Matt’s Mind: Championship Coaching


What a game last night!  Congratulations to Florida State for winning the BCS Championship against an outstanding Auburn team.  That was a tremendous fourth quarter and both teams should be proud of their effort.  Last night’s game gave yet another reminder of how much coaching impacts a game.  Aggressive play calling paid dividends for Jimbo Fisher last night.  Gus Malzahn called a great game for Auburn as well but Fisher’s fourth and three fake punt call in the second quarter paid off with a first down and kept the ‘Noles in the game.  If Auburn gets that punt and takes it down the field for another score that could have been a backbreaker.  Instead FSU’s head coach called the fake and got the first down signaling to his player’s he trusts them to make the plays that are needed to win this game.

Let’s contrast this to Saturday’s NFL Wildcard.  Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs decided to a kick a field goal on fourth and goal from the one against the Colts.  I was disappointed in the call as it showed a lack of faith in his team’s ability to get 1 yard.  If you can’t get the yard you turn it over to the Colts on their own 1 yard line.  I felt that was a turning point in the game.  A touchdown would have given the Chiefs a 14-3 lead and might have turned up the pressure on the Colts even sooner.  Yet the Chiefs played it very safe and went for 3.  When the Chiefs jumped out to a 38-10 lead early in the third quarter, people were telling me the Chiefs were advancing but I warned them, there’s a lot of time left and looked back to that play.  I often see omens like that in games.  When coaches don’t show faith in their team, I think it places doubt in the minds of players and can lead to disappointment later.

Reid was conservative with the FG attempt but not passing the ball twice as many times as running it with a four TD lead.  He’s been great but frustrating at time this season.  This is his first year of playoff misery in KC but for many of us, it’s 20 years long.  We want to see playoff wins.  Good regular seasons mean nothing any more if they’re going to lead to playoff disappointment.  I would like to see consistency out of a coach and someone who trusts his team to make the plays to win.

I’m a huge Chiefs fan and have suffered through the past 20 years without a playoff win.  Saturday was hard to take.  It reminded me a lot of Marty Schottenheimer’s days in KC.  He was a fantastic regular season coach but his ultra conservative play calling usually led to first game playoff exits.

Remember Sean Payton’s onside kick call in the Super Bowl?  It wasn’t with a minute left and the Saints losing.  It was mid game and helped spark his team.  Go for it and play to win!