R.I.P. Bill Walsh

Hall-of-Fame head coach Bill Walsh has died at age 75 of leukemia.

I hated the 49ers. I hated their stupid dink-and-dunk offense, I hated their Bay Area fans who LOVED the 49ers but didn’t actually know anything about football and I really hated the way they kept knocking good Vikings teams out of the playoffs.

But somehow, I couldn’t ever quite bring myself to dislike their coach, Bill Walsh. Excellence demands respect, and the man was arguably one of the five greatest football geniuses in the history of the sport. Not so much because of his famous, misnamed offense, but because of his ability to spot talent that would fit within his system and make superlative use of it. When you draft Ronnie Lott and #8, Jerry Rice at #17, Joe Montana in the third round and Charles Haley in the fourth, you’re not just lucky, you’re good.

NFL is 3D chess with human bodies and Bill Walsh was one of the grandmasters.