Playoff pressure ramps up for NFL’s top head coaching candidates

There were days in the early ’90s when Bill Belichick’s media unfriendliness caused some Cleveland reporters to curse Scott Norwood’s wayward leg to eternity and beyond.

That’s because legend has it that Art Modell never would have hired the 38-year-old whiz-kid Giants defensive coordinator as Browns head coach had Norwood’s 47-yard field-goal attempt not gone wide right at the end of Buffalo’s 20-19 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.

Knowing Modell, the legend is probably spot on. Norwood nails it and Belichick might have stayed with the Giants at least another year or maybe gone to Tampa Bay, where he was a finalist. And, certainly, his brilliant game plan from that Super Bowl wouldn’t be sitting under glass in the Pro Football Hall of Fame 32 years later.

This memory came to mind Tuesday when Super Wild Card Weekend had concluded with the Vikings requesting permission to interview Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Morris hadn’t heard a peep from anyone until his defense gave Arizona an electrifying prime-time beatdown.

So, yes, as few as 60 minutes of playoff football can change the course of coaching history. With that in mind, who among the assistant coaches might turn heads or lose favor during this weekend’s divisional playoff games?

Let’s take a look.

Bengals at Titans

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Ch. 4

This reporter has one of the 50 Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year votes. It went to Tennessee’s…

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