Archive for the ‘Tributes’ Category

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of one of the most famous plays in 49er history.  I submit to you the diagram (from the appendix of Bill Walsh’s book, Building a Champion) of the play Walsh, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark made famous – simply known as “The Catch”:

On the play (Brown Left Slot – Sprint Right Option), Montana’s first option was to sprint-out and hit Freddie Solomon (#88) in the front corner of the end zone.  Fullback Earl Cooper (#49) and halfback Lenvil Elliott (#35) set the edge for Montana as he started his sprint-out to the right.  The offensive line reached on the front-side and hinged on the back-side.  The Dallas Cowboys were playing tight man to man coverage.  When Solomon was covered, Montana drifted away from the pursuing defensive linemen, allowing Clark time to change direction and lose his man, Everson Walls (#24).  He pumped once as he processed his options (1-flat, 2-over, 3-run) and a second time to get the taller defensive linemen to jump, providing a clear path to get rid of the ball.  Finally, he lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone where only Clark (#87) could reach it.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dwight Clark makes a leaping catch to send the 49ers into the Super Bowl

Enjoy the following short clip of a young Chris Berman and his live coverage of the play that started it all:


I just found out that Bud O’Connor passed away.

I can still remember an August morning in the high school auditorium.

Humma humma! … Daylight’s a burnin’!” the gritty offensive line coach hollered.

Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror blared from the speaker.

Coach Bud would put his trucker’s hat on and knowingly smile as he delighted in waking the team up before 6am.

Up we would go on our morning run.

Coach Bud made a kid want to be a better person.

He was demanding but flexible, always motivating, ever positive.

If you didn’t do it right this time then “dad-gummit,” you’d do it right next time.

You had better focus.  He could challenge you at any time… make you stand up for what you believe in.

Getting ready to play football.

Getting ready for life.

Much love and respect to a great teacher.

R.I.P. Coach Bud

Those were the words of the Navy SEAL commander on scene, as he shouted the code-name for mission success, signaling Osama bin Laden was dead.

Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens addressed NBC Today’s Matt Lauer when he was asked about the level of anxiety the elite troops must have been experiencing once they found out who their target was:

“The word is that when they heard that bin Laden was their target, there was a huge cheer that went up.  They were excited for the mission.  They had been practicing for it for months.  They’d been relentlessly going through every possible contingency.  Obviously adrenaline was high, extraordinarily excited, but these are professionals who were ready for this operation…”

The Navy SEAL Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage

As Americans we can be proud of the job that this group of men accomplished in the name of sovereignty.  After a lifetime of devotion to their chosen profession and way of life, and dedicating the last nine and a half years to the retribution of the 9/11 attacks, the men responsible for this significant moment in American History label themselves as, “the quiet professionals.”

In terms of training for this specific mission, it is safe to say that SEAL Team 6 DEVGRU was certainly coached up and ready for success.  Just look at the way they meticulously prepared for the raid, in which they actually only spent a total of 40 minutes on the ground after months and months of drilling different contingency plans and tactical skills.  What to do and how to react over and over again, essentially taking the thinking out of it once they got to game time.

They were creating a stimulus response process for Seal Team 6, in light of all possible scenarios they could encounter, to ensure that when the bullets started to fly they could remain calm and let their years of expert training combined with their pre-conditioned response for this event take over.

Ed Winters, Rear Admiral in charge of the Navy SEALs, released a statement concerning the plight of his quiet professionals:

“Today we should all be proud.  That handful of courageous men, of strong will and character have changed the course of history…the fight is not over”

According to Greitens, speed, surprise, and violence in action are the core SEAL principles in creating overwhelming force in their warfare tactics.  With a high alert for retaliation from al-Qeada loyalists, we will need to continue to call on SEAL Team 6 and others in defense of our freedom.  And I stand confident that they will be ready to accept that call:

“My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans, always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.”

– United States SEAL Philosophy

Great stuff.  These guys make me proud to be an American.

Here are some quality links to MSNBC’s coverage of the mission behind the termination of bin Laden:

Who are the men of Seal Team Six?

Retired Navy captain and former Navy SEAL, Dick Couch, discusses the Seal Team Six operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Practice makes perfect mission, former SEALs say

Former Navy SEALs Eric Greitens and Michael Sheehan discuss the intense preparation work the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six carried out in advance of their dangerous mission to seize al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden at his hidden compound in Pakistan.

Behind the walls of bin Laden’s secretive compound

In Pakistan the bin Laden compound has become a focus for local curiosity seekers. He may have lived behind the walls there undetected for as long as six years. ITV’s Bill Neely reports from Abbottabad.