Dick Vermeil coached with success in so many different places over a very long span that it seems like he must have had more than one career. His first notable job in the NFL was with the Los Angeles Rams in the late sixties. He ran the special teams for head coach George Allen, For many years now, every team in the league has had a special teams coach, but Allen was the first to hire an assistant with that specialty. Dick Vermeil, who was very energetic then as he would be throughout his career, was the man Allen hired.
After that job with the Rams, Vermeil became the head coach at UCLA. In an era when the school's great rival USC was dominating football in the PAC 8, (later the PAC 10) Vermeil not only led his team to a conference title in 1975 but also a Rose Bowl win over Ohio State. At that time, there was no bowl alliance and no designated championship game in college football, so for UCLA, a win in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day was the best result possible..
Following his success in 1975, Vermeil was offered the head coaching job of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team which had been way down for many years. He decided to leave UCLA and return to the NFL. Within a few years, Vermeil led the Eagles into the post season, a place the team hadn't been since their championship in 1960. After being a wild card team in both 1978 and 1979, the Eagles took a big step forward in 1980. They won the division title and then won a playoff game against the Vikings to reach the conference championship game against the Dallas Cowboys, the team that had dominated the conference for over a decade. On a very cold day in Philadelphia, the Eagles upset the Cowboys to reach their first Super Bowl. The Eagles were then favored to win the Super Bowl, but their great season ended in defeat. They were beaten by the Raiders, 27-10.
The Eagles under Vermeil were again a strong contender in 1981, making the playoffs as a wild card, But they lost their playoff game to the Giants, ending their hopes of returning to the Super Bowl. In 1982, in a strike-shortened season, the Eagles had a chance to make the playoffs with a win the last week of the season, but they lost and ended their year with a losing record.
When Dick Vermeil stopped coaching in Philadelphia, a new term was coined to describe his condition:burnout. This was never really heard much from football coaches before, but when Vermeil retired from the Eagles, he annoumced he couldn't continue to work the hours he had put in as head coach. After Vermeil left the Eagles, he had a long, successful career as a broadcaster, first covering NFL games and eventually switching to college football. He also gave motivational speeches to various groups. But after nearly fifteen years away from coaching, Vermeil surprisingly decided to take the head coaching job of the St. Louis Rams.
For a couple of years, it seemed like Vermeil had made a bad decision. The team was losing and there seemed little hope for success as the 1999 season started. Then their starting quarterback, Trent Green, was injured and the Ram's fate was left in the hands of an arena football castoff, Kurt Warner. But amazingly, Warner came through with an MVP season, and when other players also stepped up, the Rams suddenly were the best team in the league. They won the Super Bowl, beating Tennessee narrowly. Nineteen years after Dick Vermeil had lost with the Eagles, he finally had his Super Bowl win.
Vermeil decided to retire after that championship and it seemed like his career was yet again at an end. But a couple of years later, he took the head job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Though Vermeil didn't lead that team to the Super Bowl, the Chiefs did have several good season under his leadership.
Vermeil coached in Kansas City for five years and then finally retired after the 2005 season. He was then 68 years old. Though the long gap in his career prevented him from compiling career numbers which would rank him among the all time greats, the success which Vermeil had in several places makes him one of the most notable football coaches of the last 40 years.