I have to admit that I was not a 49ers fan in the 80s when Bill Walsh ruled the football world. He gave the Bears more beatings than I care to remember. It seemed teams needed a Herculean effort just to beat them. Think about Jim Everett's LA Rams? They had a couple years there where they were better than every team in the league except the 49ers.
As I got older I grew to respect Walsh's genius. The NFL Films "America's Game" series gave me an even more detailed glimpse into his thinking. The story of the 1983 49ers, who beat the Bengals for their first championship, was strikingly insightful. The description of the NFC Championship game against Dallas sticks out in my mind. Just before the infamous Montana to Clark play, Walsh confidently took off his headset and told Montana the play -- Sprint Right Option -- and said "Dwight will come open." And just like he said, Clark came open the rest is history.
We were lucky ... we had the unique pleasure and honor of recognizing Walsh's genius before he was gone.