Tony Lombardi: Brian, the season is about to enter Week 9 and already three coaches have been dismissed. Unstable coaching tenures exist in at least five other cities and in a sixth city a stable coach will step down upon season’s end, namely Mike Holmgren. Your thoughts on that and how such movement might impact your future.
Brian Billick: Well the first thing that comes to mind is that should one of those teams have the good fortune of acquiring my services, I’ll have less time for this nonsense that I engage in with you. Secondly, Steve Bisciotti might be jumping for joy if I’m hired as a head coach because every dollar I earn as a coach elsewhere is a dollar less that he will have to spend on my outstanding contract with the Ravens. And I suppose I’ll then have less time to blog on my new partner’s new and improved state-of-the-art, ESPN.com-of-Baltimore, work-in-progress website. That is assuming my new employer allows it at all.
But that said, clearly I was put on this Earth to coach. I love to teach, articulate my knowledge in a way that transcends careers. Much like Bill Walsh, I instill philosophical thought processes that are not only absorbed by my then current players, but also by my coaches and then their players and players’ players and so on and so forth.
TL: So a Billick tree of sorts.
BB: Finally you are learning something. Look around the league at other head coaches. In
San Francisco there are head coaches that served under me. Soon there may be more. Clearly Rex Ryan is on the cusp of a head coaching position. When Rex is hired almost 16% of the league’s head coaches will have had the good fortune of coaching under me.
TL: Coach, do you realize Mike Nolan was dismissed?
BB: Of course I do! I’m a Fox Sports NFL Analyst. How do you say it, “trust me, I know these things!” And while Nolan is gone, Singletary, yet another extension of my far reaching coaching tree, is now the head coach.
TL: What did you think of Singletary’s little tirade vented towards Vernon Davis?
BB: It was refreshing to hear but Mike needs to be careful. If the other players are close to
Davis, that public calling out of players in such a forceful, demonstrative and arguably grandstanding way could backfire on him. And let’s face it, Mike targeted an offensive player – not one of his defensive guys. Oh and by the way the last time I checked the 49ers are the most gratuitous team in the league and Singletary is responsible to a large extent for that defense.
TL: Looking back do you think you should have handled some of your malcontent players in a similar fashion?
BB: I treated my men like men.
TL: Ok, let’s not go there. Do you have your eye on that Niners’ job?
BB: Pretty funny how Mad Martz didn’t get the interim gig. He’s done there don’t you think? Although if they hire me, and by the way I’m a natural fit for that job given my San Francisco “blood lines”, I could keep Martz on board. That would certainly be interesting although he would have to let me hold the play chart. It looks good on those Coors Light commercials. Hey I wonder what Cavanaugh is up to…
TL: You and Mike Martz? Improbable! But then again, I thought that about you and your radio partner.
Shifting gears here coach, let’s talk about bounties.
BB: Lombardi you are so predictable.
TL: And you aren’t?
BB: (laughs) Good one…ok go on.
TL: As coach of the Ravens, you denied that there are/were bounties placed on the heads of opposing players. However recently you wrote…
BB: Here we go…
TL: As I was saying…you wrote, “So-called ‘bounties’ by players is a commonplace occurrence in any looker room and similar to the bravado displayed on most schoolyards. Players are constantly motivating each other by putting a certain amount of money in a pool and the cash going to the player that “knocks” so-and-so out of a game, or gets an interception for a TD, or pancakes a defender on a running play. This is standard operating procedure in virtually every locker room in the NFL.”
Did you or did you not write that coach?
BB: I did.
TL: Is that or is that not the truth?
BB: It is.
TL: Now further along in the same blog you suggest that discussion about things like bounties should be contained in the locker room when you wrote…
BB: What the hell is this some interrogation you d—slap!
TL: As I was saying you wrote: “Locker room talk should be just that. To expect people outside of that environment to be able to filter or understand what the mentality is behind that type of interaction between players is naive, if not just down right stupid.”
What exactly is so hard to understand about a bounty?
BB: Son let me tell you something. We play in a league that has clearly defined parameters, and those parameters have to be guarded by men with knowledge of the game. Locker rooms have to be protected by players and coaches alike as if they were soldiers protecting a nation. Think you can do it?
You in your estrogen laced world and your flag football experiences? As a coach in the National Football League I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You media punks with your microphone and laptops – you want to drill down and dig into deep dark places in the NFL and then when you find something you don’t like, you whimper and skip along like Catholic school girls in school girl skirts.
You have the luxury of not knowing what I know – that bounties while a clandestine part of football for sure helps save careers. You think that squirrely looking scum bag wearing No. 86 for
Pittsburgh won’t tone down his cheap shots now? I’d like nothing more than to see him get up from a hit one day and smile and when he does his pearly whites crumble inside that pumpkin head of his like a pack of crackers. You may find the thought of a bounty as grotesque and incomprehensible but for these men who strap on a helmet and entertain the masses and pave the way to your livelihood, it is the backbone of their survival.
In the NFL we employ incentives like bounties to inspire high end attentiveness to detail at all times. You use them as a topic for your babbling on air about topics you are ill prepared to discuss. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very comfort zone that I provide for your dumb ass blog and X Factor psycho babble lead-in for Sally Jesse Raphael on that candy ass station of yours. I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way.
TL: So what bounties were you aware of?
BB: Well we never liked Joey Porter so….hey wait a minute that stays in the locker room.
TL: You’ve already admitted to the bounties so what’s the big deal? You’ve already violated your “keep it in the locker room” mantra.
BB: Next question!
TL: What’s your take on the Chris McAlister situation?
BB: Clearly John Harbaugh’s first experience as head coach facing the challenges and complexities of a dynamic and atypical personality. We’ve all heard the stories about a rock star female posse and Chris and then there are some other wild rumors all of which, until they are substantiated are just that – rumors.
Be that as it may, Chris is a highly intelligent player who is a bit of a challenge to manage and I predict that this is a drama that has some shelf life to it.
One more question and make it quick, I’ve got a racquetball game with Kyle.
TL: Boller? His shoulder is ok already? Where’s he been?
BB: If I don’t answer that one I’ll give you another question…
TL: Ok, what do you think of Cam Cameron’s offense after 7 games?
BB: Cam is an outstanding offensive coach probably best suited for exactly what he is doing and I think he knows that now after the debacle in
TL: He probably thinks fondly of you as well Coach given that his only win as a head coach was against you last year.
BB: You just had to go there…
TL: Sorry please continue…
BB: Well here’s the thing, when you come to the realization that your career will never go beyond a coordinator again, the paradigm changes as do the parameters. Suddenly there’s clarity and you are more willing to push the boundaries, more willing to take an offense where it hasn’t gone before. You are less bound by the pressure of protectionist, inside the box thinking.
TL: So had you known you would be fired you would have opened the offense up more last year?