Bill Walsh died today. And I thought it would be a nice idea to pay tribute to a guy who helped make the NFL what it is now. Except for the dogfighting. He had nothing to do with that.

Walsh was the guy who made it okay for smart people to like football. And, while that may mean he is indirectly responsible for Gregg Easterbrook, on the whole I’d say he did a whole lot more good than harm. The reason the game is so entertaining today outside of Cleveland is because of Walsh’s innovations. He’s the reason millions of people across the country enjoy the shared experience of watching the NFL together: friends, families, colleagues, idiot bloggers, and more. And that’s a pretty sweet mark to leave on the world.

Walsh won three Super Bowls in just 10 years of coaching. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. I hope he’s up in heaven right now, showing God the correct way to run the 32 Waggle Pass.