July 5, 2005

THANKS, HANK:

Coaching legend Stram dies: Hall of Fame innovator guided Chiefs to pair of Super Bowls (RANDY COVITZ, 7/05/05, Kansas City Star)

Hank Stram, known as one of the most imaginative coaches in pro football history and the dapper figure who paced the sidelines during the Kansas City Chiefs' glory years, died Monday in Covington, La.

He was 82.

Stram's 17-year Hall of Fame coaching career was highlighted by the Chiefs' two Super Bowl appearances — a 35-10 loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl I and a 23-7 victory over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.

"Hank was the most important coach in the history of the American Football League," said Chiefs founder and owner Lamar Hunt, who hired Stram as the club's original coach when it began play as the Dallas Texans of the AFL in 1960.


As good as he was at coaching, he was certainly the most important football announcer ever, the first to actually explain the game--blazing a trail for John Madden--and the only one to make it possible to listen to a game on radio.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 5, 2005 12:00 AM
Comments

His lack of success in New Orleans I thought merely drove home the notion that it is impossible for a professional sports franchise to operate in a town that is completely open for just about anything 24/7.

OJ, your insight as to Stram's role as a color commentator is quite good. As he got older, he got worse though not as precipitous a drop-off as one can see in Madden, who has descended into self-parody.

Posted by: bart at July 5, 2005 8:04 AM

John Madden doesn't "explain the game" and hasn't for at least a decade. He does say "Pow!" a lot and mangle every other name, though, so that's something.

Posted by: b at July 5, 2005 12:55 PM

"Let's run 65-Toss Power Trap!"

Posted by: Patrick H at July 5, 2005 2:17 PM

The first guy who really did try to explain stuff was Al DeRogatis who did color on AFL games for NBC, but the suits said he was 'too technical.'

Posted by: bart at July 5, 2005 4:41 PM

Al DeRogatis was great - he and Curt Gowdy were the best announcing team in the business.

I still remember the old Chiefs-Raiders games that they did in the late 60s and early 70s. Then they had the Dolphins and the Steelers in the early years of the AFC. They were much better than anyone at CBS. Of course, MNF on ABC was its own brand, which people either liked or hated. I liked it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 5, 2005 9:02 PM

Jim,

As you probably are aware, I like using large, obscure words from time to time. However, it is essential for my ego to use them correctly. Cosell used to use a large word incorrectly at least once a game. It was like clockwork. Plus, when it came to anti-semitism, Cosell was a carrier.

Also, there was no analysis and if you're a gambler as my dad is, knowledge is always key. You never felt you understood what was happening on the field any better after an MNF game with the Three Stooges than before it began.

Posted by: bart at July 6, 2005 8:56 AM

Bart:

That is why it was fun when Don Meredith upstaged Cosell with his folksy zingers, usually about every other game.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 6, 2005 11:40 AM
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