Couch Slouch: Presenting the NFL's reverse coach of the year

Jim Zorn coaches for an organization often in reverse.
Jim Zorn coaches for an organization often in reverse. (Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post)
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Monday, December 21, 2009

NFL coach of the year? That's easy -- it's the Indianapolis Colts' Jim Caldwell for chasing perfection in his first season. But the reverse coach of the year? That's tougher to determine.

To be a reverse coach of the year, you have to not coach up to your abilities or underachieve with your team or foul something up worse than the Secret Service letting impostors into a White House state dinner. Or, frankly, even if you just irritate me, you can be a candidate. So let's run down the top five to this year's NFL reverse coach of the year:

5. (tie) Charlie Weis, Notre Dame: Technically, he wasn't in the NFL this year, but if you can't win in South Bend -- with its own TV deal and a Hollywood history and the best fight song in all of sport -- well, you deserve some type of reverse recognition.

5. (tie) Mike Tomlin, Steelers: He's one of my favorites but we cannot play favorites here: If you coach the defending Super Bowl champs and you lose to the Raiders, Chiefs and Browns in the same season, you are halfway to Rich Kotite's guest house.

4. Eric Mangini, Browns: Every once in a while, Couch Slouch doesn't like the cut of a guy's jib. This can happen with losing coaches (Sam Wyche and Bruce Coslet come to mind) and winning coaches (Mike Ditka and Bill Belichick).

Some of my Cleveland area readers wanted me to make the Browns my Team of Destiny this season. Hey, if you can't make the playoffs with Brett Favre, you're not going to make them with Derek Anderson. Plus, frankly -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- I just don't like the cut of Eric Mangini's jib.

3. Rex Ryan, Jets: At 3-0, he talked the talk; at 4-5, he wept and wept. After losing to the Jaguars, he became tearful. Now, it's okay for a man to cry -- if his dog is run over by a truck, if his girlfriend runs away with his ex-wife, if Bernie Madoff is in his Rolodex -- but not if he loses a midseason football game.

I mean, one day Rex Ryan is walking around like General Patton at Normandy and the next day he's whimpering like Richard Simmons with a hangnail. Please. Be a man!

2. Bill Belichick, Patriots: Some people like to think he's two parts Knute Rockne, one part Vince Lombardi and one part Bill Walsh; as it turns out, he's Barry Switzer in a hoodie.

I don't care how many Super Bowls he wins, Belichick's fourth-and-two, go-for-what-

you-know coach-i-cide play-call last month against the Colts was the worst non-Switzer blunder since Gilligan set his watch for the wrong time, causing the castaways to miss the Russian sub.

1. Jim Zorn and Sherman Lewis, Redskins: The Redskins are disjointed and dysfunctional, harebrained and cockeyed. (Don't be fooled by the team's solid play over the last month -- a lot of horses don't start running well until they're clearly out of the race.)

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