Monday, January 1, 2007

Jim Hanifan

You don't hear his name much anymore but Jim Hanifan was the best NFL offensive line coach of all time. He coached Dan Dierdorf, Conrad Dobler, Tom Banks and the rest of the St Louis Cardinals line that protected Jim Hart throughout the 1970s. Hart almost never got sacked, and the offense was perennially potent. He head-coached for a short time but wound up coaching the Redskins' O-line in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Skins tested the low-sack records he had set in the 1970s and had a nonpareil running game featuring Earnest Byner and producing a 202 yard rushing record for an unknown guy, Timmy Smith, in the Super Bowl. You may remember the men he coached then too: Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Mark Schlereth, Jim Lachey, Raleigh McKenzie. After Washington he wound up his career back in St Louis coaching the O-Line for the Greatest Show on Turf and helped get them to their first Super Bowl. Obviously, the best in the business. Hope he makes the Hall of Fame. Position coaches should get more credit than they do.

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