A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

49ers-Giants playoff history column

If Sunday’s game is anything like the last time the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers squared off in the postseason, hold on to your chin straps. It’s going to be a wild ride. Sunday marks the seventh time the Giants and 49ers have met in the playoffs. The previous six games have included classic thrillers, nail-biting defensive squeakers and a couple of kick-butt routs. They’ve spanned 30 seasons and included several future Hall of Famers and big-name coaches.… Read More »

Walsh vs. Brown, part 4

Bill Walsh, who died in 2007, is part of an nfl.com video about his tense professional relationship with Paul Brown, when Walsh was Brown’s offensive coordinator (1968-75) with the Cincinnati Bengals. In the video, giving his interpretation of the clash of coaching titans (Brown passed over Walsh for the Bengals head-coaching position), Walsh said Brown felt a coach had to have “the bearing and formality to be a taskmaster (and that) nobody could have this intellectual approach to the game… Read More »

Walsh vs. Brown, part 3

In a compelling six-minute video on nfl.com, narrator Steve Sabol points out the branches on the Paul Brown coaching tree include Super Bowl winners Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bill Walsh. But, emphasizing the friction between Walsh and Brown when Walsh was Brown’s offensive coordinator at Cincinnati (1968-75), Sabol says “Walsh was no disciple. He was a rebel.” One spot in the video has Brown saying “no, no,” in response to Walsh requesting that quarterback Ken Anderson be… Read More »

Walsh vs. Brown, part 2

Bob Trumpy was a four-time Pro Bowl tight end during his 10-year NFL career, all with the Bengals, all but two with Bill Walsh, when Walsh was offensive coordinator under head coach Paul Brown. In an intriguing six-minute video at nfl.com, Trumpy says: “West Coast offense was born in Cincinnati  … totally the invention of Bill Walsh.” The video shows a sampling of plays the Bengals ran under Walsh and plays the 49ers ran under Walsh. Delayed draws, swing passes… Read More »

Bill Walsh vs. Paul Brown

You may know that before Bill Walsh became a three-time Super Bowl-winning coaching legend in San Francisco in the 1980s, he spent eight years (1968-75) as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals under legendary head coach Paul Brown. And you may know that Walsh and Brown had a tense relationship and that when Brown, who also was a controlling owner of the Bengals, finally retired from the field, he named longtime crony and offensive line coach Bill Johnson, instead of… Read More »

49ers-Ditka connection

A lot, perhaps too much, has been made of the 49ers making a so-called Bill Walsh connection with their hiring of Jim Harbaugh. OK, the Niners hired Walsh out of Stanford in 1979 and they hired Harbaugh out of Stanford in 2011. That’s more like a coincidence than an actual connection, isn’t it? If anything, the Niners seem to be continuing their Mike Ditka connection. Ditka was the Chicago Bears head coach from 1982-92 and had a .631 winning percentage… Read More »

1-6 and playoff bound? It’s happened

Niners coach Mike Singletary has taken a lot of criticism for his Pollyanna-like optimism, saying the 49ers still have a shot at the playoffs even though they’re record is 1-6. Well, there has been precedent. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals started 1-6, won their final seven games of the regular season to finish 8-6, and made the playoffs. The ’70 Bengals are the only team in NFL history to start 1-6 and make the playoffs. The legendary Paul Brown was the… Read More »