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Bill Walsh: 1931-2007

We don't typically like to talk about death, here. This is through no cold-heartedness -- it's just a sensitive subject, and in the year-plus we've been working on this site, there hasn't been a death incredibly close to us; we figure there are other people who can write eulogies and rememberances with more perspective.

Bill Walsh is, honestly, no different. As a longtime Saints fan dating back to their rivalry days with the 49ers in the NFC West, I've had the displeasure of watching the proficiency and efficiency of Walsh's genius offenses. Rivalry aside, I was too young to appreciate the innovation in Walsh's offense. I just knew the Saints couldn't stop it. And that made me mad.

But I look around now, and can see that the handprint left by Walsh on the game is as prominent as ever. In a league where trends and strategies have about all the shelf life of a British buzz band, Walsh's West Coast Offense has steadily integrated itself into football's strategical lexicon; it is now a standard offense that many teams run variations of (including my Saints). Walsh's offense didn't define an era in the league, it altered its very DNA.

As an "Xs and Os" obsessed football fan, I find myself saddened that such a brilliant football mind is no longer. I don't even care that he wore red and gold.

Wanna be even more impressed? Check out all of the very good NFL coaches born under the Bill Walsh coaching tree.



What a beautifully written tribute. I hardly even watch football--found this while looking for something else--and found this very moving. Nicely done. Farwell, Bill.

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