We have another of these entertaining countdowns going on. While NFL Network is busy counting down the 100 best players in the NFL, ESPN is counting down the greatest coaches. Not just the greatest current coaches but the greatest all-time coaches. To the disappointment of many, it doesn’t look like Brad Childress made the list. But another Vikings coach did make the list. The great Bud Grant, architect of four Super Bowl runs, came in at #15.
There’s no disputing Grant’s pre-eminence among Viking coaches. He is #1 and will still be #1 probably until the last game the Vikings ever play. Apologies to all the Dennis Green cultists out there. But Bud Grant rules and all other Viking coaches must take a backseat. Grant created the foundation upon which the entire franchise is built. Apologies to Sid Hartman who we know was also instrumental in bringing the Vikings to Minnesota. But when you list the most significant figures in team history, Grant must be at the top.
His place among all-time NFL coaches is a little trickier to gauge. Surely he belongs in any discussion of the greats. Is he in the top tier? Does he belong with Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry and those guys? Maybe not. But certainly he is in the second tier. Arguably top 10. Four Super Bowls? All those playoff runs? All those winning seasons? All those Hall of Fame players he helped produce?
All right I know the counter argument. He made the Super Bowl four times but never won it. The naysayers will go a step farther and say the Vikings never would have made it to those four Super Bowls if not for the homefield advantage that came with playing in chilly Metropolitan Stadium. As if that fact somehow diminishes the accomplishment.
The lack of a Super Bowl victory is an undeniable blemish on Grant’s record. But how much should he be downgraded for that? Does that knock him out of the top 10? ESPN obviously thinks so. We’ll have to see how the list plays out. Only then will we know how outraged we should be about Grant’s meager #15 selection. Hey at least he beat out Mike Shanahan. Seriously, Shanahan is #19. Who the hell voted on this thing?
Mike Golic and Colin Cowherd are on the panel? For real? I guess Chuckles the Clown had other commitments.