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Bill Walsh's 49ers Coaching Tapes

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Maybe the best explanation of Bill Walsh's coaching greatness that I've ever read. The whole series is amazing, a history of the NFL in 95 objects. Read up on history to get ready for football!

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Your initial impression is that you’re watching a ghost, considering he’s been gone nearly seven years now. But his presence is so strong, in the building, in the coaching staffs around the NFL, in the offensive and team management concepts still being employed, and, especially, on the screen in front of you, that you’re certain the vision of former 49ers coach Bill Walsh is no apparition.

Walsh most certainly lives on, and will for many years. The excellence sustained by his 49ers teams—92-59-1 in the regular season, a .714 postseason winning percentage, three Super Bowl titles in six years and a fourth by protégé George Seifert the season after Walsh retired—is reason enough. But so are the videotapes he left behind.

Walsh filmed nearly all of his meetings and practices during his tenure with the Niners, from 1979 to ’88. Many are in the possession of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which sent back copies to the franchise soon after Jim Harbaugh was named coach and requested they be returned in 2011. Several are missing, believed to have landed in the secret stashes of assistants connected to Walsh and the 49ers over the years. The list of coaches who worked directly under Walsh or occupy a prominent perch on his coaching tree is long and distinguished: Seifert, Paul Hackett, Marty Mornhinweg, Andy Reid, Bill Callahan, Sam Wyche, Steve Mariucci, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Mike McCarthy, and the names continue. Shanahan, the story goes, learned the West Coast offense just from watching the Walsh tapes. Harbaugh’s staff spent the 2011 lockout studying the films.

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