It is indisputable that people enjoy different sports. It is also indisputable that people can enjoy the same sport in different ways. Growing up in the Deep South I prefer college football to the NFL. I also prefer international soccer to the various professional leagues. My college football team is South Carolina and I'm American so I follow our national team religiously. Being the sort that attempts to find obscure parallels within my interests I recently realized that the head coaches of my two favorite teams are virtually the same person. Yes, Steve Spurrier and Jurgen Klinsmann, the similarities are undeniable. Let me attempt to lay out my argument.
First lets look at their careers. Both enjoyed highly successful playing careers in their own right. Spurrier won a Heisman during his college days while Klinsmann is one of the best strikers Germany has ever produced. After both retired from their playing days they chose to enter into the coaching realm.
As coaches, both turned their teams into virtual world beaters while completely altering their teams playing style. Spurrier, at Florida, used his Fun and Gun offense to decimate the SEC and college football for over a decade. He is still considered the greatest coach in that programs history (sorry Urban) and completely changed the way college football is played. Jurgen enjoyed similar results as the coach of German national team. While Germany was already considered a world power that regularly contended for, and won, World Cups, Klinsmann came in and revamped the program by changing the way the team played, bringing in a much more versatile and free flowing system.
While both enjoyed enormous success in these initial stops both also flamed out at the "highest" level. (In soccer the "highest" level is debatable, but most consider the Champions League to be the pinnacle of the sport.) Spurrier bombed out of the NFL for various reasons -- Dan Snyder, no competent quaterback, general approach to his craft -- and very few would classify his stay in Washington as anything but a failure. Jurgen, was booted from his position as coach of Bayern Munich because apparently he just couldn't get on with his bosses.
After their respective failures both went back to the level where they had their most success. However, both took on jobs that were much, much more difficult than their previous stops. Spurrier took over a South Carolina program that had been declining for three years under a senile old man who does magic tricks with newspaper and let the inmates run the asylum. Furthermore, the South Carolina program has historically been mediocre at best, the high water mark prior to Spurrier was a ten win season that included a loss to Navy (not Roger Staubach Navy). The early years under Spurrier were okay at best but they were very much better than what had previously been in place. Lately, however, Spurrier has turned South Carolina into an undeniable power, their may not be a championship their yet -- no, I don't consider the SEC East title a championship -- but the program is very much one of the big boys now.
Jurgen took over an American national team that had very much stagnated under the previous coach. (It should be noted that Bob Bradley is a good coach and not a senile old man who purposely trolls his coworkers on TV.) Similar to South Carolina, our national team has been very mediocre historically. The national teams high water mark came in the 1930 World Cup, which presumably was played with a sheep kidney for a ball and cigarettes as prescribed medicinal devices (the good ol' days). While Jurgen has been at the helm of the national team for a shorter period of time than Spurrier has been at South Carolina the results are starting to become similar. (Klinsmann : Off year Gold Cup :: Spurrier : SEC East title).
Another similarity between the two is their general approach to coaching. Both are proponents of up beat, offensive styles. However, they also deal with their players in similar manners, particularly when it comes to their former positions. Is a striker having a dip in form? Jurgen says sit down. Is the QB doing stupid things? Spurrier says, "welp, lets give the walk on a shot, because if I can hit a 4 iron 220 yards at 68 then this kid can surely play quality quarterback against Alabama." (Granted, that logic may be a bit flimsy.) Furthermore, both don't really give a crap about any sissy emotional stuff that may be affecting a player. Landy-cakes wants some time off to find himself? "Well that's just silly, lets bring in obscure MLS player X to replace him." A freshman linebacker isn't adjusting properly? "Well, my defensive coordinator better figure that out I have this Banquet beer to drink."
Lastly, both have funny accents and peculiar mannerisms. (Jurgen may not "technically" be peculiar, but rather simply foreign, however, it's peculiar to me and this is my article.) Both, also, simply care very little about what you may think of them. They both simply know they are among the best to ever take the field in their sport and both are going to carry TONS of swag around.
Am I grasping at straws here? Probably, but hell, we don't have another game until September I need something to occupy my time. Who do y'all think some of our boys can be compared too? (I also think Connor Shaw and Michael Bradley may be the same person.)
As always, Go Go USA,
Nathanael Greene (Cornwallis ain't got nothing on me)