“He treated us all equal — like


Jerry Kramer, Green Bay Packers’ guard on his Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi

That’s how Kramer, himself a Hall of Famer, described playing for the legendary, hard-driving Green Bay coach in Jerry’s best-selling book, “Instant Replay,” a tome on the Packers’ NFL dynasty years of the 1960’s.

Suffice to say, Philadelphia Eagles lineman Lane Johnson would NOT have enjoyed being coached by Lombardi.

Johnson recently called his just-fired head coach, Chip Kelly, “a dictator” and then proceeded to rip the gridiron philosophy of the man who once drafted him — an unknown at the time — with the Eagles’ No. 1 pick.

Et tu Brute?

Here’s a guy, Johnson, who was a non-descript tight end when he was plucked out of Oklahoma by Kelly and then converted into an All-Pro caliber offensive tackle.

Other Eagles chimed in (also after Kelly was let go, of course) claiming Chip was not player-chummy, citing as an example that Kelly often passed them in the halls of the Eagles’ practice facility without saying hello.

Boo hoo.

Pardon MAS while he dabs his teary eyes.

So, despite going 10-6 his first two years — and producing the top two scoring teams in franchise history — Kelly was dismissed after going 6-9 this season by owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Lurie cited poor communication within the organization by Kelly as one of the main reasons for his dismissal.

Reportedly, one thing Lurie was upset about was Chip’s objection to the timing of Lurie’s all-important team Christmas party because it interfered with game preparation.

MAS can just picture that scene: Bah, humbug! No practice time off to celebrate for you, little Lane Johnson. Now, get back to work on your blocking technique!

Sources also quoted Lurie as saying he “was taking back the team” from Kelly, to whom Lurie had ceded total control — both on the field and regarding player personnel matters.

This, after Lurie last summer had labeled Kelly a genius.

The Eagles owner now seeks to replace Chip’s beautiful mind with a master communicator.

Oy vey!

MAS has two words for Lurie, grumbling Eagle players and the fickle Philly fans who were calling for Kelly’s ouster after just one tough season: 1) Harbaugh. 2) 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh, who lifted the San Francisco franchise out of an eight-year malaise, was waaaay more abrasive and hard-driving than Kelly as the Niners’ coach.

But apparently, he wore on some players and, even worse, failed to lick enough front office and ownership boot.

Thus, Harbaugh, too, was fired for his lack of new-age people skills and adequate brown-nosing acumen.

This, despite having led the 49ers to three straight NFC title game tilts and a Super Bowl appearance.

Predictably, Niners offensive tackle Joe Staley gave Harbaugh a shiv in the back as he was leaving, labeling him as borderline psychotic.

(Are ALL NFL offensive tackles mouthy?!)

Forty-Niner honchos then hired a more player- and organization-friendly head coach in Jim Tomsula.

And Kumbaya became the team’s fight song.

Um, how did that work out, guys?

Hope you enjoyed your 5-11 season while Harbaugh was busy restoring his alma mater Michigan to gridiron greatness.

Yo, Philly fellas (and fillies), be careful what you wish for — you may get it.

On a larger scale, these situations speak to the evolutionary changes taking place in NFL coaching these days — for better or worse, your choice.

Time was when the prevalent catchphrase among coaches and players was “Football teams are NOT democracies, they’re dictatorships.”

Used to be, you were lucky as hell if your head coach was a benevolent despot, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Ah, but that was yesterday.

And this is today, where the touchy-feely coaching approach is preferred and its practitioners are in high demand.

We are now in an era where gridders are quick to protest anything that offends their super-duper delicate sensibilities.

Former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin,formerly a dictator’s dictator, tried to change with the times and paid the price — with his head.

Coughlin recently, um, “resigned” his post with the Giants (i.e. “You can’t fire me, I quit” MAS has been there, done that).

This, after he had won two Super Bowls for them with/despite (again, your choice) his overbearing, micromanaging coaching style.

As a head high school coach, MAS favored a humanistic approach himself.

He treated his players in a firm but fair manner — and with respect. MAS’ discipline was based on common sense and reason, not Draconian Law.

Oh, and his teams managed to win a couple of league titles along the way.

MAS personally did not care for Coughlin’s methodology — he thought it too anal-retentive in nature.

But MAS can’t argue that Tom’s way didn’t work — it did, at least for Coughlin and his teams, anyway.

Many of his players chafed at Coughlin’s ultra-strict ways but saw the good that could come out of it — after they had retired, that is.

Late in his career, though, Coughlin felt it necessary — near-team rebellions and all that — to go with more of a kinder, gentler approach (including recently looking the other way during his star receiver Odell Beckham’s disgraceful meltdown).

The result: three straight losing records, four consecutive seasons with nary a playoff appearance.

And a pinkish slip.

In his farewell, press conference Coughlin lamented a lack of toughness in today’s players.

Said Tom: “They’d come up to me and say ‘I have a toothache’ or ‘a sore neck’; I can’t play today.”

“And I’m like, You what?!”

What Chip Kelly, Tom Coughlin, Jim Harbaugh and even MAS have learned through all these recent events is this: It’s now the Millennials’ world; we old coots just live in it.

And the sooner modern coaches adapt to this “Millennials Rule!” situation, the better chance they have of achieving job security.

Youth must be served, blah, blah, blah.

Now, don’t get MAS wrong.

While he considers himself old-school about certain things football, he often adopts a progressive stance as well, when it makes better sense to be forward-thinking.

And, boy, does he know about old-school football.

Y’see, in high school MAS played for a coach, Phil Marion, who was a Lombardi clone.

Maybe that was because Mr. Marion was a teammate of Vince Lombardi at Fordham University, during its gridiron heyday.

He would have been one of that school’s legendary “Seven Blocks of Granite” offensive line, like Lombardi was, were it not for an injury that ended Mr. Marion’s senior season before that famous nickname was bestowed upon the formidable Fordham front wall.

Thus, his sub got to enjoy that prestigious monicker instead.

“The Bull,” as we called Mr. Marion — but NEVER to his face — would later adopt a Lombardi-type approach to coaching.

Were conditions JUST the way MAS — or Lane Johnson — would have liked?


The letter from our Athletic Director each summer informing us of the starting date for practices always ended thusly: And may God have mercy on your bodies.

Indeed, sometimes it seemed like hell on earth.

But, like a good pooch, MAS obeyed his master.

And just as it had worked in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Lombardi method likewise succeeded in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania.

MAS’ biscuit?

Three league titles in as many seasons — and just one defeat.

Woof, woof!

Perhaps that experience is why MAS sometimes has a hard time appreciating or even understanding millennial footballer behavior.

Or maybe the downright poor attitude of many of them just turns him off.

Possibly both.

One thing MAS is certain of, though: After Johnson’s comments, Mr. Marion and Vince Lombardi, God bless their souls, must have been spinning in their graves.

But even MAS realizes — and accepts — these are different times.

Jeffrey Lurie is the anti-Lombardi.

And Lane Johnson is the anti-Jerry Kramer.

Never mind that four months earlier Lurie praised Chipster as a magnificent revolutionary, Jeffery is now going with the flow.

Contact Man About Sports at: davwigg@gmail.com

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