Mike Tice has been around the NFL for a very long time. He spent 14 years in the NFL, and the season after his playing career ended he joined the Minnesota Vikings staff as the tight ends coach, and by 2002 he had worked his way up to the franchise's head coach.
With that said, it's been my experience that NFL guys always seem to have the best analogies, and I saw one from Tice over the weekend that certainly fit the bill. Tice, who has spent his entire coaching career in the NFL with the offensive line, used an interesting comparison in his first meeting with the Oakland Raiders offensive line a few weeks ago.
“In my first meeting, and I do this every year at the start of the year, I’ll explain to them how I feel about the offensive line." Tice explained to Raiders.com.
“If you look at the offense like a fancy car, the offensive line is the engine. Even though we might have nice spinners and nice rims and tinted windows and some neat paint job, it doesn’t mean crap without the engine. If the engine’s not working, the car might look like a pretty nice car, but it’s a piece of crap.”
That leads me into a rather funny argument I had with a few coaching colleagues over the weekend. If the offensive line is the engine, how do other positions match up with the other various car parts. Here's what we came up with.
Running backs - Wheels
What more appropriate part for the running backs than the one on the ground pounding the pavement? The car / offense would be able to get from Point A to Point B without wheels, but it would take a whole lot longer, and it wouldn't be pretty.
Wide Receivers - Steering Wheel
You can march down the field with relative ease with just the wheels occasionally, but the steering wheel provides the means for an exciting detour, and some flash on occasion. You can live without it (barely), but driving the car would be a whole lot less fun.
Tight ends - Doors
You don't necessarily need them, but two or four of them make everything else look pretty damn good.
Quarterbacks - Gas pedal
The engine can be top notch, the wheels and steering wheel can be the best available, but the car isn't moving without the gas pedal.