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Lions' Cunningham: Back in my day we didn't have the wildcat

Gunther Cunningham, the 63-year-old defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, longs for the good old days when men were men and opposing offenses used the “three yards and a cloud of dust” approach.

Today, Cunningham says, the whippersnappers with their newfangled wildcat formations drive him crazy.

“The sad thing is the NFL’s going towards the college game, and I hate it,” Cunningham told the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t care what people say about me for making a comment like that. But it’s taken five years for the NFL to change to this five wide receivers and Wildcat stuff. I remember when Jim Brown was running the ball. That’s what football is to me.”

Cunningham thinks the modern breed of offensive coordinators are getting too creative for their own good.

“The offensive guys are really cute,” Cunningham said. “They really are. I admire them. They must sit in the office 24 hours a day trying to figure out how they can screw up the defenses. And with the way the rules are, they’ve got it going. They’ve got all the guys on the competition committee and they come up with all these formations.”

Cunningham says he’s confident the NFL will move back to his preferred brand of football some day, because, in Cunningham’s view, the wildcat and spread offense put quarterbacks at risk.

“Do I like it? No,” Cunningham said. “Somewhere along the line the quarterbacks are going to start going down. Then I’ll be able to say I told you so, because when the Run and Shoot came in, I said that. I said I’ll give it four years, and it’ll be over. And it was – dead, in the water. All the quarterbacks were laying down on the ground.”

One of Cunningham’s players, rookie safety Louis Delmas, was fined this week for unnecessary roughness. In Cunningham’s view, that fine is a badge of honor.

“I know he got a penalty, and he should have,” Cunningham said. “But boy, I couldn’t help but smile because this kid knows how to play the game. He’s just got to time it up better. In the old days, that wasn’t a penalty.”

There’s a certain charm in Cunningham’s old-school approach, but there’s just one problem: The defense he coordinates ranks last in the league. Maybe Cunningham ought to open his mind to some 21st Century strategic innovations.

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39 Responses to “Lions' Cunningham: Back in my day we didn't have the wildcat”
  1. Fart Face Killa says: Dec 3, 2009 6:42 PM

    Yea… He needs to stop trying to defend against the “three yards and a cloud of dust” and try to stop those 5 WR sets with 60 Yard bombs.
    He’s stupid. He’s showing his unwillingness to change, and it should cost him his job. But with those morons in Detroit.. IDK if that will happen.

  2. mustbechris says: Dec 3, 2009 6:43 PM

    This dude’s senile. Holy sh*t.

  3. GoBrowns19 says: Dec 3, 2009 6:45 PM

    I feel the same way he does, but he sounds like a coach about to get really good at fishing.

  4. DukeOfDway says: Dec 3, 2009 6:50 PM

    Damn whippersnappers with their Wildcat and their hip-hop!! Back in MY day we used to HEY!! GET OFF MY LAWN!!!
    …damn kids

  5. jeffz303 says: Dec 3, 2009 6:52 PM

    It just goes to show you that someone can read a lot and be a good family man, but still be dumber than a freaking rock. I’m a Chiefs fan (shut up), and I couldn’t believe it when they named this buffoon head coach, and then brought him back as D-coordinator! THANK GOD Carl Peterson is gone.

  6. myanrellick says: Dec 3, 2009 6:53 PM

    Fart Face – - Your comment about his “unwillingness to change” kind of doesn’t make sense. He can’t change how offenses play, because he is the defensive coordinator. He should NOT be fire for that reason.
    Consider how putrid our defense is. Well, then maybe. But look at all those horrible holdover players first.

  7. texasPHINSfan says: Dec 3, 2009 6:54 PM

    Those dang Whippersnappers what with their wild cats!
    lol
    Come on gramps…

  8. Poo Flinging Monkey says: Dec 3, 2009 6:55 PM

    I bet he still records Matlock on VHS, too.

  9. Ben Bernanke says: Dec 3, 2009 6:56 PM

    Great post

  10. emg72 says: Dec 3, 2009 6:58 PM

    Loretta Bell: How’d you sleep?
    Ed Tom Bell: I don’t know. Had dreams.
    Loretta Bell: Well you got time for ‘em now. Anythin’ interesting?
    Ed Tom Bell: They always is to the party concerned.
    Loretta Bell: Ed Tom, I’ll be polite.
    Ed Tom Bell: Alright then. Two of ‘em. Both had my father in ‘em . It’s peculiar. I’m older now then he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he’s the younger man. Anyway, first one I don’t remember too well but it was about meeting him in town somewhere, he’s gonna give me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin’ through the mountains of a night. Goin’ through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin’. Never said nothin’ goin’ by. He just rode on past… and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. ‘Bout the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.

  11. owumd says: Dec 3, 2009 7:01 PM

    Fact is, none of the teams that use the offenses he’s lamenting are in any way competitive. For all the sound and fury of the Wildcat, it hasn’t even dented the competitive landscape of the league. The Saints, Colts, Vikings, Bengals, Packers, and Titans are all playing the same brands of football that we’ve seen over the past 15 or so years.
    So, I’m with Gunther, even if the combination of these statements and his defense’s ranking makes him an easy target.

  12. NYV says: Dec 3, 2009 7:01 PM

    Seriously, Gunther? Sooooo, defenses can switch between 3-4 and 4-3, run stunts, disguise defensive alignments and coverages, but the offenses have to run a plain vanilla package and try to gain yards up the middle, or else they’re being cute??
    Maybe you just took one too many shots to the head back in your leather helmet days.
    But don’t worry…I expect that you’ll be able to get a better understanding of all the newest offensive packages next season when you’re home on the couch watching the games.

  13. SC21 says: Dec 3, 2009 7:04 PM

    Newsflash Gunther: the Wildcat isn’t new. It may have gone away for a while, but the idea dates back decades. There is nothing new under the sun, and that’s especially true in the NFL.

  14. Citizen Strange says: Dec 3, 2009 7:04 PM

    Jim Thorpe called Jim Brown a pussy for only playing offense.

  15. nfcbeast says: Dec 3, 2009 7:06 PM

    ” I don’t like change! Get me my prune juice and my newspaper, gotta see whats hot off the press about this.”

  16. Draft King says: Dec 3, 2009 7:14 PM

    Keep in mind that Gunther Cunningham also hated Family Fun Night while with the Chiefs.

  17. InnocentCriminal says: Dec 3, 2009 7:19 PM

    The wildcat is interesting and can be very effective, if you run it like the dolphins do with all their RBs. When you split your QB out wide, that is just asinine. Everyone knows youre not going to be dumb enough to actually throw to him and put him at serious risk (unless youre the Browns.) So you can focus more defenders elsewhere.

  18. TFBuckFutter says: Dec 3, 2009 7:19 PM

    Does anyone else remember Adam Sandler doing this exact character on Weekend Update way back when?

  19. SwedishMurderMachine says: Dec 3, 2009 7:19 PM

    Running 5 wide recievers or the wildcat …
    That’s a paddlin’

  20. danmateus75 says: Dec 3, 2009 7:23 PM

    I’m old and I’m not happy. Everything today is improved and I don’t like it. I hate it! In my day we didn’t have hair dryers. If you wanted to blow dry your hair you stood outside during a hurricane. Your hair was dry but you had a sharp piece of wood driven clear through your skull and that’s the way it was and you liked it! You loved it. Whoopee, I’m a human head-kabob. We didn’t have Manoxidol and Hair Wings, in my day if your hair started falling out when you were 16 by 19 you were a bald freak. There was nothing you could do about it. Children would spit at you and nobody would mate with you so you couldn’t pass on your disgusting baldness genes. You were a public menace, a crome dome by age 20 and that’s the way it was and we liked it! We loved it. Hallelujiah look at me, I’m a bald freak oh happy day! Not like today, everybody feeling good about themselves. I hate it! In my day we didn’t have these thin laytex condoms. So you could enjoy sexual pleasure. In my day there was only one kind of condom. You took a rabbit skin and wrapped around your privates and tied it off with a bungee cord and you couldn’t feel nothing! And half the time you didn’t even know your partner was there. And we used the same one over and over again! ‘Cause we were ignorant morons! Just a bunch of hairless, head-kabobs standing around with rabbit skins on our dinks and that’s the way we liked it!

  21. redskins4lyfe says: Dec 3, 2009 7:24 PM

    Goes to show Gunther doesn’t get it. The Wildcat basically boils down to the single-wing, which has been around damn near since leather football helmets. Also the so called new spread offense and shotgun were around when Gunther and Jim Brown were small kids so this guy is way off on knowing about football. Probably explains why the lions defense is ranked last…

  22. DocBG says: Dec 3, 2009 7:26 PM

    to hell with this wildcat business, lets bring back the single wing formation used back in 50′s (i believe). You know, the one where the QB lines up as a reciever and they snap the ball directly to the RB….
    oh wait….
    wildcat is nothing but a certain team (i.e. dolphins) name for that particular package. the funniest name for it has to go the eagles when they snap to vick with mcnabb off the field, they call it spread eagle. The broncos call it wild horses, i forget what in the hell the vikes called it the 3 times they ran it, but the term itself is getting a little obnoxious. call it single wing like it used to be, then gunther might be able to dust off some plays to beat it, thats probably whats pissing him off.

  23. JDOGG says: Dec 3, 2009 7:26 PM

    I knew KC would move up a spot in Defensive ranks once “Gun” was hired to run another team’s defense. For years offenses got healthy by playing KC. I just miss his profanity laced interviews. Go Gun!

  24. Fart Face Killa says: Dec 3, 2009 7:28 PM

    I’m saying that what he is acting, is like he doesn’t want to change his DEFENSE to play against the offenses. Maybe he should spend more time in the film room like the OCs and come up with a way to stop the offenses.
    It’s not back in his day any more. And I didn’t even comment on the Wild Cat, I commented on the 5 WR sets.
    And actually, Miami ran the Wild Cat quite well this year. So when you say it doesn’t work, take a look at around the league at the teams that use it.

  25. CanadianVikingFan says: Dec 3, 2009 8:00 PM

    So the old bastard is willing to let teams beat him with these fancy trick plays and new offenseive schemes, just because he thinks it’s not real football? What a douche.. GTFO old man, why do they keep you?

  26. texasPHINSfan says: Dec 3, 2009 8:06 PM

    The Wildcat works well if you have a good triggerman that gets the reps in practice.

  27. waterboy says: Dec 3, 2009 8:50 PM

    Only one way to stop seeing the wildcat Gunther, design a defensive strategy to stop it!! Until then shut up and be a gracious loser!

  28. slipkid says: Dec 3, 2009 8:57 PM

    the wildcat really isnt new. high school teams run stuff like that all the time, colleges frequently use it, and pro teams used to until the 60s.
    gunther should know this. he needs to use his brain.
    figure it out, man up, and stop it.

  29. dewalt2990 says: Dec 3, 2009 9:20 PM

    Just gotta draft some more talent for Gun!

  30. NateAzusa says: Dec 3, 2009 9:36 PM

    He has a good couple of pieces, that safety he mentions and the linebacker Levy is playing well. I think he will be alright and once he gets some more material he will be able to defend against the spread.

  31. JunkYardDogg1156 says: Dec 3, 2009 9:59 PM

    danmateus75 says: December 3, 2009 7:23 PM
    I’m old and I’m not happy. Everything today is improved and I don’t like it. I hate it! In my day we didn’t have hair dryers. If you wanted to blow dry your hair you stood outside during a hurricane. Your hair was dry but you had a sharp piece of wood driven clear through your skull and that’s the way it was and you liked it! You loved it. Whoopee, I’m a human head-kabob. We didn’t have Manoxidol and Hair Wings, in my day if your hair started falling out when you were 16 by 19 you were a bald freak. There was nothing you could do about it. Children would spit at you and nobody would mate with you so you couldn’t pass on your disgusting baldness genes. You were a public menace, a crome dome by age 20 and that’s the way it was and we liked it! We loved it. Hallelujiah look at me, I’m a bald freak oh happy day! Not like today, everybody feeling good about themselves. I hate it! In my day we didn’t have these thin laytex condoms. So you could enjoy sexual pleasure. In my day there was only one kind of condom. You took a rabbit skin and wrapped around your privates and tied it off with a bungee cord and you couldn’t feel nothing! And half the time you didn’t even know your partner was there. And we used the same one over and over again! ‘Cause we were ignorant morons! Just a bunch of hairless, head-kabobs standing around with rabbit skins on our dinks and that’s the way we liked it!
    ____________________________________
    ROFL – too funny bro LOL

  32. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Dec 3, 2009 10:07 PM

    I don’t remember quarterbacks laying on the ground for the Falcons in their final years of the old run-and-shoot days. LOTS of 3 and outs though. And O linemen with an average age of 32 years. And D linemen not up to NFL level talent. And another bad player acquistion in CB Patrick Bates. But there was lil’ Terance Mathis and bruising Ironhead Heyward (R.I.P).
    Matty Ice and co. ain’t lookin’ so bad after all. Fly Falcons fly…

  33. scrapdawg12 says: Dec 3, 2009 11:38 PM

    They also used a rock as a football in those days

  34. mr_snrub says: Dec 4, 2009 1:05 AM

    He reminds me of our old fantasy football commissioner who refused to give points for completions, receptions, and individual special teams touchdowns because they violated some ancient running stud back theory of some sort. Now he’s constantly searching for a new league.

  35. Garbanzo says: Dec 4, 2009 1:22 AM

    This is the same guy that acted like a bitch after playing the Bears at the turn of the century with Gary Crowton’s “cute” offense. He needs to stfu, and focus on stopping the so called cute offenses.

  36. Kevin from Philly says: Dec 4, 2009 9:57 AM

    …and the same goes for those pussy plastic helmets too! Real men wear leather on their heads.

  37. mixman34 says: Dec 4, 2009 10:02 AM

    HAHA sounds like dude needs to hang it up. If he can’t catch up with the times? No wonder they suck something fierce. Their coordinator isn’t up to speed on the game!!!

  38. finsbooyah says: Dec 4, 2009 10:28 AM

    JunkYardDogg1156 , Hahaha 5/5
    Mr. Cunningham is from a different era. Back then, parents named their children Gunther

  39. eeerockski says: Dec 4, 2009 10:40 AM

    Detroit, in a nutshell.

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