Monday, January 11, 2016
BUD GRANT AND 'THE REVENANT'
It took only one moment to rinse away the stink from Saturday's night's game between
the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. When Bud Grant walked to mid-field
for the coin toss of the Seattle-Minnesota playoff game Sunday, all was good again
in the NFL.
Grant is the former Vikings coaching legend who drove his teams to four Super Bowls.
He looked like a coach out of central casting with a chiseled face, steely-blue eyes, and
the demeanor of a bad ass.
Grant retired from coaching in 1985 after 18 seasons with the Vikings. The all-time wins
leader in team history hasn't been seen much since then, and there were even many who
actually thought he had passed away.
On Sunday, Grant was 'The Revenant', making his return after a long time away from
the game and national spotlight. The return Grant made was the stuff of Hollywood
The 88-year-old Minnesota icon was the honorary captain for the Vikings, showing up
for the third coldest game in NFL history. At -6 degrees and with a wind-chill factor
of -25, the sell-out crowd showed up in five layers and Parkas. There may have been
a flask or two of Jack Daniels buried underneath all the clothing, as well.
Yet, there was Bud Grant in a polo shirt. Yep, just a thin shirt to protect him from the
bone-chilling temperatures. How tough is he? How great is that?
Grant has always been tough as nails and expected his players to be the same. When he coached
the Vikings and Old Man Winter took up residence in the Land of 10,000 lakes, Grant
didn't allow heaters on the sidelines for his team. Man up, he told his players, those who
are mentally tough don't let the weather affect them.
Grant knew how to deal with the antartic-like conditions, that's for sure. He coached
the Winnipeg Bombers of the Canadian Football League for 10 years, winning the title
four times before landing a job with the Vikings.
Sunday was a return of sorts for Grant, who went to the University of Minnesota where he
played three sports. After college, Grant played in the NBA for the Minnesota Lakers
and in the NFL with Philadelphia Eagles. He is the only person to play in the NFL
and NBA. When the Winnipeg Bombers opened a new stadium in 2014, they unveiled
a statue of him. Bud Grant is a god.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in 'The Revenant", which means a return from a long absence.
During filming, DiCaprio and the crew were in Calgary with sub-zero temperatures, going
take-after-take in some brutally tough scenes.
When I saw Grant come out in a -25 wind chill factor in a polo shirt, I thought for sure
he could've played DiCaprio's character in "The Revenant" because Bud Grant is just
that kind of tough.
They certainly don't make them like Bud Grant anymore.