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Posted: October 18, 2011 6:57 p.m.

There's arrogance then there's insanity

To be good at anything, you need a certain amount confidence. Of course you need talent — whether you’re an athlete, a writer or whatever. Without confidence though, you can have all the talent in the world and it won’t matter. To be great, you need a certain amount of arrogance.

If you’ve turned on ESPN or clicked on ESPN.com the past two days, chances are you’ve read about or seen the handshake between San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz after the game. Depending whether you’re a fan of either team or just a guy/gal who saw it, you probably have an opinion on the matter.

Some think Harbaugh is a meathead who has no respect for other coaches while others thinks Schwartz is a crybaby and had a case of sore loseritis. Then there’s the faction who understands the incident and more importantly, the actions of both coaches, perfectly.

Let’s face it, coaches have egos. Football coaches have super egos. Nick Saban. Steve Spurrier. Woody Hayes. Bill Belichick. Bill Parcells. Chuck Knoll. What do all these great coaches have in common? One, they won or are still winning a ton of games and multiple championships. Two, they’re not the nicest guys in the world — at least not to you or me. Some would say they’re jerks. Does that mean you have to bully cameramen and reporters or clothesline opposing players to be a great football coach?

Bill Walsh never laid waste to a media center during a press conference. While it's not the norm, you can be an effective football coach and be a pacifist. But you also have to believe you are better than everyone else.

A lot of times, coaches played the game they coach. They’re competitive people. Let’s be clear. If you play in the NFL, you’re competitive. Throw in the exorbitant amount of testosterone needed to succeed in the NFL and the pressure to win and you have a powder keg. Think about it for a second. What’s the first thing that happens after a Buccaneer touchdown at Raymond James Stadium? They shoot off a freaking cannon for Pete’s sake.

The NFL is about power, strength and toughness. Rarely does a pansy make it. They call those guys place kickers, unless you’re Martin Gramatica who thought he was a tough guy but always wound up on his keister regardless. Football coaches are no different.

Take a look at our three high school coaches. East

 

Mike Ditka said something the other night that made perfect sense to me. Ditka, perhaps one of the fieriest players then coaches ever didn’t like shaking hands after a game. But he did it anyway. He said coaches should be given a half hour to cool off before talking to anyone (the media) after a game. Reporters don’t want to hear that because for one, we have deadlines. But secondly, we like to capture the raw emotion.

I understand what Ditka’s saying though. Losing a football game is tough and the walk across the field to shake hands is longer for the loser. Football, unlike any other sport, is a weeklong process. Because of its physical nature, emotions fly around like sweat. It’s easy to understand why so many lose their minds minutes after the final whistle.

The Harbaugh-Schwartz handshake was a case of a fuse lit at both ends. It burnt out when the two met at midfield. That’s about the jest of it. Neither coach pulled a Woody Hayes and tackled an opposing player. That borders on insanity. Then again, you have to be a little nuts to be a football coach. If you’re not, you probably won’t make it unless you’re Walsh. Even in his case he was arrogant. He thought he could the way football was played. Of course he had a genius mind which others in history have used to build bad things like atomic bombs.

Imagine the offense Albert Einstein could have drawn up.

side’s Rick Hurst might not be starting an NBA game at center anytime soon but that didn't stop him from playing Division 1 football at wide receiver — as a walk-on no less. Don't let Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman's diminutive stature fool you. He could put guys twice his size to sleep with his vicegrips for hands and arms. Newton’s Cortez Allen was a linebacker and won a state championship in high school before playing in college. He’d easily find work at a nightclub monitoring the behavior of unsavory tough guys trying to man up. Would you want to see any of these guys backed in a corner in a dark alley? You get what I'm saying.

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