Chargers' Coryell May Be Gone But His Genius Lives On
Through the ages, for some reason the genius is often ignored by society. Their contributions never fully appreciated until years after their gone. The innovation and creativity lost on generations until someone finally finds them and their importance in the context of their own time.
The man who practically reinvented the NFL passing game, died after a long battle with several ailments. To the end, the quiet and stoic Coryell fought hard still seeing many of his former Chargers players until the end. He was the inventor of the modern NFL offensive game and created a lineage of coaches still active in today’s professional game.
"We've lost a man who has contributed to the game of pro football in a very lasting way with his innovations and with his style," Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, the quarterback who made Air Coryell fly, said from Oregon. "They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery — look around, it's there."
Yet despite Coryell’s amazing contribution to the NFL - there would be no 1990s/2000s St. Louis Rams and their “greatest show on turf" without Coryell protege Ernie Zampese - he’s nowhere to be found in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Along with former Raiders coach Tom Flores, Coryell is one of the most deserving of a Hall bid yet pro football has snubbed him all these years.
Hopefully, now, that Coryell has passed on, voters will recognize years of ignorance and vote him in posthumously.
Coryell is one of those geniuses who we take for granted while they’re on this Earth only to fully recognize their brilliance later on when we can’t show them while they’re still here. Like Vincent Van Gogh, only after his death will people recognize just how important he was to the art of sport.
Even the news of Coryell’s death was ignored larger by the world’s largest sports source, ESPN.
A scan of ESPN.com on Friday night showed no mention of his passing and even the NFL portion of the website failed to honor the man. The same site that devoted pages and pages to John Wooden couldn’t even produce a blurb about Coryell’s passing. While it’s true Coryell didn’t win a Super Bowl let alone coach in one, his contribution to the modern game is massive. He certainly deserved a better honor than a 20-second reader on SportsCenter Friday evening.Continued on the next page