Sports Outside the Beltway

Art Shell a Terrible, Terrible, Terrible Game Coach

So says Bill Simmons, who claims the reason people are excited about Art Shell getting another go at coaching the Raiders is they don’t remember the last time.

To the dumbest round of preseason stories: glowing features about Art Shell’s coaching comeback with the Raiders, which proved the age-old adage, “If you let enough time pass in sports, people are bound to forget just about anything.” Shell’s 14-year absence from the sidelines had nothing to do with color; he was a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE game coach. Do you know why we started using the phrase “bad clock management”? BECAUSE OF ART SHELL!!!! During the last two minutes of a half, Art Shell’s math skills made Herm Edwards look like Will Hunting. Really, nobody remembers this? For God’s sake, that’s why he got fired! That’s why I’ve been making “Art Shell School of Clock Management” jokes in my column for the past 10 years! That’s why he hasn’t worked since!

Everyone forgets this, too, but those Raiders teams were almost criminally loaded; it’s astounding they never appeared in a Super Bowl, although they did end up going down as the greatest Tecmo Bowl team of all time. In real life, they committed 12-15 penalties per game under Shell and were a mortal lock to blow any close game. Eventually, Al Davis got tired of watching this stuff and canned him (a big deal at the time), and Shell never coached another NFL team … much to every savvy gambler’s chagrin. These are the facts. But this was 15 years ago, so nobody remembers this stuff. For instance, most people don’t remember that Julia Roberts was smoking hot, but when “Sleeping With the Enemy” pops up on cable, you’re reminded that, hey, Julia Roberts was smoking hot. Unfortunately, no channel shows old Raiders games from the Art Shell Era, so nobody remembers how he stood frozen on the sidelines as the announcers said things like, “Wow, ANOTHER holding penalty on the Raiders; that’s their 10th today!” and “I’m not sure Art Shell knows that you can’t carry over timeouts from one half to the other.” Watch what happens this season. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Heh. Of course, I’d point out that Julie Roberts still looks pretty darn good.

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