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Blaze’s White is old-school coach

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Amy: Football is a violent game and is even referred to as a metaphor for war. Can you teach football players to go all out on the field and be nice guys off the field?

Danny White: "It's one of the great challenges for a football player or a coach. One of my favorite books is "The Gates of Fire." It's about the 300 Spartans who fought thousands of Persians in in the battle of Thermopylae. There's a quote about tearing your ticket in half. When you go to war, you take that part of you that loves his wife and children, that's humane, that docile human part of you and leave it behind. Then you take your other half, the mortal, violent, hormonal-driven male and you take that part of you onto the field. At the end of the contest, being victorious, and going back into that locker room and putting the two halves together, that's the challenge.

"(Football) isn't nearly as dramatic as war, but it's the same concept ... You have to get guys to do things that they're not naturally comfortable doing.

"Mike Singletary was an animal on the football field. Joe Green was an absolute beast. Yet off the field, they were caring, loving human beings. You teach that by teaching discipline, mind over matter, controlling your thoughts, controlling your actions ... It's harder in football because the range of going from one discipline to another is so great."

Chuck: As a starting NFL quarterback, you led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC championship games (1980-82) but lost each time. How important is winning the Super Bowl to a quarterback's legacy?

DW: "To be considered one of the greatest quarterbacks, you have to win a championship — or break a lot of records. Dan Marino ... is a good example. He didn't win any Super Bowls, but he set a lot of records. I didn't play long enough to do that, although I still hold a lot of records for the Cowboys — even over Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

"The fact that I didn't ever win a Super Bowl will keep me from ever being recognized in the same category with those guys ... The quarterback is more dependent on the guys around him than any other position. You don't get to do your job, unless everybody else around you does their job.

"I don't think a quarterback can be compared to other quarterbacks unless you look at the entire team. Archie Manning (Saints) and Jim Hart (Cardinals) were great quarterbacks ... who played for teams that didn't allow them to reach their potential."

Amy: Football has grown in popularity with female fans, but do you see football ever becoming a popular sport for women to play? If so, would they form their own leagues, or integrate into existing teams and leagues with male players?

DW: "I believe in separation of the genders. I'm just chauvinistic enough to feel like football is really a man's sport and should remain so ... ... I feel a lot about football the way I feel about boxing. They're both very violent sports. I'm old school enough to feel like it's something that belongs in a man's kind of world ...

"I'm a guy who still opens the door for my wife. If women did play football, then I would definitely think it would have to be in leagues of their own. I have a real, real problem with men hitting women in any fashion — even in sport."

Chuck: Having played both as a quarterback and punter in the NFL, which is more difficult: to coffin-corner a punt down to the 2-yard line or beat an all-out blitz for a completion?

DW: There's no question that beating the all-out blitz for a completion is more difficult because, again, it's dependent on other people — the line, the receiver, they have to pick up the blitz as well. In most cases, the receiver adjusts his route so the quarterback can get him the ball. Not only does everybody have to pick the blitz up, but then you have to physically perform and get the job done.

"Punting requires a certain amount of skill on your part, but there's a lot more thinking involved in playing the quarterback position than maybe any other sport."

Amy: We hear stories about women throwing themselves at professional athletes, and I would think an NFL quarterback would be a prime target for groupies. First, is it true? And if so, how did you handle it?

DW: "It is true. It's impossible as a quarterback in the NFL to avoid that kind of thing. You'd have to lock yourself in a room when you weren't on the field. It is something you can diffuse pretty easily, if you want to, or exploit it if you choose to.

"My wife and I got married when we were sophomores in college, so when practice was over, I headed home ... I wasn't the kind of guy who went to bars or hung out after games where a lot of that stuff happens. I avoided 95 percent of it, but ... You have to do (public) appearances for the team, so you're exposed to that sort of thing whether you want to be or not.

"When dealing with my players, I pretty much leave it up to them. I certainly talk about it and emphasize the public perception and image ... The quickest way to get shipped out of here is to do something not in line with that image. It's a one-strike policy."

Chuck: Saints head coach Sean Peyton (Chicago, 1987) and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (Denver, 1987) played in the Arena League. Your own Arena League credentials are good enough to get an NFL coaching job. Have you ever been considered for head coach or another coaching position with an NFL team?

DW: "I have had numerous opportunities to go to the NFL, but I'm not really qualified to be a head coach there. I don't think there's an owner who would hire an NFL head coach who had not at least been a head coach in college or worked his way up through the NFL coaching ranks.

"If the right opportunity came a long, I would certainly be interested in talking about it, but I really enjoy the arena football game and the lifestyle ... where I basically have six months out of the year to do whatever I want. I'm very interested in family, church and enjoy doing other things. I don't relish the thought of being a football coach 24-7, 360 days a year, which you almost have to become to coach in the NFL or Division I college."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com; chuck@desnews.com