History could have turned out very differently had the Patriots made a slightly different decision back in 2001.
That was, of course, how Tom Brady took over the role of Patriots quarterback. It happened after Drew Bledsoe was put in the hospital after a hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. When it became clear that Bledsoe couldn’t play, Brady was far from an automatic choice to replace him, according to the team’s offensive coordinator at the time, Charlie Weis.
“[Brady] wasn’t better than Bledsoe,” Weis told Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard. “In fact he wasn’t much better than [Damon Huard]. Bledsoe was clearly the starter. The number 2 spot, that’s where the competition was. We really could have flipped a coin to pick the second guy. We ended up picking Tommy—but it was really close.”
Damon Huard, the other quarterback on New England’s roster at the time, was a 28-year-old backup. It’s exceedingly unlikely that if he won the backup job instead of Brady, the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl, don’t become a dynasty, and who knows what becomes of Brady. He may have had to dust off this old resume and start sending it around.
When Weis was dismissed more than six years ago, he received one of the most infamous buyout packages in sports history. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that the total amount Notre Dame will have paid Weis after Thursday is roughly $49.5 million. He spent less than five seasons in South Bend and won 35 games.
Weis, who also coached at Kansas from 2012-2014, earned about $25 million from Notre Dame and Kansas while not coaching either program. According to a breakdown from Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com, Weis received an initial payment of $6,638,403 immediately upon being terminated by Notre Dame. He has also received payments of roughly $2 million each year since his firing, which brings the total bill around $18 million after he was let go.
Not bad for a guy who won one bowl game during his five seasons at Notre Dame, huh? Oh, and that bowl victory was in the Hawaii Bowl. It capped off a 7-6 season in 2008.
Now do you get why Weis said what he did about coaching earlier this year? I’d feel the same way if I was paid $25 million over a six-year span to not work.
Weis gave a long interview to Notre Dame insider and expressed doubt that he ever coaches again.
“I think it’s highly doubtful that I will ever coach again,” Weis told Notre Dame Insider.
Weis coached under Bill Parcells throughout the ’90s, and then he left Parcells to coach under Bill Belichick with the Patriots. The move was a successful one; Weis parlayed his time as Patriots offensive coordinator from 2000-2004 into a head coaching job at Notre Dame.
Weis started off well at Notre Dame, going 9-3 and 10-3 in his first two seasons. He received a monstrous contract extension midway through his first year as the program’s coach, which notably came after LOSING to USC in the “Bush Push” game. That was a sign of things to come as Weis went 16-21 over his final three seasons at Notre Dame before being fired. He coordinated Florida’s offense for a year, then the Chiefs, and then he went back to head coaching at Kansas. He was much worse at Kansas going just 6-22 over two-plus seasons before being fired for the lack of success.
Weis sifted through some offers the past few months, but he did not find good fits. And the positions he wanted went to other people.
“Again if the right fit was there, I would have coached a little longer,” Weis said. “But it wasn’t, so why not go do some good. What good are you doing if you stay on coaching at this point? The only one you’re doing any good for is yourself.”
Throughout his time at Notre Dame and later, Weis became known for being a big talker. He once dimed out Pete Carroll for allegedly having an affair, he got into screaming matches with Todd Haley on the Chiefs, he said Notre Dame would have a schematic advantage over opponents, and he boasted he could have made Brady Quinn a winner in the NFL.
Despite being known for his big mouth, Weis says that is not who he is.
“But I think that my perception of arrogance and obnoxiousness and all those other things that people have said, when they actually meet you, nine times out of 10, they tell you, ‘You’re not that guy.’ ”
Maybe that’s not who Weis is, but that certainly is the perception of him. And he’s the one who created it. As far as coaching goes, my guess is he will be back one day. Guys like him generally get the itch and don’t call it a career at 58.
Helmet smack to College Football Talk
- Charlie Weis
Belichick coached under Parcells with the Giants, Patriots and Jets. Belichick was set to become Parcells’ hand-picked successor with the Jets, but at the press conference to announce the hiring of Belichick, the understudy declared he was resigning to take the head coaching job with the Patriots. Belichick, of course, has been the Patriots’ head coach ever since and enjoyed tremendous success, so obviously he made the right call.
While the beef between Parcells and Belichick over the latter’s last-second betrayal of his mentor is well known, what is lesser known is that Parcells also had a beef with Charlie Weis.
According to an excerpt of the book shared by the New York Daily News, Weis, then the offensive coordinator with the Jets, lobbied for the head coaching job vacated by Belichick. Parcells did not want to give it to him for a specific reason.
The Daily News shares the excerpt:
In the legal aftermath of the contractual break, Jets offensive coordinator Charlie Weis lobbied hard for Belichick’s job, the book says. “I can do this job, I’m your guy,” Weis told Parcells. However, Weis then testified on Belichick’s behalf during the grievance hearing over whether Belichick could be interviewed for other jobs, basically betraying Parcells, who would ban Weis from the premises the day after the testimony.
Parcells recalls telling Weis to get his s— and “leave the building” after the testimony.
Weis wound up joining Belichick in New England where he was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2000-2004 before becoming the Notre Dame head coach. Parcells now says things are fine between them.
“I’ve told many coaches that friendship and loyalty is going to be more important than ambition. Some guys don’t realize that until after they’re done,” Parcells says in the book, according to the Daily News. “I don’t bear animosity toward Charlie. I can say that with a straight face because I know what he is. His actions back then don’t bother me anymore.”
It’s good to hear that the friction seems to have dissipated for Parcells, but it’s easy to see why he would be upset. Parcells got Weis into the NFL after Charlie only had one season of high school head coaching experience. True story: Weis was selling long-distance phone service in South Carolina when Parcells called to offer him an interview with the Giants. Parcells gave him his big break.
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As a result of his team’s disastrous 2012 season, Weis has found it difficult to recruit top high school players and has had to fill out his roster with junior college transfers. But he still has to recruit, and he has found one positive to pass along to prospective players — there’s plenty of playing time to be had.
“Everyone wants to play,” Weis said at Big 12 football media day on Monday, via The Kansas City Star. “There’s no one that wants to not play. I said, ‘Have you looked at that pile of crap out there? Have you taken a look at that?’ So if you don’t think you can play here, where do you think you can play? It’s a pretty simple approach. And that’s not a sales pitch. That’s practical. You’ve seen it, right? Unfortunately, so have I.”
While it may be practical, the Jayhawks aren’t going to land many four-star recruits that way. Being able to earn playing time on a 1-11 team doesn’t exactly scream NFL prospect, but Kansas can certainly give high schoolers an opportunity to start as freshmen. Even still, Weis said he is targeting junior college transfers because it’s rare that high schoolers can start right away.
“If you’re taking nothing but high school kids, there’s only a couple that ever end up playing as freshmen,” he said. “The rest are over on the bench with me. What good is that going to do me?”
So there you have it, high schoolers. If you want to earn playing time, enroll at Kansas and start on one of the worst teams in the country as a freshman. Or lose your job to a junior college transfer and watch your team go winless in the conference. Either way, come play for Charlie Weis.
H/T Dr. Saturday
Notre Dame fans have long moved on from the Charlie Weis era. Weis was hired to coach the Fighting Irish in 2005, and he was unsuccessful in restoring a tradition of winning in South Bend. His successor, Brian Kelly, led Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship game last season. A glance at the school’s payroll might lead you to believe Weis had something to do with it.
As Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, Notre Dame could end up paying Weis nearly $19 million to do absolutely nothing for the team when all is said and done. According to federal tax documents obtained by the Tribune on Thursday, Weis received a buyout payment of $6,638,403 when he was fired in 2009. He has since received two more payments of $2,054,744 and is scheduled to receive similar payments through 2015, which would bring his total compensation after dismissal to just south of $19 million.
Good lord. As far as the “books” are concerned, Kelly earned only $1,088,179 at Notre Dame from July 2011 to July 2012. However, the school noted that its head football coach is authorized to receive compensation from “external sources” such as apparel companies that would not have to be reported on tax forms.
Weis, who is currently the head coach at Kansas, may have his hands full with student reporters like this, but there is no need to feel sorry for him. In addition to earning a nice paycheck from the Jayhawks, Weis is scheduled to receive more than $2 million per year from Notre Dame for the next four years. Coaches may need to win to keep their jobs, but they certainly don’t have to collect hardware to keep the paychecks coming.
West Virginia and Kansas are playing on Saturday for the first time since the Mountaineers moved into the Big 12. The game will be between two teams that have disappointed. Kansas is a pathetic 1-10 under first-year head coach Charlie Weis, while West Virginia plummeted to 6-5 after a promising 5-0 start.
Though the game seems like a dud on the sports calendar given all the big conference championship games taking place that day, matters got a lot more interesting after Dana Holgorsen’s teleconference on Monday. The West Virginia coach took the ultimate shot at Weis through some heavily sarcastic praise.
“They’re going to coach them up. We’re going to be at a major schematic disadvantage going against their coaches,” Holgorsen said of Kansas. “They’ve got coaches with a tremendous pedigree that have coached everybody in the world and coached for decades and decades.
“It’ll be challenging. You never know what you’re going to get,” Holgorsen said. “They kind of have a flavor of the week in the fact that schematically, you’re dealing with a group of coaches that understand football as good or better than anybody in the country. What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to figure out what their plan is going to be.”
Can you just feel the sarcasm in those comments? Yes, Holgorsen was saying that about a 1-10 football team.
Holgorsen, of course, chose his phrases carefully.
You may recall that shortly after at Notre Dame, Weis told his players “every game you will have a decided schematic advantage,” according to Sports Illustrated.
Holgorsen took note of that phrase and threw it right back at Weis on Monday. However, it’s not like he was taking an unprompted shot at Weis; that was his response to what he likely felt was disrespect from the Kansas coach.