Nobody who watches the NFL can fail to see that many head coaches are stars. They don’t have much job security, but while they are employed, they’re paid more than all but the most-expensive players. In some quarters, the most successful coaches are regarded as geniuses.
For his new book Coaching Confidential: Inside the Fraternity of NFL Coaches, author Gary Myers interviewed some of the most-admired current and former NFL coaches. He spoke with Bill Littlefield about the book and the challenges NFL coaches face.
Bill’s Thoughts on Coaching Confidential
“It’s a sick life,” Kraft told Gary Myers. “I’m not sure if I had a daughter I would want her to marry a head football coach.”
One thing that makes a head coach’s life sick is the pressure to work as hard as the other head coaches…or at least the pressure to appear to be doing that. There are several stories in Coaching Confidential about coaches who regularly sleep in their offices, though their homes are only minutes away from work. There is one story about a head coach who keeps two cars parked at the office so that even after he drives one of them home so he can sleep there, people will think he’s in the office.
Another problem for head coaches is the unpredictability of the players working for them, especially when the players are playing rather than working. As Joe Gibbs told Myers, “You kind of live in a little bit of fear of late night phone calls.”
Since NFL players have been known to get arrested for assault and murder, as well as for shooting themselves or their associates, not to mention drunk driving and various misdemeanors, “a little bit of fear” is probably an understatement.
So why would anybody want to be a head coach in the NFL? Bill Parcells provided Gary Myers with as good an answer to that as any. He said winning the Super Bowl was better than sex.