A friend sent me like 1000 words on late Sunday night. So what I’ve decided to do is slap the M?M?BP tag on that and say we don’t deserve the meritocracy that is the M?M?BP this week. Enjoy this instead, even though you are unworthy.
The Flexbone: In Memoriam
Q: Why write this?
A: In short, because being a Tech fan is mostly an act of masochism. The only way a bunch of detail-oriented nit-picking engineers can effectively process pain is examine and unpack that pain in excruciating detail in hopes of giving context to the failure.
I also may have rage-posted about the irony and incredulity of losing to an 0-2 FCS team, while that FCS team ran an offense that has been the butt of enumerable jokes and angst within the Tech fanbase.
As one of those masochistic, nit-picking engineers, this might be the only way I can process the worst Tech loss in my lifetime and the worst since my father was a Freshman at Tech in 1983.
Fulfilling this obligation will hopefully help me cope and find some hope for the future; as Ledger put it ...
The biggest complaint I have with (selected) Tech fans over the past eleven years, is the complete lack of appreciation for what the flexbone gave Tech. Not only did the flexbone give us an identity, it gave results that haven’t been replicated at Tech since the man whose name adorns our stadium coached for us.
To illustrate just how facepalm-inducing these fans’ hatred of the offense is, let’s imagine over the next ten years of Coach Collins’ career at Tech, he would do the following:
- Qualify for 8 bowl games
- Finish with 9 wins or more four times
- Finish with 11 wins twice
- Finish in the top half of the Coastal division eight times
- Win the Coastal division outright twice
- Beat u[sic]ga three times
- Play in the Orange Bowl twice
- Win the Orange Bowl once
Please, find me the Tech fan that would be unsatisfied with these results. I beg you. I hope that finally receiving the pain and frustration of trying to stop a flexbone offense will frame how they view the last eleven years.
Just ask Will Redmond (#2) and Ryan Brown (#48) how silly the flexbone makes you look:
Or maybe ask Brandon Thompson (#98) (at the 1:01:00 mark):
The Scheme > The Man
The offense and the man who invented it are often inseparable in people’s minds, but this offense has proven its legitimacy through the success of those on the Johnson coaching tree.
Jeff Monken led Army to back-to-back 9+-win seasons for first time since World War II ended, finished ranked for the first time in 22 years, and seem poised to repeat that feat this year. Two of the three losses that Army have suffered in the past 2 seasons include taking consistent national powerhouses Oklahoma and Michigan to overtime, both while on a hostile field.
Since taking over from the master of the flexbone, Ken Niumatalolo has led Navy to two T-1 finishes in the American Conference, the first 11-win season in school history and six straight bowl appearances.
Brian Bohannon took over the first Kennesaw State football team EVER in 2015, and just completed back-to-back 11+-win seasons. Tech plays KSU in 2021, so we might well be in store for more flexbone-induced pain.
Q: If success is apparent, why do people oppose the offense?
A: (IMO) There is no rational reason to oppose the offensive scheme on principle alone. The only logically consistent reason I can come up with is that people feel insecure looking and being different.
I cannot help but see the similarities of the flexbone offense and the unconventional strategies of the Oakland A’s in the early 2000’s, made famous in the book/film that gave us our opening gif. I loved the quirky, “Moneyball” scheme, and I loved that Tech was the only P5 school brave and innovative enough to give the offense a home. It also matched our sense of innovation and our “un-cool”/geeky identity.
To quote Spencer Hall of the Banner Society and the Shutdown Fullcast “the triple option is like using a belly-putter.” Yes, it gets the job done, but you have to not give a [Soundgarden] what you look like or what people say.
Lest we forget, belly-putters would still be in use by professional golfers if they weren’t banned by the PGA. The only bound on success with one is the lack of confidence with which you use it. Adam Scott used a belly putter, and he won the Masters with it.
Do you think he cares how it looks? I don’t [Foghat]in’ think so.
Q: Is there hope for Tech’s (flexbone-less) future?
A: Of course so (though maybe not this season); there are always reasons for hope. Many successful coaches suffered bad losses in their first years at Tech.
BIll Curry went (1-9-1) and (1-10) his first two years, and those painful seasons occurred before losing to Furman in 1983 (the last time that Tech lost to an FCS team). In more modern times, the (1-11) 1994 campaign ended Bill Lewis’ tenure and started George O’Leary’s. Bobby Ross even started his Tech career with (2-9) and (3-8) records. Curry went on to have a successful (9-2) 1985 season and O’Leary built a successful program, from almost nothing, winning 8+ games from 1998-2001. And, of course, Ross was responsible for the only Georgia Tech national title since the integration of the South.
There’s still a bright future for Tech football out there, and we’re entering a new era of long overdue commitment to athletics (cough cough AI 2020).
We will mourn this game, and the loss stings all the more for those of us that relished the pure schadenfreude of watching more talented teams come to Bobby Dodd Stadium, only to get their [Alice Cooper] beat without us even attempting to pass. Hopefully this eulogy has conveyed the mourning of the fact that this version of Tech will no longer be that agent of schadenfreude, and has become the victim.
Onward and upward friends, we sure can’t seem to go lower.