When NFL playoffs begin today, it will be unheralded coaches leading the way (1 Viewer)


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By Brian Allee-Walsh/The Times-Picayune

Even the shrewdest prognosticator might have strayed too far outside the box by picking Atlanta, Baltimore and Miami to make the playoffs when the 2008 season kicked off in September.

Each finished at the bottom of its division in 2007, prompting coaching changes at all three franchises, a new general manager in Atlanta and a complete makeover in the football operations in Miami, where the Dolphins narrowly escaped going 0-16 with a win in overtime against the Ravens in Week 15.

Yet, here we are, wild-card weekend, and the Falcons, Ravens and Dolphins still are chugging along the road to Super Bowl XLIII, thanks largely to the inspired efforts of their rookie head coaches, Mike Smith, John Harbaugh and Tony Sparano, each a relatively obscure NFL assistant before this season who asked his team a simple question: "Why not us?"

Full Story - The Times-Picayune

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