Souhan: Bevell and Del Rio to go toe-to-toe at Super Bowl

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2014 - 12:11 AM
hide

Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell

– Jack Del Rio came to the Vikings, his fourth NFL team, as a Plan B free agent in 1992, meaning his previous employer, the Dallas Cowboys, had become the third team that didn’t value his presence.

He became a Pro Bowl middle linebacker in Minnesota and established contacts that would help him launch the coaching career that led him to New Jersey this week.

Darrell Bevell came to the Vikings, his fifth career stop, as an offensive coordinator in 2006, when Brad Childress became Minnesota’s head coach and called on his longtime friend.

He guided one of the best and most diverse offenses in franchise history in 2009, and this week will run the Seahawks offense against Del Rio’s Broncos defense in Super Bowl BRRR on Sunday.

Both established their bona fides in Minnesota. Del Rio even left the hospital waiting room in 1994 to play against the Saints at the Metrodome, then made it back to the hospital before his son was born. He received the game ball that day and wrote on it to Luke, “Thanks for waiting for Dad.’’

Both were considered candidates for the Vikings’ coaching job this winter, and might have been hampered by their teams’ progression through the playoffs. The Vikings settled on Mike Zimmer, whose Bengals were eliminated in the first round and who was thus more available for lengthy interviews and immediate employment.

Sunday, Bevell and Del Rio will conduct the less celebrated but equally important duel between high-profile coordinators.

Denver’s Adam Gase and Seattle’s Dan Quinn run, respectively, the top-ranked offense and defense in the NFL. The Seahawks offense ranked 17th in yards per game; the Broncos ranked 19th in yards allowed.

Bevell has received credit for helping second-year quarterback Russell Wilson become a star; Del Rio is 10 days removed from frustrating Patriots coach Bill Belichick so much that he began concocting bizarre conspiracy theories about his former receiver, Wes Welker.

“Clearly, the combination of Tom Brady and Bill has ben a very productive combination, and one I hadn’t seen much success against,’’ Del Rio said. “I took a lot of pride in the fact that we were able to put together a good plan, go out there and execute, play well and advance.’’

This Super Bowl matches one coach who is in his second NFL head coaching job, in John Fox, and one who has been fired by two NFL teams, in Pete Carroll. After his playing career, Del Rio became Mike Ditka’s strength and conditioning coach in New Orleans in 1997, then joined the Ravens as a linebackers coach.

That job was the result of Del Rio’s familiarity with then-Ravens coach Brian Billick, who had coached for the Vikings when Del Rio played in Minnesota.

Del Rio became Carolina’s defensive coordinator and then the second head coach in Jacksonville Jaguars history. He earned two playoff berths, and each time lost road games to New England. He lasted nine years in Jacksonville before being fired.

He didn’t act as a head coach again until Fox had heart problems during the middle of this season and ran the Broncos for four games.

Would he do anything differently if he became a head coach again? “Yeah, a bunch of things,’’ he said. “There’s a long list.’’

Del Rio was a charismatic player, a leader who played for and learned from Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin in Minnesota. It’s easy to see why someone would hire him as a head coach.

Bevell remains quiet; friendly but guarded. In 2009, he skillfully navigated the roiling waters between Childress, his boss, and Brett Favre, the team’s most important player. Childress and Favre didn’t like each other. Bevell somehow took the best of Childress’ rigidity and Favre’s reckless brilliance and coaxed Favre into the most efficient season of a Hall of Fame career.

“There were a lot of great experiences I had there,’’ Bevell said. “The ’09 season, Brett playing as well as he ever played. … We had like six guys with over 40 catches, second time it’s ever happened in the league.’’

If in Minnesota, Bevell felt like the judge in a divorce court, in Seattle, he must feel as if his job is to hand out brownies outside of a marijuana shop. His head coach, Carroll, tells his coaches to spread optimism, and his quarterback, Wilson, is one of the most likable players in the league.

“I think they’re both students of the game,’’ Bevell said of Favre and Wilson. “Brett prepared really hard. He liked to keep it a secret that he was preparing, but he was always in the building watching tape, and I see the same things out of Russell.’’

Sunday might provide a practice round for the day when Bevell and Del Rio face each other as head coaches.

When Del Rio filled in for Fox this season, a couple of his buddies told him it must be like riding a bike. Del Rio’s response: “Yeah, but this is a really nice bike.’’

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close