Former 49ers head coach and general manager Bill Walsh is considered one of the greatest talent evaluators in NFL history. Walsh’s team’s won three Super Bowls during his decade long-tenure as head coach, and featured a number of Hall of Famers including quarterback Steve Young.
Young joined Tolbert & Lund on Wednesday afternoon, and detailed Walsh’s cutthroat approach to dealing with players, adding that if Walsh were in charge of the New York Giants today, Eli Manning would’ve been gone long ago.
“I grew up in a system with Bill Walsh, where you don’t get to start to feel like you were in decline,” Young said. “People were out the door and they were in shock. I remember when I was young, and I’d see guys go out the door early and they’d be cut, and I’d say ‘you cut him?!’ No, he’s gone. And that became a theme.
“If you were around back then, you left super upset, because Bill beat you to the punch. When you started to decline, he beat you to it and so that was the way it was done around here. Nobody left happy, nobody. So that was the way it was done here, and I think that was an important piece to the puzzle looking back at how you just continued to find elite parts of people’s career and that was just Bill’s way of doing it. I believe the Patriots are built around the same philosophies. Bill Walsh and Eli, that would’ve happened a while ago.
Young sees no problem with the Giants benching Manning, but understands the outrage.
“You can’t watch him play and say that’s part of the solution,” Young said. “But there’s an emotional thing that I totally understand, what he’s done for the city, what he’s done for the Giants organization, and what he’s done for the league, forever, since 2004. One of the all-time great services to the league, to everything, but you still have to play well week-to-week.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Young’s comments on Manning, skip to 16:30.