Did you know that the head coach for the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, and the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll, are the two highest paid NFL coaches at 8 million per year?
Or how about the head football coach at University of Alabama, Nick Saban, with his 7.3 million dollar salary?
These whopping salaries are just one example of how important the job of head football coach is and the influence they have on one of America’s greatest passions.
Football is one of those sports, wherein, if everyone is not working together, like a well oiled machine, things are not going to go well. And because football is a major money maker, if things aren’t going well…..jobs are lost and players are “released”. It can be extremely cut throat. But what business isn’t? And that’s exactly what it is…..a business. And while we don’t spend time focusing on the business side of things when we are watching a game, we need to remember that when it comes to coaching….winning is pretty much everything to them otherwise they may not have a job!
There are about 10 coaches associated with a football team:
Head Coach - The head coach of any football team is the guy who gets all the credit for winning but also gets all the grief when the team is losing. Fans are very “fair weather” when it comes to the head coach. Just read any football thread and you’ll see the bashing and praise depending on the season a team is having.
Coaching styles vary and this is one thing that players look for when considering a team to play for. A head coach’s philosophy will either attract or detract players from wanting to be a part of any football franchise. Some are better at delegating and other coaches prefer to have more control over every aspect of his team and focus more on his personal area of expertise.
Depending on who owns a team, or in the case of college football, administration, head coaches are often at the mercy of the powers that be and will have a varying amount of control over his coaching staff.
Offensive Coordinator - The offensive coordinator is in charge of the offense. Along with the defensive coordinator, he is the second line of command in the coaching structure. The offensive coordinator will often work specifically with the quarterback and calls the offensive plays of the game.
Each week he will go over new ways to gain an advantage over their upcoming opponent and work with the head coach to organize how the team will practice, prepare, and learn their new assignments.
Defensive Coordinator - The defensive Coordinator is in charge of the defense and along with the offensive coordinator, is second in command in the coaching structure. The D-Coordinator works with his players to prepare the defensive strategies they will use for each game. They try to recruit players with enough talent to make them adaptable to any given play the defensive coordinator wants them to learn. It’s hard to find players that fit a particular way of doing things so finding guys that are flexible, teachable and trainable are very valuable when it comes to the ever changing defensive patterns.
Special Teams Coach - The special teams coach is in charge of the kickers, punters, kick return team, and punt return team. Basically all the special teams that we talked about in this post. The players on special teams are often the younger players, working their way into more significant roles on the team and developing into bigger, stronger and faster players. The special teams coach has his work cut out for him in that he must encourage these younger guys to stay focused, motivated and excited about what they are doing for the team and how their part on special teams is so important even though they might not be getting much recognition or playing time.
Quarterback Coach - While the offensive coordinator works with the quarterback on plays and strategies, the quarterback coach focuses on the psychological portion of the quarterback’s game. Footwork and passing are two examples of what the quarterback coach might work on with the quarterback as well as how to stay mentally tough through his successes and failures. If the quarterback is not having a good year, the quarterback coach is the one who gets a lot of the grief. He is also often the liaison between the quarterback and the head coach.
Offensive Line Coach - This coach works primarily with the offensive line. He has a working knowledge of the running game and works with the offensive coordinator to determine what plays should be incorporated for each game. His views on his players, regarding their strengths and weaknesses, are communicated to the offensive coordinator and together they collaborate to prepare their offense for the upcoming opponents. These coaches need to be able to work with a variety of players with different talents, speed, and agility capabilities, and mold them into a line that works well together and is a valuable part of the team.
Defensive Line Coach - This coach works with the defensive line. Like the offensive line coach, this coach will have a variety of guys with different abilities and talents that need to be shaped into a line that can block, tackle and read plays well. Technique is key when developing the defensive line.
Linebacker Coach - The linebacker coach works with the linebackers. Because there are so many defensive plays that require a different assignment for each linebacker, this coach works closely with the defensive coordinator to perfect their tackling, pass-rushing, and pass coverages.
Secondary Coach - The secondary coach works with the defensive backs. His focus is primarily on the passing game. He trains his players to perfect their pass coverage techniques based on the receivers they will be facing before each game.
Strength Coach - The strength coach works with each individual player and the team as a whole to develop their physical abilities through weight training and conditioning. They will also work with players that need to put on weight and lose weight by managing their diets and giving them gear that help them sweat more during workouts. They work with the team players all season long, keeping them in shape and making sure they are taking their job as football players seriously when it comes to their bodies. The strength coach will also work with the team doctor to determine the best course of action in regards to an injury and/or rehabilitation.
If you haven’t figured it out already, being a football coach is probably one of the most demanding jobs in the athletic realm. Many families hardly get to see the man of the house if he is a football coach. With the travel to games, the practices, the meetings, recruiting, releasing players, preparing playbooks, watching film…….. it can take a toll on everyone involved in a coaches life.
So how does the only woman football coach handle it? Find out tomorrow when I tell you all about Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female football coach in history…..stay tuned!