As I’ve stated before, my father was a wish man. He was a great teacher, even if I wasn't always an exemplary student. He believed happiness was a mindset. The ability to focus on the positive rather than the negative. The decision to count one's blessings instead of the daily struggles. He believed it was important to know your place in the world and be content therein. For me, that was always easier said than done.
My dad was an exceptional valve mechanic. Customers would send him work from all parts of the country. He loved what he was doing for a living. He repeatedly turned down promotions, usually management positions that would have meant more money and prestige, to remain a valve mechanic. I was shocked when I learned he had turned down multiple opportunities for advancement, and I asked him why. He said "It wasn't worth the cost to me. I am happy and content where I am." I had just received another valuable lesson.
Word out of Cleveland this week suggests the Browns are considering offering Mike Munchak an interview at season's end for their next head-coaching position. That’s understandable considering Munchak has proven to be an outstanding coach with an impressive pedigree. Furthermore he’s an upstanding human being who would bring character and credibility to any coaching staff.
There are a couple of problems with this development, if accurate. The first issue is that the Steelers need Professor Munchak desperately. The Steelers actually won their last couple of Super Bowls in spite of their offensive lines. Ben Roethlisberger was often running for his life back then, and he took a pounding those early years. To be fair, the Steelers O-line always had a standout player or two through those years, but those lines were never considered elite by any stretch of the imagination.
That all changed with the acquisition of Mr. Munchak.
Munchak routinely takes lemons and makes lemonade. He has two outstanding first-round talents at his disposal in Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro, but the rest of the line is mix-and-match. He regularly takes an undrafted piece of clay and carefully molds his next masterpiece. Matt Feiler's performance this past Sunday is the latest example of his work in action.
Munchak is the rare exception to the rule — a great player who also turns out to be a great teacher. Usually great players prove incapable of finding a connection with their less-talented pupils. Munchak was an all-time great player, as evidenced by his Hall of Fame credentials. But he also excels at teaching blocking fundamentals to his group of eager students, and with exemplary results. His players love him and want to perform well for him. They sing his praises and acknowledge his impact on their development.
The second issue I have with Munchak being considered for the Browns’ head-coaching position is that I feel it would be a terrible decision for Munchak and his family. Mike has already turned down at least one interview for a head-coaching position because he and his family are happy in Pittsburgh — his words, not mine.
I have no idea if Munchak ever wants to be a head coach again. He’s the best offensive line coach in the business. But in his first opportunity as a head coach — not so much. All I know for sure is that the Steelers need him. He loves the Steelers and we love him right back.
Remember that it’s better to be content and happy, and no matter the question, Cleveland is never the answer.