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Thursday, January 16, 2003

Two NFL Adieus: Mooch and “The Vet”

Not unexpectedly, the San Francisco 49ers have fired The Mooch—Steve Mariucci. Opinion around here is sharply divided. Mooch is a terrific guy--warm, unassuming, funny, easy for the players to get along with. But as a tactician, sorely lacking. The embarrassing and lopsided loss to Tampa Bay last week was the nail in the coffin.

Among other tactical shortcomings, Mooch failed to make adequate use of the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL—Terrell Owens. Inexcusable, IMO. Ergo, he needed to go.

Being a 49ers head coach is a pretty thankless job after the legendary reign of Bill Walsh. Anything less than a Super Bowl has come to be regarded as a failure by the Niner hierarchy.

We hope you land on your feet, Steve. You gave it your best shot, and you deserve a good sinecure somewhere.

As for ”The Vet,” that would be the notorious Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, which will see its last game this Sunday when the Eagles play the Bucs for the NFC title. The Vet has long been known as the vilest venue in sports in terms of ugliness, dangerous lack of upkeep, unruly fans, and menacing hostility to visiting teams and their fans.

Catch the article, "Football's Looniest Stadium," in today’s NY Times for a fascinating account of the amazing follies of this dreaded arena.

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