Media outlets all over the world are scrambling to find local interest Super Bowl-related stories this week. For the Austin American-Statesman, that local-interest story is about Texas assistant head coach Duane Akina. Former Texas Longhorns Tarell Brown and Chykie Brown will both play in the Super Bowl this Sunday and both played cornerback under Akina at Texas. That means Akina gets a feature. The Statesman tells the tale of the time that Akina was interviewing for a job in the NFL. Specifically, Cleveland.
“I really thought I was going in ‘94,” Akina said Thursday. “I interviewed in Cleveland and always thought the NFL was what I wanted to do. Just coach football at the highest level.”
He was always lured by the NFL’s attractive retirement program and figured he couldn’t go wrong coaching under Belichick and alongside then-Browns defensive coordinator Nick Saban.
“Belichick had a great reputation,” Akina said. “It was like if you were an offensive coach, you wanted to get into the Bill Walsh tree.”
That does sound like a good place to coach. Those guys turned out alright. So what went wrong?
He checked out the Browns. As his airplane passed over the Great Lakes, he looked down and the Hawaiian native thought he was flying over an ocean.
All water does look similar, but that shouldn’t be cause for alarm.
“And flying into Cleveland, I thought I was flying into a nuclear testing site,” he said. “It just didn’t feel right.”
Oh. The good news is that now we have a tangentially-related local-interest Super Bowl story for Cleveland!