Thanksgiving week saw the Pro Football Hall of Fame release the list of semifinalists who are still in the running for enshrinement next summer in Canton, Ohio. Also mentioned on that list were those selected by the Senior Committee, a group that, among other things, selects coaches for potential Hall of Fame induction. It is the coach that was selected this year who I want to look at as I ask myself as well as you: Is this NFL head coach deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement?
BREAKING: 7 first-year eligible players are among the list of 26 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists for the Class of 2022.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 24, 2021
In an effort to be fair, I am going to lay out the coaching record of the person I’m are talking about without giving his name, that way, hopefully, his Hall of Fame credentials can be looked at without prejudice. Then, at the end, I will tell you who it is and explain why this coach does or does not deserve the Gold Jacket of a Hall of Famer.
This head coach worked for 15 seasons, making the playoffs six time and compiled a 6-5 postseason win/loss record. Three of his five losses came in his team’s first playoff game from that season, meaning his six wins playoff wins came in just three of his six postseason appearances. During the regular season, this head coach was 120-109 after taking over for at least two losing franchises and, over a few seasons turned them into Super Bowl participants.
This same head coach did take two of the three franchises he worked for to the Super Bowl, winning one of those two appearances with a Hall of Fame quarterback running his offensive coordinator’s scheme. When his teams were good, they were often title contenders; however, it did often take time for this coach’s team to become good, and then this head coach had mixed results in the postseason.
The person I am writing about here is Dick Vermeil, the former head coach in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City, and the head coach who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl and won a championship with “The Greatest Show on Turf” with quarterback Kurt Warner and the Rams.
Like with many NFL players, the Hall of Fame credentials of many head coaches, especially those such as Dick Vermeil, lie in how much weight you give to Super Bowl appearances and wins. With Vermeil coaching 14.5 seasons worth of games (one of his seasons was the strike-shortened one of 1982 and he also coached two 14-game seasons), to have only made the postseason six times, only have six playoff wins and be just 11 games over .500 doesn’t scream Hall of Famer.
Being old enough to have seen Vermeil’s coaching career, I never thought of him as someone who was going to outsmart opposing coaches. And while loved by his players, it is clear from his record that without the right players on the field, Vermeil wasn’t able to win games, only managing to win with a Hall of Fame QB in Warner and doing little else outside of a solid postseason run to reach the Super Bowl with the Eagles early in his NFL career.
Hopefully the Hall of Fame Selection Committee doesn’t vote with their heart and make this a popularity contest, because if they do, Vermeil and many other average head coaches will be enshrined into Canton, Ohio next year and in the years to come. What Dick Vermeil proves is that being around long enough, you can catch lighting in a bottle and do some good things; but it also proves that to have sustained success year in and year out, you need to be a great head coach. Sadly, for Dick Vermeil and his many fans, he was a good coach who had a few great seasons, but was never a great head coach … and in my opinion, is NOT a Hall of Fame NFL head coach.
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Should This NFL Coach Be Inducted Into The Hall Of Fame? | TooAthletic.com