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WEEK THREE CRYSTAL BALL - THURSDAY: Honoring a Legend
The Great Game Loses a True Difference-Maker
My friends, football hearts are heavy this week for good reason as college coaching legend Buddy Teevens passed away Tuesday at age 66. He spent the past 18 seasons as head coach at Dartmouth, his alma mater.
Back in March, Coach Teevens was hit while riding his bicycle on vacation with his wife and suffered spinal injuries and the amputation of his right leg. He fought with all his might but never recovered.
Some reading this are probably asking “Who the heck was Buddy Teevens?” and I can understand the befuddlement. He never was in the pros and his two Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) head-coaching jobs, at Tulane and Stanford, resulted in a 21-68 record with no bowl appearances and no winning seasons.
In football circles, Teevens is best known for his two stints leading Dartmouth, from 1987-91 and 2005-22. In those 23 years, he won 53% of his games and five Ivy League championships.
Ok, a nice career but nothing to write home about, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
In fact, it says here that Eugene Francis Teevens III was one of the most influential coaches of the modern era and should be remembered as a true bright light in the game of football. A man who changed young men’s lives for the better and left the sport much better than he found it.
A prominent member of Steve Spurrier’s University of Florida staff from 1999-2001, Teevens did his best work at Dartmouth. He quarterbacked the Big Green to the 1978 Ivy League title as a senior, was an integral member of the school’s Final Four hockey team and coached his alma mater to the winningest three-year stretch in its 140-season history with 27 victories from 2018-21.
Still, his greatest impact had nothing to do with wins and losses.
Coach Teevens molded and developed hundreds of young men who became dedicated husbands, fathers and business leaders. He was a trailblazer in hiring female coaches. He founded the famed Manning Passing Academy and directed the camp for its first 26 years, working closely with Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper. I took THE TRE MAN to the event this past summer, the first without Coach Teevens leading it, and it was amazing to see how glowingly all spoke of him.
Just as importantly, Teevens was a leading advocate for player safety and that may be his greatest legacy. He dramatically reduced tackling in practice more than a decade ago - “I love the game of football, but I love my players more” - and spearheaded the development of mobile robotic tackling dummies. A true gamechanger.
Most would agree that the sport is safer today than it’s ever been, and Coach Teevens is a big reason for that. The man walked the walk and talked the talk.
Sixty-six years is not nearly enough but, here’s to you, Coach. Thank you for a life well lived and may you always rest in peace.
This evening, the Giants (1-1) visit San Francisco (2-0) for an 8:15 pm ET kickoff on Prime Video1. Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the booth with Kaylee Hartung on the sidelines.
These teams have engaged in many thrilling games through the years but I’m not sure tonight will be one of them. The Giants are beat up with Saquon and Andrew Thomas on the shelf and they’re making a cross-country trip2. The team is also sans its starting left guard, Ben Bredeson.
Last week was a stress-inducing three hours for the Jints and their loyalists with guys like BROTHER BLUENIK and VIGGY fit to be tied with Arizona up, 28-7, in the third quarter. Somehow, Brian Daboll’s troops rallied for an unlikely win and, in the next 90 minutes, Google recorded more than 57,000 NYC-area searches for “How to repair a TV with a shoe-shaped hole.”3
I won’t be surprised if New York makes this game a tight one but, in the end, I expect the hosts to prevail. Call it 19-13, Niners. Enjoy the game, folks, and God bless.
As THE MAYOR OF KC notes, they’re not actually making a cross-country trip as they stayed out west all week after playing Arizona this past weekend. However, it should be noted, they didn’t have all the comforts of home, like their woobies or East Coast drivers hurling expletives at them on the New Jersey Turnpike. Those are the kind of things a man misses on the road.
This is precisely why I always go shoeless when watching the Commies. This means the only nearby item I can throw is usually some sort of snack food and, as you know, I’m not one to let go of a calorie.