Three National Championships, 12 conference championships, one Super Bowl victory – there’s not much that former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer didn’t do while still pacing the sidelines. With college football season less than 6 weeks away, Coach Switzer joined 680 The Fanin Atlanta to talk about his illustrious career, which job had more pressure – the Cowboys or Sooners gig – how he thinks his Dallas teams should have won two Super Bowls and why he thinks Brian Bosworth was one of the greatest players to ever play college football.
On former college linebacker great Brian Bosworth – both how good he was in college as well as why he doesn’t think he was a flop in the pros:
“Let me tell you I received a call one morning – this was back when coaches shows were just not being shown all over the country. My playback show was being shown in Tallahassee, Florida. I got a call one morning from Bobby Bowden. Bobby said to me, Barry, I’m going to tell you something – I watched your playback show and I have watched it all year long and I want to tell you something. I don’t think there’s a better and greater defensive force playing college football today than Brian Bosworth. He made that call simply for one reason – to make that statement to me. Bosworth was a great, great player. Yes he got on steroids like most of those guys did. It effected him in pro football as his shoulder got injured and deteriorated and it put him out of the game.
But here was a guy who was 6’4″, 240 pounds and could bench 450 and just played with a tenacious attitude and tremendous talent…He started every year in pro football so I don’t know why everyone thinks he was a failure. He started as a rookie the first day he got there. So he wasn’t a flop in pro football, he just didn’t play long enough for the hype that he made for himself in college, the stage he had made for himself. But he was a great football player.”
On if he was at all surprised that his coaching style translated so well from the college game to the professional ranks:
“Well first of all, if you go back and look at all of the coaches that are in pro football, most of them were in college before they ever went to pro – Parcells, Gibbs – all of them coached in college football before they coached pro football. Jimmy Johnson, what are you talking about. You can just go down the list. Very few coaches – you have to go back in to the 50s era – to get guys that played in the league then went in to pro coaching and stayed in the NFL. Most of your guys came out of college anyway. So..the satisfaction I got was I took over Jerry and Jimmy’s team – they put together a great football team. I went in at the start of free agency and the cap and we knew there would be deterioration from that point on. But, we had a nucleus of a great football team. My job was to keep in the middle of the road, keep between the ditches. I’m the only one who showed up if you remember – I didn’t get to bring my staff, I didn’t get to hire anybody. So it was me being able to manage the people there, the players and the coaches. I knew it was going to be tough at first but that I would win them over and that I had the management skills to get it done. Jerry believed in me and we proved it and got the job done.”
On his team’s early meltdown against the 49ers in the 1994 NFC Championship Game:
“Actually, we probably should have won two in a row, four in a row – two with Jimmy and two with us – if they had done what I told them to do that day against San Francisco and not got us down 21-0 in the first five minutes of the damn game; don’t throw interceptions and don’t turn the damn football over, then we would have won the damn game. Well, hell, we didn’t snap it twice and we were down 21-0 because of what, interceptions and fumble returns. It was a horror movie the first five minutes. You know what, I called them all together before we went out for our fourth kickoff down 21-0 and I said guys, you know what’s great – I had a big smile on my face – I said you know what’s great being down 21-0 in the first five minutes of the game. They all looked at me and were astounded. I said because we got 55 minutes to get back in this son of a bitch! And so we did, we got back within 7 but they hit Jerry Rice right before the half and separated again. So you know, either one of us was going to beat San Diego in the Super Bowl that year and next year we won it. So I had my run and it was good, there were good players and coaches there. I did my job and they did their job and that’s what happened.”
“You know, I wrote it for one reason – it was all because of what happened to me at the end of my career. It was the same thing that’s happened at every school in the country. You know, coaches are held accountable and responsible for the actions and behavior of the 100 kids that he coaches. Back then I had more than that, they only have 85 today, hell I had 150. And you know, they committed those felonies. I call it the doping and the raping and the shooting era.
Well you had that many things happen to you in a three month period and it’s hard to survive that. Only four people were involved and it had tremendous impact on our program and me and it wasn’t fair because 99.9% of the kids that come here, or have ever come here, are great kids and got their degrees and have been great ambassadors for this school. So, it’s something that happens to every program in the country and no one is immune to it. It’s a national epidemic and it will always happen.”