Hall of Fame Coach & Creator of the West Coast Offense Bill Walsh Profiled on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

‘Bill Walsh: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, January 23 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network

“I look for the roots of Bill [Walsh] in places that I’m visiting and they’re always there. The game was coached, played, managed [and] owned in a very archaic way for a long time. Bill changed that fundamentally at every level forever.” – Steve Young

He was labeled a genius, but he also was an insecure, tortured artist. After revolutionizing the NFL with the team of the 1980s, Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh wrote a book that has become the bible for generations of football coaches.

NFL Network’s series A Football Life continues Friday, January 23 at 9:00 PM ET with Bill Walsh, one of the most successful and revolutionary coaches in NFL history. The special 90-minute NFL Films-produced documentary includes interviews and revelations from former and current NFL coaches, current and former NFL players, the co-author of his book, Finding the Winning Edge, former San Francisco 49er officials and his children Craig and Liz. Bill Walsh: A Football Life also addresses the emotional toll Walsh dealt with throughout his football life.

Following the premiere of Bill Walsh: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now, the League’s next-generation video service. Providing fans access to the largest digital library of NFL video anywhere, NFL Now dynamically personalizes each fan’s viewing experience, allowing them to follow their favorite NFL teams and players. Visit NFL.com/now for more information.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Among the topics discussed in Bill Walsh: A Football Life are:

  • His opinion on being called a ‘genius’
  • The desire to be perfect
  • A behind-the-scenes look at his transition from an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals to the head coach with the San Francisco 49ers
  • What it was like when Paul Brown told other football organizations that Bill Walsh wasn’t cut out for a head coaching position
  • How he felt after retiring
  • His relationship with his players and coaches
  • Almost trading quarterback Joe Montana

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Bill Walsh: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Bill Walsh

Liz Walsh – Bill’s daughter                

Craig Walsh – Bill’s son                    

Joe Montana – Hall of Fame quarterback               

Steve Young – Hall of Fame quarterback

Jerry Rice – Hall of Fame wide receiver

Dwight Clark – Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver

Ronnie Lott – Hall of Fame safety

Randy Cross – Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman

Brian Billick – Former Super Bowl-winning head coach

Bill Parcells – Hall of Fame head coach

Bill Belichick – New England Patriots head coach

Mike Ditka – Former Super Bowl-winning head coach

Dick Vermeil – Former Super Bowl-winning head coach

John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens head coach

Andy Reid – Kansas City Chiefs head coach

Sam Wyche – Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. – Former San Francisco 49ers owner

Carmen Policy – Former San Francisco 49ers executive

Condoleezza Rice – Former Stanford provost

Jim Peterson – Co-author, Finding the Winning Edge

Provided below are some select quotes from Bill Walsh: A Football Life:

“I look for the roots of Bill in places that I’m visiting and they’re always there. The game was coached, played, managed, [and] owned in a very archaic way for a long time. Bill changed that fundamentally at every level forever.”Steve Young

“It’s the Bible of football coaching.” John Harbaugh

“I wish I would’ve enjoyed it more because those were the truly golden years.”Bill Walsh

“It just wasn’t good enough you know? But that sort of seemed to be how a lot of things had been for him. Even if this was a success he would still somehow find a way to not consider it one.”Liz Walsh

“At the start of my third year, I just wanted our team to have some respect in the National Football League because we didn’t.”Bill Walsh

“He would put plays in in meetings sometimes and say, ‘You don’t have to flinch when you catch this, there won’t be anyone around. You’ll be wide open’…You’d catch it and get ready to get hit and turn around and he would be right. Nobody would be there.”Dwight Clark

“You can’t say Bill Walsh without the word genius goes with it. He was offended by that. That intimates that this is just some intuitive knowledge that came to me from divine inspiration as opposed to the painstaking years of developing what is laid out in this book.”Brian Billick

“Bill would often talk about the term genius as embarrassing and he wished it would just disappear and go away but the truth of the matter is he loved it. He absolutely loved it.” Carmen Policy

“Our system of football sustained itself and we refined it further and further each year until at some point it might even have even been an art form.”Bill Walsh

“That’s why he was such a great leader. He got the best out of people.”Condoleezza Rice

“I think Bill Walsh was from another planet to be honest with you. He was so far ahead.”Jerry Rice

“For every person that said that we were finesse, he wanted to go punch them in the mouth.”Ronnie Lott

“When he quit, there were a lot of guys that wanted to win the Super Bowl so bad the following year because we wanted to prove that we could win it without him. That became the battle cry that year.”Ronnie Lott

“He was just a great coach, a great man and great person. I wish I had a lot more time with him.”Joe Montana

“He was calling Joe [Montana] and I in and Bill [Walsh] was like, ‘Joe, I’m playing Steve today.’ You know this is Joe Montana right? ‘Steve’s got a set of plays and I’m going to put him in so just know that’s coming.’ You could see Joe…If Joe had a knife there was a problem.”Steve Young


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