Sunday, December 19, 2004

Background Check | by Jay

Pete Thamel has a great piece today in the New York Times, full of interesting anecdotes, and digging a little more deeply into the backstory of the "coach who never played the game":

"While he was coaching at Franklin, Weis received a call from the Giants. They were preparing for the Houston Oilers, who used a run-and-shoot offense, and they asked for help analyzing films. Weis began evaluating players part time for Tim Rooney, who was then the Giants' personnel director.

Even then, Weis had a swagger. Giants coaches would needle him, asking why he was spending so much time at their offices and not working at the high school. Weis would say he needed to install only half the offense, because he did not want to beat teams, 100-0. "Sure enough, I'd pick up the paper and Franklin would win, 50-0," Rooney recalled last week with a laugh.

After his season at Franklin, Weis took a brief break from coaching and returned to South Carolina, where he worked for a month selling long-distance phone service to businesses. Then he received a call from Bill Parcells, whom he came to know when he was moonlighting in the Giants' film room.

Parcells hired Weis for an entry-level position on the Giants' staff. He worked in the film room and later was an assistant to the special-teams coach. In training camp, the former Giants tight end Mark Bavaro remembers Weis chatting about Notre Dame, their alma mater. Bavaro had no idea who Weis was. "I was like, 'Who let this guy under the ropes?' "

In a special-teams meeting during the 1990 season, Parcells asked who would replace Dave Meggett on punt returns if he were hurt. Weis chimed in with an answer, and Parcells shot him a cold stare. "You've been in this league about five minutes," Weis recalled Parcells saying. "No one cares what you think."

Eventually, they did. The Giants' general manager at the time, George Young, who had also worked his way up from the high school ranks, became intrigued with him. Weis wrote concise scouting reports, and Rooney said he had a knack for player evaluation. Weis was able to learn from a talented staff, which included the assistant Bill Belichick.

Check out the entire write-up if you have a moment. It's a refreshing breather from the same old cut & paste bio we've seen recycled a zillion times in the last week.