ONN – Chan Gailey: In 1996 Oakland Raiders Said He Was An Offensive Genius, Now He’s Miami Dolphins OC
In February of 1996, when I held the title of Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, I was approached by Al LoCasale, who was Executive Assistant To Al Davis and The Oakland Raiders. While the reason for Al LoCasale’s approach was to use political channels to re-establish the 49ers / Raiders Preseason Game, I also learned a lot of what could be called “NFL Politics”. I was also introduced to a man that LoCasale told me “they were grooming to be Commissioner. Roger Goodell”. I also learned what was on the collective mind of the NFL.
We would meet at Raiders Headquarters and go for lunch at Linguine’s in Alameda (1508 Park Street). Awesome Italian cuisine. During one of our talks (which also included a lot of football strategy discussions) Al LoCasale said “What do you think of Chan Gailey?” I offered that I knew little about him. Al LoCasale said that many around the NFL considered him a genius, though he did not detail why that was.
Now, after many jobs, including Georgia Tech Head Coach, Chan Gailey stepped out of retirement at 68 to serve as Offensive Coordinator for Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins Head Coach. It was Gailey who directed the Dolphins’ win over the Jacksonville Jaquars, with Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm of the offense. It was a lesson in the application of good old basic smash-mouth running concepts, paired with a nifty play action passing attack, sprinkling in a little read-option.
What I realized is that Chan Gailey, who now forgot more football than most people know, is a genius in that he knows how to teach the game, and instruct players in what to do. He may not be an innovator like Bill Walsh, but Coach Gailey understands what concepts work, when, and why.
I think Al LoCasale intended to say that, but he was enjoying the lasagna too much!
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