I didn't coin the phrase, but it is one of my favorite in all of football. If you are a fan of good defense and are starting to forget what a "sack" is, then you should definitely watch the Steelers/Bengals game tonight. No one has influenced the way that NFL teams go about getting sacks more than Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau.
I personally have the upmost respect for this guy, and even at the age of 71, he can still bring it with the best of them! There are some people in the football realm who truly transcend the sport. LeBeau is one of those guys. If I was a young and coming defensive coach, I would pay him to teach me. No joke. Just as Walsh's West Coast offense revolutionized the league and it's passing attacks, LeBeau's "Zone Blitz" was the perfect zig to Walsh's zag. Every team in the NFL uses some variation of this scheme, and the reason for that is obvious, it works.
One of the things that I admire about LeBeau is his incredible longevity. He spent 14 seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, and at the time he retired he was 3rd all-time in interceptions. He has since been involved in the NFL as a coach for 35 more years, for a total of 49 years in professional football! Amazing! His is currently the Defensive Coordinator for the NFL's top rated defense. They are 1st against the rush (68.9 yards/game), 1st against the pass (169.2 yards/game), 1st in totals yards given up (238.1 yards/game), 2nd in points given up (15/game), and tied for 1st with Philadelphia Eagles with 36 total sacks. Linebackers James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley have 12 and 10 respectively. Did I mention that they won their last game without even scoring a touchdown? Considering our team is giving up over 400 yards a game and only has 6 total sacks in 10 games, this is the kind of defensive dominance that we should strive for.
It is also interesting to note that LeBeau experienced a losing period surprisingly similar to the one that our Chiefs are currently going through when he was the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. At one point he had lost 18 of 21 games, and no doubt that adversity made him a better coach for having gone through it. Perhaps he wasn't cut out for the Head Coach position, as not all coordinators are. But I think that this period is a good reminder that most successful people have setbacks along the way. To judge any coach, or person for that matter, by a bad stretch seems a little unfair. If you look overall at the 49 years that LeBeau has given the NFL: the personal success he demonstrated on the field, the amazing way that he shaped the game with innovative defensive schemes, and the fact that he is still around in a highly competitive field not known for longevity, I think you find the true meaning of success.