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Friday, January 08, 2016

The NFL Head Coaching Sweepstakes

Many jobs are open.

Many names are mentioned.

Best thing to be is a coordinator on a hot team.

Worst thing to be is a college football coach wanting to be an NFL head coach.  Chip Kelly's failure in Philadelphia owed to a dictatorial, control-freak style where it seemed that the players were not treated as men and where it seemed that if it was not done Kelly's way, you were gone.  Kelly was a very good college coach and has a bright football mind.  As smart as he is, he failed to adapt to the type of coaching required to succeed in the NFL.  If he learns from his tenure in Philadelphia, he might have a chance to succeed in his next NFL gig.  But he also should learn how to deal better with the media.  He talked to the media (and correspondingly the fans) as though the City of Brotherly Love was a royal pain for him.

Second worst thing to be statistically at least is an available coach who has won a Super Bowl.  Sorry, but even if Jon Gruden or Tom Coughlin were interested in your job, the odds suggest that they will not win a Super Bowl for you.  Why?  Because no NFL coach has won a Super Bowl with more than one team.  Dick Vermeil lost with Philadelphia and won in St. Louis, and then Bill Parcells won in New York but lost in New England.  So, it seems difficult for the ultimately successful coach to have an ultimately successful second act.

As for choices, well, I don't think that either Mike Tomlin or Andy Reid were coordinators when the Steelers and Eagles hired them respectively.  And former coordinators for good teams aren't always successful.  Josh McDaniels failed in Denver and Eric Mangini failed with the Jets and the Browns.  And they coached for Bill Belichick, perhaps the best of them all.

Don't know if the analytics gurus have stats that point to why a Hue Jackson would be more successful than an Adam Gase.  Fans in Philadelphia are talking about candidates as though they have deep knowledge, but all they know are won-loss records.  While those are important, I would suggest that the skill set to be a head coach differs markedly from the skill set required to be a coordinator.  And that's where the interviewing and skills assessments come in. 

So, if your team is looking for a head coach, good luck.  You probably have no idea as to who would or would not be a good fit for your team, but the speculation and conversations on sports talk radio can be amusing.


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