Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bud Carson

Bud Carson passed away today. As you'll undoubtedly recall, Bud coached the Browns during the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He led those near-great 1980s Browns to their last moment of glory, a memorable 34-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills in a January 1990 playoff game. That game, which the Browns won when Clay Matthews intercepted a Jim Kelly pass in the end zone with seconds remaining, is still the most exciting football game I've ever attended in person (I was in the west end zone, so Clay's INT happened right in front of me).

Of course, the 1989 Browns were running on fumes. They were blown out the following week in the AFC Championship by Elway and the Broncos. The Browns were catastrophically bad (3-13) during the 1990 season, and poor Bud barely made it to November. Modell fired him on November 5th, the day after they were annihilated by those same Bills, 42-0, and replaced him with interim coach Jim Shofner. Browns fans will recall that this was the game where Bud opted to start Mike Pagel instead of Bernie Kosar at QB, because he "had a gut feeling."

Bud had his troubles in Cleveland, but he will be remembered as one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL history. His most notable achievement was building the Steel Curtain defense for the Steelers of the 1970s. That's enough for any coach's career to be regarded as a success.

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