MMQB is currently running a series of old articles that are some of the best NFL content Sports Illustrated has published. You can read through all the old SI content at their open vault, but it’s been pretty cool seeing some of these old articles resurfaced.
On Friday, MMQB tweeted out an article on a subject near and dear to all of our hearts. On March 12, 2007, Mike Silver wrote a lengthy feature about Bill Walsh. At that time, Walsh was undergoing treatment for leukemia, and he would pass away four months later. The article talked extensively about his football history, but it brought it all together with Walsh getting a better handle on his legacy.
Walsh was one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and his legacy to anybody is quite clear. You can point to his development of the West Coast offense, his extensive coaching tree, his minority coaching internship program, and of course the very basics he developed as far as running practice, team meetings, and so forth. The man is a legend of the game.
As Walsh was nearing the end of his life, he truly began to comprehend his impact on the game of football. I imagine he recognized the things he was doing were a big deal, but as he neared the end of his life, the number of relationships he had developed truly came into focus. Former players, executives, and others were regularly contacting him to check in. Joe Montana mentioned that having all these friends and visitors allowed Walsh to reflect on his career in an entirely positive manner.
"I think there's a lot more feeling there than he ever imagined," Montana says. "He's seeing it now, though it's hard for it to have to come out this way."
There is so much to take away from this amazing feature article, so rather than have me regurgitate it, make it the next thing you read.