Bud Grant is a steely-eyed ironist - and humorist - cast as a counservative but radical enough to propose a union for the protection of coaches.
He sees as clearly the tryranny of chance that controls a coach's fortunes, but faces up to the expectation by fan and club executive that "winning is not enough; you've got to win everything (including the Super Bowl)."
Yet, he sounded like a super-patriot when he added, "That's what has made our country great; I can't knock it."
Some pro football coaches' salaries are beginning to approach the average of pro basketball players. Grant was asked if he noted a trend by the football coaches to try to get some of the money coming next season - $5 million-plus for each team - from revised televsion contracts with the three major networks.
Upwards of 120 football players will be free agents and trying to negotiate a similar "gold rush."
"I would hope the coaches get some of the money that their salaries go up proportionately with those of the players. I hope it's going that way, Grant said.
There was discussion about John McKay of Tampa Bay being paid an estimated $200,000 to $250,000 annually; Dick Vermeil of Phildaelphia $185,000, Chuck Knox of Buffalo $200,000; George Allen reaching an impasse over a contract with the Redskins with his salary increased to between $225,000 and $250,000 as coach, vice president and general manager.
It was mentioned that Jack Pardee reportedly is receiving as much or more than Allen was making under his old contract, and Grant asked how much Pardee got from the Redskins.
He whistled by way of reaction when told of reports that Pardee was one of the lowest paid coaches in the league at Chicago but matched or topped by about $10,000 the $125,000 Allen received from the Redskins during a seven-year contract.
"The coaches ought to have a union," he said, "somebody to look after their rights, because of such coaching turnovers. We don't have any kind of an organization.
"Baseball included managers, trainers, equipment managers and so forth, all in their players' organization. Football voted not to let its coaches in. So we have no formal body we can refer to, to go to as a bargaining agent.
"It is not so much that a coach goes down (loses his job), but when a head coach goes down seven, eight or nine assistants to down with him.
"The security in coaching is a lot less then that for players. There are about 30 percent of the coaches fired every year; more this year.
"I think, at this point with 28 teams, it is much more difficult to win. But everybody wants to win and it's impossible.
"Unlike hockey, basketball and baseball, there is a lot more entertainment value to one game in football; the other sports play many more games. There is not as much pressure in one game in the other sports, until maybe the end of the season.
"Football is different. Every game is very focal and is extensively covered.
"We have won a lot of games in Minnesota and we provided a lot of entertainment. George Allen had seven super seasons; it wasn't good enough. Chuck Knox took the Rams to the playoffs five years in a row, but it was not enough.
"Everyone is looking for a Super Bowl winner and he isn't going to have one. With the draft and other regulations there are going to be new winners all the time. Some teams are going to be called losers, even after playing in the Super Bowl.
"That 'dynasty' lasted one year. The going to be the great team of the 1970s (an allusion to Hank Stram's expectation after his Kansas City Chiefs defeated Minnesota in the third Super Bowl.)
"We had that label. Kansas City was Packers, Dolphins and Steelers have had troubles after winning the Super Bowl twice.