Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Dave Wannstedt: Douchebag of Liberty


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Before I begin, it bears noting that the phrase “Douchebag of Liberty” comes from Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart. The late-night host uses this term to disparage Robert Novak, long-time reporter for CNN and the Chicago Sun-Times. Novak, of course, has been scrutinized for releasing the name of an undercover CIA agent to the press. Novak is currently under no legal obligation to reveal his source.

It is my privilege to bestow my first civilian metal of douchebaggery upon Miami Dolphins Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt. There were so many worthy candidates for this inaugural award. I can promise that I will name many subsequent medallists in coming weeks. Mr. Wannstedt received this award mainly for his cluelelessness and obscene levels of optimism.

During his four-year tenure as head football coach, his regular season record has been commendable. His 41-23 record is a step-up from his abysmal 40-56 record in Chicago. It leads me to believe that superior players, and not improved coaching, are the reason behind the successes. His 2000 and 2001 record of 11-5 is largely attributable to the legacy left by one Jimmy Johnson. The team has gone downhill since, missing the playoffs in both 2002 and 2003. It wasn’t because of a lack of opportunities. There were key games that Miami could have and should have won. Instead of rising to the occasion, the team has consistently played poorly in big spots.

You can blame the players for this, or ask whether or not this team has the right attitude. Sensing from his interactions with the press, Wannstedt never portrays a sense of urgency. It’s always, “Well, we’ll be better next week”. Unfortunately, there aren’t always an abundance of second chances in this league. There are times, like in 2002 in New England and 2003 versus Philadelphia, that it’s either win or go home. Both times, we went down in defeat. For once, I would like to see Wannstedt admit that a concrete win is the only acceptable result.

It’s time to hold Wannstedt accountable for the ridiculous statements he’s made in recent years. I can understand being optimistic, but I scoff at the downright asinine comments he occasionally makes to the media. Last year, he promised that Miami would lead the NFL in second-half rushing. Looking at his team’s offensive line, how could he make such a ludicrous guarantee? Last week, we had Wannstedt asserting that his team is “bulletproof”. No further comment is needed.

Other sites have documented his failings in more detail. Basically, we know that Wannstedt has had virtually no post-season success. In this league, teams are remembered for how they perform in January. For all the regular season wins, we have no memorable moments from the Wannstedt era. The only moment that stands out for me was the 2001 comeback victory versus Indianapolis in the playoffs. And most fans couldn’t even see it live, as the game was blacked out due to lack of a sellout crowd.

For a moment, ignore the false bravado that Wannstedt puts out there. Instead, watch how he coaches the game. He displayed no confidence in his team, evidenced by the Tennessee gameplan. A Dave Wannstedt coached team does not throw the ball 40 times a game. Obviously, he had no confidence in his offensive line and running backs. The decision to evict Fiedler from the lineup was another uncharacteristic move. While I disagreed with the decision to start Fiedler, he deserved more than 30 minutes of play. This was an indecisive call that I doubt originated from the coach.

For 11 seasons of wholly mediocre coaching, I have declared Coach Dave Wannstedt the Robert D. Novak “Douchebag of Liberty” award winner for September 14, 2004.

2 Comments:

Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

A pretty good article about Dave I must say. Very good work. I think you pretty much sum things up.

September 14, 2004 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger tsias said...

Actually, I don't think it was my best work. I think the reasons behind Dave's douchebaggery are pretty clear.

September 14, 2004 at 10:47 PM  

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