Wed, 12 Aug 2020

Lunchbreak: CBS Sports Ranks Zimmer 10th Among NFL Head Coaches

Minnesota Vikings
08 Jul 2020, 21:37 GMT+10

Believe it or not, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is already entering his seventh season at the helm in Minnesota.

And Zimmer, who was hired in January of 2014, is now tied for seventh among head coaches with the longest tenure with their current team. Houston's Bill O'Brien was hired two weeks before Zimmer).

Zimmer has built the Vikings into a consistent and successful franchise, as Minnesota has won 50 games over the past five seasons.

Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports recently praised Zimmer for the job he has done, as he ranked the 64-year-old as the league's 10th-best head coach.

Wagner-McGough wrote:

It still feels like Mike Zimmer is underappreciated. Here's what he's done as the Vikings' coach for the past six seasons:

He's won 59.9 percent of his games, good enough for a 57-38-1 record. He's been to the playoffs in half of his six seasons, even though he's been stuck in the same division as Aaron Rodgers.

As a defensive-minded coach, he always gets the most out of the Vikings' defense. In his six seasons, the Vikings' defense has ranked in the top-10 in points allowed five times. The only time they didn't finish in the top-10 came in his first season in charge, when they ranked 11th.

Zimmer isn't a perfect coach. He probably needs to win more playoff games to get more respect. But he's a defensive-minded coach who always gets results out of his defense.

As Wagner-McGough mentioned, Zimmer is 57-38-1 in Minnesota, which is good for the third-most wins and third-best winning percentage, trailing only Bud Grant and Dennis Green.

And since the Vikings went 7-9 in Zimmer's first season in 2014, Minnesota has not finished below .500 in the five seasons since.

New England's Bill Belichick is the league's longest-tenured coach with his current team, as he was hired in 2000. Belichick is followed by Sean Payton in New Orleans (2006), Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin (2007), Baltimore's John Harbaugh (2008), Seattle's Pete Carroll (2010) and Kansas City's Andy Reid (2013).

Zimmer and O'Brien are next on the list. Those two head coaches are scheduled to meet in Week 4 in Houston.

Visiting the Booth at Canterbury with P.A.

Paul Allen's been cemented as the "Voice of the Vikings" for more than two decades, but his style in calling football games on KFAN found its footing at Canterbury Park (and other horse racing tracks where Allen developed his style).

Chad Graff of The Athletic recently visited Allen in the booth at Canterbury Park for an in-depth profile.

Allen spent his first three years at the track rotating between Canterbury in the summer, then back to Bay Meadows for winter racing. A job at KFAN got him to move to Minnesota full-time and three years after that, he landed the gig calling Vikings games.

But Allen had never been a play-by-play announcer. He had called plenty of races but not a single football game.

"So for better or for worse in the early stages, when I was wilder and less refined than I am now, there were some plays in games that were rodeos," Allen said. "I was so up and down. I mean, I had bosses at KFAN tell me, you have to stop getting so depressed on the radio when they're not doing well, because we're losing listeners."

But as Allen refined his style, he leaned on what he knew. Announcing horse racing is all about building a crescendo and so is each play in football. That part came easy. So he took more of what he learned at the horse track and brought it to the football field. His calls sounded different because of it.

"And he crosses the 50, makes a man misses at the 40 and so-and-so isssssss goneeeeeeee, as opposed to 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, touchdown," Allen said as an example. "So then I have other play-by-play guys being like, 'Whoa, man, we've never heard that.' So I brought a bunch of stuff like that that nobody had ever heard. But I had been doing it here. It was just unconventional."

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