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Old 01-31-2010, 08:32 PM   #17
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Brad, you wrote:

Originally Posted by Brad O. View Post
It amazes me that you continue to deflect credit for the zone blitz from LeBeau to Bill Arnsparger. Do you believe Al Davis invented the West Coast Offense and Francis Schmidt designed the Air Coryell offense?
Here's the post I made over there that I assume you're referring to:

"And if LeBeau's real claim to the HoF is as an innovator for inventing the zone blitz, two points to make:

-how much does LeBeau owe to Bill Arnsparger on this?

-why wasn't LeBeau nominated as a regular candidate in the Contributor category? I might have more readily gotten behind his being elected that way if that's his best argument."

I'm asking the former question again there because the more I look, the less I know the answer to this question, and I'm increasingly uncomfortable with an "argument by authority" approach to it -- which is all I've seen so far on the subject, and not just here. It would have been nice to get a real, detailed discussion going instead of a "because I said so" approach. Compare to the fervent and "how dare you question this" declarations last year several people were posting in support of Bob Hayes's admittedly on-the-fence HoF case by claiming he caused the zone blitz to be invented, which frankly left me unconvinced last year. And I said so then. One might well wonder what Steve Owen was doing when he employed what seemed to be umbrella and zone defenses in the early 1950s to stop Paul Brown and Cleveland. "Because I said so" happened a lot last year on this pioneer-related issue, and folks were eager to tell you you're a fool to believe one or the other, depending on who you talk to.

In fact, the LeBeau question came up in an earlier discussion over at the pfraforum site and wasn't resolved clearly either over there, either. Here are two excerpts that contradict each other from that discussion:

Posted by "wildcats unite":

"Aren't there several assistant coaches in the NFL at any given time who are as effective as LeBeau? In an article about LeBeau, Bill Arnsparger is credited as one of LeBeau's influences. Hasn't Arnsparger been more influential than LeBeau is? If LeBeau is in your Top 100 more influential list, then surely Buddy Ryan is there too? Tony Dungy would have to be considered because of the Cover 2. That's three other defensive coordinators right there in the top 100 if LeBeau is the standard. It seems like too many defensive assistants and we haven't even gone back before Arnsparger."

Meanwhile, "SeanLahman" said:

"I don't like the idea of diminishing LeBeau and Dungy because their work was influenced by coaches that came before them. Everything is derivative. Belichick learned from Parcells. Walsh was influenced by Sid Gillman. Lombardi's style was shaped by Red Blaik. And they all owe a debt to Walter Camp. Show me a coach who isn't building on someone else's foundation and I'll show you a guy who can't keep a job for long."


Dick LeBeau for Hall of Fame - Professional Football Researchers Association

Brad, the million dollar question here is, what's original, what's derivative, what's significant, what's not, and how much of a combination matters here? What's the answer? Beats me, and the more I read with no specifics and an "argument from authority" approach (not just here, either) the less I'm certain.

In short, I'm becoming less and less sure what's spin and what's truth anymore on issues like this. That's also true in politics, but speaking of sore subjects....
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