That’s how fans in Philadelphia will remember the 2011 football seasons of both the Eagles and Soul.
The Eagles, of course, missed the playoffs after lofty expectations. And the Soul, following a two-year hiatus from the Arena Football League, were dead last in the league’s Eastern Division, with a 6-12 record. In 2008, the Soul won the ArenaBowl and hoisted the league’s championship trophy.
The disappointing finish cost head coach Mike Hohensee his job after just one season. Looking to instill a winning attitude, the Soul tapped former Chicago Bears safety Doug Plank.
Plank is a disciple and favorite of former Bears defensive coordinator and Eagles coach Buddy Ryan.
Ryan named the famed “46 Defense” after Plank’s jersey number, since he was noted for his hard-hitting and aggressive style.
“I am very close to Buddy, in terms from a personal and professional standpoint,” said Plank, a two-time AFL Coach of the Year (2005, 2007). “I know what he did here, when he came here as a head coach, the attitude he brought.”
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Plank has posted more victories (47) in his first four years than any other coach in AFL history. The 58-year-old Plank intends to bring the Soul the same leadership qualities that he learned while playing under legendary coaches like Ryan, Woody Hayes and Mike Ditka.
“Buddy was unique at developing team concepts. We are all in this together, don’t let each other down, we are only as strong as the weakest link,” Plank said, “When you talk about Coach Ditka, I think his biggest tool was his communication skills ... how he talked to the team, how he challenged the team, how he let them know that he expected them to succeed.”
Soul, others team up to fight child sex abuse
Stand up for a good cause.
The Soul, along with local radio stations and the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, are launching “STAND UP Radio Rally” today, a one-day awareness campaign created in response to recent headlines involving child sex abuse, like the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
“Our organizations are joining together to ask people to stand up and take a pledge to report abuse,” said Soul co-owner Ron Jaworski.
The Soul open the 2012 season March 18 in New Orleans. The team’s home opener is slated for April 1 versus Cleveland. The Soul will donate $15 from each $28 ticket sold to Philadelphia Children’s Alliance.