Yes, that headline is a real headline. And yes, someone who writes for a living took the time to constrct an argument that Mike McCarthy is a better coach than the man that the NFL decided to name its championship trophy after. And finally, yes, that someone doesn’t even write for a publication in Wisconsin. He writes for one in Minnesota.
I know, I know.
Now personally, I’m not going to attack the man’s line of thinking (I’ll let you do that) because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But what I will do is question why would someone who is paid to write about the Minnesota Vikings take the time to pen a love letter to the coach of a bitter rival?
At any rate, let’s let the man explain to us why Mike McCarthy is a better coach than Vince Lombardi.
Lombardi dominated 14- and 16-team leagues. To win his first four NFL titles, he had to win either one or two postseason games. Today, becoming the best of 16 teams and winning one or two postseason games would get you to the conference title game, a level reached by such legends as Jim Mora, Denny Green, Brad Childress and Steve Mariucci.
Lombardi took advantage of a league that viewed the forward pass as an occasionally necessary evil. The Packers who won the 1961 NFL title ranked ninth in the 14-team league with 168 passing yards per game.
If a McCarthy-coached team ever averaged 168 yards passing, he’d be Macalester’s offensive coordinator the following year.
In today’s NFL, the quarterback is the fulcrum of an elaborate and intricate mechanism featuring dozens of formations and hundreds of plays. In Lombardi’s NFL, the quarterback was a UPS man, required to deliver a leather object from the center to the halfback.
Lombardi dominated the NFL by demanding toughness from his players. That was easy when concussions were referred to as “seeing stars.”
In McCarthy’s NFL, one more blow to Aaron Rodgers’ head could end the season, and if he asked Rodgers to “gut it out,” McCarthy would be subjected to public ridicule, if not legal action.
In Lombardi’s NFL, he could line up his assortment of indentured Hall of Famers and run over the opposition.
In an NFL filled with remarkably fast, powerful defenders, McCarthy has resorted to using three-back and five-receiver sets during the same drive.
Lombardi’s team was never threatened by free agency or salary caps. McCarthy has been forced, because of free agency and injuries, to remake his team almost weekly. His best defender during the playoffs has been Tramon Williams, who was once released by Houston, and his best back has been James Starks, a rookie sixth-round draft pick.
Lombardi relied on one Hall of Fame quarterback, Bart Starr. McCarthy reinvigorated one Hall of Famer, Brett Favre, and may have created another in Rodgers.
Lombardi reaped the benefit of coaching on the Frozen Tundra, giving his players a dramatic home-field advantage. Today, Lambeau Field and its sidelines are heated, making Lambeau just another outdoor stadium to opponents.
Clearly, McCarthy is the better coach. But in the interest of even-handedness, we have to give Lombardi this: He was the better dresser.
McCarthy always looks like he just got done mowing the lawn. Lombardi dressed like a champ — the champion of a small, backward, league.
Ok, on second thought, this column is absolutely ridiculous.