Here's a two-part question:
Who is the most *overrated* head coach/manager in sports; and who is the most *underrated*?
This can be for any team sport. It applies to both professional sports and college sports. Obviously, it's more interesting if you list the reasons why you think a coach is much better or far worse than is generally perceived.
I'll go first. My choices are all from the NFL. However, feel free to select coaches from other sports, or baseball managers.
MOST OVERRATED: Mike Ditka
Someone needs to do an MRI on Ditka's brain, which is apparently the size of a walnut. During his lengthy and meandering NFL career sprawled over 6 teams, Ditka was an average football player, a wallflower assistant coach for nine seasons, and then finally a head coach in Chicago (where he enjoyed one great season thanks to his fiery assistant Buddy Ryan, who Ditka despised), and later New Orleans (where he traded away the franchise for one running back and then proceeded to run the team into the ground). Ditka's bombastic tirades as a coach and later a "studio analyst" made watching more interesting, but he was still an insecure, obnoxious, tiresome one-trick-pony blowhard of a man-child, totally out of his league. Ditka's dismal track record with the Saints (15-33) over four miserable seasons is far more emblematic of his ineptitude than one Super Bowl win in Chicago (1985), also marred by 10 other years of underachievement. The only way Ditka deserves admission into the Hall of Fame is if he walked up and buys a ticket. Ditka is unbearable.
MOST UNDERRATED: George Allen
When "best coaches of all time" are listed, Allen rarely cracks the top 10. But he certainly belongs. Allen coached for 12 seasons (LA Rams, Washington Redskins) and enjoyed winning seasons in all 12 years. He compiled an overall win percentage of 69 percent (Bill Belichick's career pct. is 67 percent). What's most amazing is, Allen took over two struggling teams, and immediately turned them both into winners. He also was known for taking outcasts, players who struggled with other teams and turning them into winners. Allen's most controversial technique was trading away most of his draft picks for "rejects," which was the trademark of all of his teams. Even when he coached two seasons in the now-defunct USFL, Allen posted two winning years and a 61 percent win percentage. There's no other explanation for taking bad to average players and instantly turning them into winners than GREAT coaching. Of course, Allen didn't win a Super Bowl, but his credentials as a Top 10 coach are otherwise unmatched.
So, that's my two picks. Now, it's your turn.
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