It's No Cliche: Knox Among Best in NFL

United Press International

Seattle Seahawk Coach Chuck Knox often uses cliches to express himself and critics say his teams are predictable. But Knox has made the Seahawks an NFL power and his stature has risen to that held by Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Tom Landry.

In a 12-year career that has taken him from the Los Angeles Rams to Buffalo and Seattle, Knox has compiled a 112-62-1 record, a winning percentage of .643 that ranks second among active head coaches with more than 100 victories. Only Miami Coach Don Schula's winning percentage of .730 is higher.

Knox' winning percentage is seventh on the all-time coaches' list. Former Oakland Raiders Coach John Madden heads that list, while the Dallas Cowboys' Landry is eighth. Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers is not in the top 10.

Knox is 12th on the all-time victories list led by the late George Halas, the "Papa Bear" of the Chicago Bears, who had 320. Shula is third with 227 victories, Landry fourth with 223 and Noll eighth with 142.

Under Knox, the Rams won five National Football Conference West Division titles, while Buffalo won an American Football Conference East Division championship and qualified for the playoffs three other times. The Seahawks posted a 12-4 record last season -- their best since joining the NFL in 1976 -- and advanced to the playoffs for the second-straight time since Knox joined the team in 1983. Some pre-season prognosticators predict Seattle will reach the Super Bowl this season.

What Noll, Shula and Landry have that Knox doesn't are Super Bowl championships. Noll has led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles, while Landry and the Cowboys have won two and Shula's Dolphins also have won a pair.

The knock on Knox is that he can't get his teams into the big one, a rap some critics say is because you always know what his teams are going to do. Seattle president and general manager Mike McCormack, a former offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns and head coach for Baltimore and Philadelphia, disputes that.

McCormack said injuries last year, particularly a knee injury suffered by star running back Curt Warner in the season-opening game that knocked him out of the rest of the campaign, threw Knox' "predictable" tag back in the critics' faces.

"Chuck went from 'Ground Chuck' to "Air Knox' and turned it around," said McCormack, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "He had a quarterback (Dave Krieg) who threw for 3,671 yards and 32 touchdowns. Only six other men in the history of the game have done that.

"He does emphasize the run, but he's also able to throw the ball when he wants to and he throws it effectively."

Winning a Super Bowl is what all coaches strive for, but it's not the only yardstick by which they're measured, McCormack said.

"Look at Shula," McCormack said. "After he left Baltimore (following the Colts' 16-7 loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III) and went to Miami in 1970, they said he couldn't win the big one. Look what happened afterward.

"They say the same thing about Chuck, but you have to remember that to get to the Super Bowl things have to break right for you. And I'm convinced the Super Bowl is in Chuck's detiny someplace."

Seattle offensive coordinator Ray Prochaska is entering his 13th season as Knox' assistant. He concedes their teams are predictable.

"Sure, we're going to run the ball, but where the hell is the football going?" Prochaska asked. "Where's the back going to run to? They can't predict that."

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