What do the "pundits" think of Charlie Weis' impending move to Notre Dame?
"Weis might be the last guy who still thinks (Notre Dame) is a glamour gig," said Mike Lupica on ESPN's The Sports Reporters Sunday morning.
Sports Reporters panelist Jason Whitlock was more blunt: "I don't know who's dumber. Weis or Notre Dame."
Sorry, fellas, but you're drowning in a cesspool of your own ignorance. But here, grab the lifesaver of gridiron enlightenment called the Cold, Hard Football Facts and swim to safety.
The "pundits," of course, have completely blown the Notre Dame coaching story from the outset. They began with the alleged injustice surrounding the firing of Tyrone Willingham. Sure, Willingham was canned with two years left on his contract. He wasn't the first. In fact, his predeccesor, Bob Davie, was axed with four years left on his contract. And not a single "pundit" reported on the litany of historic and embarrassing losses Notre Dame suffered on Willingham's watch.
Now, these very same "pundits" say Notre Dame and its new coach are dumb and "dumber." The Cold, Hard Football Facts, of course, chart its own course in the wilderness of pigskin knowledge. They see a major coup for both Weis and for Notre Dame football. Here's why.
What Weis gets
His first head coaching job. NFL general managers have shunned Weis for years, hiring a number of lesser coaches in his stead. This is a guy who so desperately wanted a head coaching job he underwent life-threatening surgery, reportedly to improve his physical appearance and make himself more attractive to PR-minded GMs. This is a guy who may win his fourth Super Bowl as an assistant this season. Still, there was no guarantee Weis would land an NFL job this year.
Big-time attention. Weis wasn't even allowed to talk to the media as an assistant in New England. At Notre Dame, he'll hold the singular spotlight position in football, as evidenced by the incessant national discussion still surrounding the job.
National fame. Weis will lead the only sports team in America whose every game is seen on national television. Not Yankees baseball, Cowboys football, or Lakers basketball. Just Irish football. Camera crews from around the country surrounded Weis when he stepped off the plane Sunday night in South Bend to meet his team for the first time.
A glamour gig. The "pundits" are having a field day ripping Notre Dame and its football program. But ask yourselves this: Is anyone talking about the Cleveland Browns head coaching job? No, they're not. The "pundits" say the Notre Dame coaching gig has lost its glamour, but the golden shine will return the minute the team's on-field performances improve.
Personal pride. Weis has an opportunity lead his alma mater out of its 10-year doldrums.
A big, fat pay raise. To land Weis, Notre Dame doubled the offer it made to other coaches from $1 million per year to $2 million per year. Weis also squeezed out a six-year deal from a university that traditionally offers only five-year deals. This represents a significant raise for Weis, who makes about $600,000 per year in New England. If Weis is stupid, Mr. Whitlock, he's laughing all the way to the bank.
What Notre Dame gets
Its most accomplished coach in decades. Weis' resume includes four Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl victories as an assistant. He could add to those totals this season. No other Notre Dame coach in history has had as much success at the professional level.
A boost to the inept Irish offense. The primary problem during Ty Willingham's years at Notre Dame was the inability of the Irish offense to gain traction. In fact, the offense was downright impotent at times. Weis is the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champion Patriots and has proven he can hammer together winning attacks.
The most successful coach on the market today. Urban Meyer of Utah was the glamour candidate who had all the "pundits" drooling. He may even have been Notre Dame's first choice. But in 2001, while Weis was leading a Super Bowl-winning offense, Meyer was leading Bowling Green to an 8-3 record in the Mid American Conference. Quite frankly, Meyer's resume doesn't hold a candle to Weis'. Consider these highlights:
1990 – Weis was defensive assistant and assistant special teams coach for the New York Giants. The Giants beat Buffalo, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV and turned in what many consider one of the great defensive performances in championship-game history.
1993-94 – Weis was New England's tight ends coach. Ben Coates set a record for receptions by a tight end with 96.
1995 – Weis was New England's running backs coach. Curtis Martin set a franchise rushing record and was named NFL "Rookie of the Year."
1996 – Weis was New England's receivers coach. Terry Glenn set an NFL rookie record with 90 receptions.
1997-99 – Weis was offensive coordinator of the New York Jets. The Jets offense improves from 279 points scored in 1996 to 348 in 1997. In 1998, the Jets scored 416 points (second best in team history to Super Bowl-winning 1968 team) and appeared in the AFC title game.
2000-04 – Weis returns to New England as offensive coordinator. The Patriots won two Super Bowls.
2001 – Weis added quarterbacks coach to his duties with the passing of Dick Rehbein. Sixth-round draft pick and second-year player Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe as New England's quarterback, and becomes one of the most successful QBs in NFL history. You think Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn is going to listen when Weis says "This is the way Tom Brady does it?"
2004 – New England scored 365 points in its first 13 games, and is on pace to shatter the franchise record for points scored.
The "pundits" may mock Weis' move to Notre Dame. But the Cold, Hard Football Facts see only one party that's going to suffer: The New England Patriots.