She’s no Shula, but Phyllis coaches from the couch

She's no Shula, but Phyllis coaches from the couch by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis likes professional football.

Needless to say, the playoff series finds us glued to the television set to see who goes to the Superbowl in Houston. My wife is one of the most vociferous cheerleaders (although not in in of those skimpy outfits which the younger gals on the sidelines wear).

Phyllis takes the game seriously. She reads the sports pages and understands the nuances of what goes on down on the field. She even explains the plays to me, the ex-sportswriter.

I also noticed that she corrected John Madden once!

Every now and then she second-guesses the coaches, too.

When it�s fourth down and less than a yard to go on the 50, they send in their punting team; but she yells from her perch on the sofa: �Go for it!�

She�s usually right, and that�s the scary part.

Who needs those million-dollar mentors when they can get a better call for nothing?

You�d think she knows the coaches intimately because she might have met Don Shula once when we were in Kansas City to watch the Dolphins play. Then she fills me in on Joe Gibbs, Steve Spurrier, Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells. She probably knows their win-loss records, and she questions why the Nebraska Cornhuskers hired Bill Callahan, who last year went 4-12 with the Oakland Raiders. She has a few things to say about the firing of Frank Sollich, too.

She�s a Jekyl and Hyde character, though, because she also reads women�s magazines and exchanges recipes for cookies over the phone with her girlfriends.

Phyllis saw the local boy � Adam Vinatieri � kick field goals for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits a while back, so she�s vicariously adopted him as he stars for the New England Patriots. She can trace his family tree back to his great-great-great grandfather who was the bandmaster for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry.

When Adam boots another game-winner for the Patriots, you�d think he was a son of ours, the way Phyllis reacts.

Me? I take things as they come. He might miss one, and then where would we be?

However, I�m glad that Phyllis goes for those unfeminine things. It makes it easier for me at playoff time when I don�t have to share the TV with some inane story.

She doesn�t follow baseball, though, because it is too slow; and hockey, to her, is just mayhem on the ice. But she digs pro football!

�That end-around play won�t work unless the guards and center pull to clear the way for the running back,� she says, as she counsels those behemoth linemen from her position in the living room.

�They�re gonna blitz the quarterback,� she forewarns. �Maybe it�s time to run a screen.�

For 53 years I�ve been married to that woman and never knew she was a coach-in-mufti!

I suppose I�d better bone up on things female-wise. After all, Phyllis has taken over the macho stuff.

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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