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Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

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Quote Originally Posted by Shas View Post
Yesterday I heard someone wishing that the Jets would tank so Rex would get fired and the Ravens could hire him as D coordinator again.

We could debate whether they would do that, if the chance arises.

It got me thinking about Bisciotti's decision not to offer the Ravens head job to Rex and instead his leaning to Jason Garrett and ultimately John Harbaugh. Maybe with better players Garrett would have been just as successful as John. Or maybe John, who has a bit more of an edge to him, is just better suited to be an NFL coach.

That got me wondering if you could sort all the coaches by their predominant traits and then see if a certain "types" of coaches are better suited for long-term success in the NFL.

How you categorize a coach is HIGHLY debatable. I'll stipulate that right off the top. You could argue some guys belong in another category, or in more than one. But here is my attempt to create and fill categories...

Cerebral & Intense

(Analytical, thoughtful, but with and old-school attitude that demands hard work and accountability. More pluggers than geniuses.)

Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh
New England Patriots Bill Belichick
New York Giants Tom Coughlin
Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin
Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis


(Smart, experienced, respected, controlled; but a little more aloof or arrogant, and a little less intense.)

Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett
Denver Broncos John Fox
Philadelphia Eagles Andy Reid
Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan
Atlanta Falcons Mike Smith

The Defensive Minded Hard-Ass

(Not necessarily a guy with a defensive background (Harbaugh) but more of and arrogance and a chip-on-the shoulder attitude that is more often associated with the defensive side of the ball).

Chicago Bears Lovie Smith
Detroit Lions Jim Schwartz
New York Jets Rex Ryan
San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh
St. Louis Rams Jeff Fisher

The Longtime Assistant

(No particular style or philosophy, or experience enough to make a particular mark. Just a guy whose coached for a long time and has been given a shot. These guys sometimes migrate into other categories after they have held jobs for a while. John Harbaugh did)

Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera
Cleveland Browns Pat Shurmur
Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano
Kansas City Chiefs Romeo Crennel
Minnesota Vikings Leslie Frazier
Oakland Raiders Dennis Allen
Tennessee Titans Mike Munchak

The Offensive Genius

Made their mark as offensive coordinators and hired mostly for their X's and O's ability. Cam Cameron was one of these in Miami. May not be as strong with people skills)

Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt
Buffalo Bills Chan Gailey
Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy
Houston Texans Gary Kubiak
Jacksonville Jaguars Mike Mularkey
Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin
New Orleans Saints Sean Payton
San Diego Chargers Norv Turner

The College Transfer

(A little bit of a left-over category for guys who were hired based on success in the NCAA. Kirk Ferentz is often mentioned as a possible NFL hire someday. You could argue that Carroll is just as much a "CEO" type.)

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Greg Schiano

Thinking back about Billick, I would say that he could have been called "cerebral intense" or "offensive genius." He sort of started as the latter, at times was the former, but ultimately fell into my "CEO" category.

I think when he was cerebral and intense (taking charge at the podium in Tampa; kicking down the door and asking where is that bastard) he was his most successful; when he stopped intensely connecting with his players and instead talked down at them like an arrogant genius; he was at his worst.

As I said, all very subjective. But I do think some categories produce better head coaches than others.

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