Saturday, for the first time, I’ll cover a Vikings playoff game in the Bay Area. The game is bringing back memories of conversations I used to have with those close to Jerry Burns.
I started covering the NFL in 1989. The first Super Bowl I covered was the 49ers’ 55-10 victory over the Broncos in the Super Bowl following that season.
Bill Walsh was a legend in the ‘80s, largely because of the ``West Coast Offense.’’
Burnsie never griped about Walsh to me directly, but his allies constantly told me that he couldn’t stand Walsh, because the offense that made Walsh famous wasn’t all that different from the offense Burnsie ran in Minnesota.
Burns was Bud Grant’s offensive coordinator. He emphasized a short passing attack that emphasized yards after the catch and getting the ball in the hands of the running back in the flat. The idea for Burns’ offense and Walsh’s was the same: Stress the defense with quick passes that could act as a running game, thwart a pass rush, and mean that one missed tackle will produce a big gain.
Saturday, neither team will pay homage to the West Coast offense - or Burnsie’s Midwest Offense. Both use versions of Mike Shanahan’s offense.
So Jerry can watch today without fuming about Bill Walsh.