nebraska kick game in the late 90s, the first Pats-Giants Super Bowl. I saw Jordan as a Wizard hit the game-winner against the Knicks at MSG. That was cool, as was getting lost in the arena after the game, waiting for an elevator to take me to the lower level, and when it opened, Jordan was inside, with Jeter and Ahmad Rashad. I entered. What else was I to do?
Do you feel like the fact that one of the greatest defensive players ever playing his last game is getting over shodowed by the Harbaugh brothers headlines?
Uh, no--unless Ed Reed is secretly retiring.
Do you have a particular play in Super Bowl history that stands out in your mind as the best ever?
Just my opinion: 1) Tyree's catch 2) Elway's dive 3) Swann's catch 4) Vinatieri's kick vs Rams 5) Mike Jones tackle 6) Eli's pass to Manningham. I'm sure I missed about 100 others.
Trading Revis - makes sense or doesnt make sense for a team with no offense to trade arguably the best defender in the league?
I doubt Revis will be traded, period.
Do you Think Bruce Arians Sticks With Kolb Or does he get a new Qb?
He's gotta look elsewhere.
what stories are you looking forward to at the Super Bowl?
The one that finally explains these "Harbaugh brothers."
what are your thoughts on Denard Robinson? When do you think he will be drafted?
Yes, he will. He'll line up everywhere, except punt and kick return. Those skills you don't acquire in the NFL. You've either been fielding punts your whole life or not. (For the record: I have not been fielding punts my whole life.)
A quick side note: Years ago, I interviewed Bill Walsh for an ESPN The Magazine story about the passing game. During the interview, he pulled out a yellow legal pad--he always uses yellow legal pads--and drew some plays for me. This is like Springsteen teaching you how to play Rosalita. Anyway, I put the paper away in a file, moved twice, and last year, while going through a box, I found it, folded up. It's now framed, hanging in my office.
What are your thoughts of Mike McCoy and the Chargers? Good move? Curious to hear your answer given your thoughts last year of Crennel and Mularky in the offseason
I think he's a good hire because of his background, and because of the credibility he brings in not only working with Peyton Manning but calling the plays that hosed the Chargers in the second half on MNF. But the Chargers need talent, and they need Rivers to somehow delete the past two years from his memory. Tall order.
Can you settle an argument: A friend of mine, who also happens to be a die hard Ravens fan, insists Joe Flacco is one of the top QB's in the league. I know he's had a good playoff run, but a very average 4 1/2-5 years prior to the past month. At this point, where would you rank Flacco?/
Right now, in no particular order, it's Brady, Rodgers, Brees, and Peyton. They are the best. After that, it's a mix of Big Ben, Eli, Matt Ryan, and Flacco. Where does Flacco rank? Not sure. But he is one of the top in the league.
What is the best game plan to beat the ravens ? Do I need to run alot ?
Yes, because I think the 49ers offense is faster than the Ravens defense.
Do you think only playing in 10 games could be an advantage for Kaepernick? Or, do you think his NFL game inexperience is a disadvantage?
I think jitters tend to show up in the passing game, not the running game. Running the ball is jitter-proof, and because Kaepernick can run, I'm not worried about nerves.
welcome back! is this a one-off chat deal or are you now in the rotation?
Who knows? I hope regularly. It's been a while, probably since my blog days.
A few more, than I'm chatted out.
My last question, I promise - kind of brings the first two full circle. My buddy, the Ravens fan, says the Jets would trade Revis for Flacco straight-up in a heartbeat. What do you think? Thanks!
I think your friend needs to watch more football.
what do you think about a possible Jamarcus Russell return? Why wouldn't a team try him out for a low cost. If it works, you've got a good redemption story, maybe/
If he's in the NFL next year, that isn't a good redemption story. That is an all-time redemption story--or a fiction story, more likely.
Hey Seth, What's your take on how the whole Alex Smith/Kaepernick thing went down? I'm a Niners fan and of course want them to field the best team possible, but benching a quality QB after a concussion seemed wrong to me.
The timing wasn't ideal. But go back and read my Russell Wilson story from a month ago. Here's the thing: You can't win a Super Bowl anymore unless you have a top-8 QB. The days of the game-manager are over. Alex Smith isn't a top-8 guy; he never scared defenses like Kaepernick does. So Harbaugh made the move to see what kind of player Kaepernick was. It was a ruthless, shrewd, wise move.
Prediction of winner and score of the big game ?
Still thinking. Leaning Niners. We'll see.
Thanks for all of your questions. Thanks for reading my Walsh story and my previous work. Thanks for coming to ESPN.com. Until next time ...