There’s no hiding it. Danny Smith is one of our favorite coaches in the NFL. Observe him at training camp and you’ll see a passionate guy running around Chuck Noll Field rallying his guys. But he isn’t just a cheerleader. Smith is genuinely one of the smartest thinkers and he showed that in yesterday’s interview with Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola.
Turning 62 next week, he’s been in the league for a long time and has some great stories. He shared one yesterday about the time he checked the wind in Minnesota.
Some background information. Every game, Smith checks the direction the wind is blowing. He doesn’t use the flags on top of the goal posts, he says they “lie like hell” but a technique he says he learned from former Buffalo Bills’ head coach Marv Levy. Smith was the special teams coach from 2001 to 2003 and Levy would call radio games for the Bills’ broadcast.
He uses a piece of pre-wrap, used by trainers before they tape players up and similar to “toilet paper” according to Smith, and holds it in the air to get a sense of the direction the wind is coming from.
“It’ll give you an indication on the field of where the wind is blowing. Is it blowing to their benches, is it blowing into the end zone. And it can change. I do it a lot.”
He then recalled the story of him checking for the wind in Minnesota, which of course had an indoor stadium.
“I walk out to check the wind. Believe it or not, the breeze does blow in indoor stadiums as well. There is a breeze and there is a reason why those home teams kick it a certain direction. We study that on film.
“I go out there pre-game and I pull out my piece of pre-wrap and I’m checking for the wind. Well there’s about seven, eight, ten guys in the end zone, this is pre-game, the stadium isn’t full yet. They’re drinking and carrying on. Right on out of a real quiet situation, they yell “TAKE THE WIND!” with a few choice words after that that I can’t speak on the radio. I just sort of looked up out of my brow and they’re looking at me, and they’re laughing their butt off, and I’m laughing at them. It was just a moment I’ll never forget. And they’re probably talking about that knucklehead special team’s coach in Pittsburgh that was checking for the wind in an indoor stadium.”
Danny Smith is the best.