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Pallbearers Move Bill Walsh's Coffin Down Church Aisle In Series Of Short, Precise Passes

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Pallbearers Move Bill Walsh's Coffin Down Church Aisle In Series Of Short, Precise Passes

SAN FRANCISCO—Funeral services for legendary football coach Bill Walsh began Wednesday as friends and family of the offensive innovator bore his coffin down the aisle of the San Francisco Unitarian church in a series of short but precise passes, finally placing Walsh's earthly remains on the bier with a moving display of West Coast-style pallbearing that took a respectful nine minutes to cover over 85 steps. "This was exactly the way Coach would have wanted it," said Joe Montana, who overcame his evident grief to lead multiple platoons of well-coordinated mourners including Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, Tony Dungy, Jerry Rice, and Walsh's wife and children in a series of scripted passes that took advantage of the timing and teamwork Walsh drilled into his loved ones during his life. "Bill Walsh believed that good football should be elegant, almost beautiful, and involve everyone's strengths, and though it might sound corny, we wanted his memorial service to be the same way." Several prominent football figures in attendance said it was the most impressive memorial display since the 1970 funeral of Vince Lombardi, who was finally laid to rest in a grinding series of brutal pulling-guard sweeps that utterly overpowered the opposing Chicago Bears.

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