Today Pat Reusse writes a column on a subject he's addressed before: without Bud Grant's 26-6-1 record against the Lions, Grant might not be a revered Hall of Fame football coach. Says Reusse:
"That's why the list of speakers for Grant's dinner on Tuesday should have Bill Ford as a late addition. He's been the owner of the Lions since 1964, and thus was very important in getting our guy Bud a plaque in Canton."
Reusse seems intent on demythologizing Grant, suggesting the lousy Lions helped make Grant a great coach (and this is not the first column in which he's suggested this theory).
Here's the problem with this logic. There's a reason why Grant dominated the Lions. Grant built and coached a superior football team, and the Lions were an inferior football team. That's why Grant's Vikings dominated the Lions. And that's why the Vikings won 11 division titles under Grant.
I suspect every Hall of Fame coach has one or two teams that his team dominated. That's reasonable: coaches become Hall of Famers for coaching superior teams, and superior teams are going to beat inferior teams much of the time. So it's not that the awful Lions pushed Bud Grant into the Hall of Fame: it's that Bud Grant was a great coach that built a very good team capable of dominating inferior opponents.