Josh McDaniels, Mike Singletary, Rex Ryan, Jim Caldwell.
Mike Tomlin, Ken Whisenhunt, Marvin Lewis, Mike Smith.
The first four are in their first year of coaching their respective teams. Their combined record is 15-3 (at the time of this post, the Colts were playing Tennessee, so it doesn’t reflect last night’s game).
The next four have been in their positions for at least a season. Their combined record is 12-6.
All eight of these coaches are head coaches in the NFL for the first time, yet they are all doing their jobs well, and they are winning games. Tomlin (NPHC Greeks, stand up) and Whisenhunt were the two head coaches in the Super Bowl last year. Plus, I like coaches who show that they care. Look at the highlights of McDaniels running on SportsCenter; he’s going crazy on the field with players, going crazy with the fans after the games, and he’s just live all the time. The same applies to Ryan, Singletary, and Tomlin. Those are the kinda coaches that will always get love from ETSF. Why? Because they act like they give a damn.
This isn’t an accident, people. It seems like the ownership of these teams have the approach to find people who know football, allow them to hire people who also specialize in certain areas (position coaches, special teams, offense, defense), and the owners do what I feel is best: stay out of the way, and let these folks do their job. For the most part, these coaches had an idea of what kind of identity they want to have, and did what was necessary to weed out the crap (McDaniels in Denver, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati), and they have been able to reap huge rewards. I’m thoroughly convinced, more than ever, that this is the direction the league is going. For one, we’re in a recession, so spending money for a big-name coach simply isn’t the way to go right now. Two, teams seem to simply be going younger. They’re willing to give a coach a chance, especially if they have come from great situations previously, and allow them to build their team to their identity and specification. When you look at it, it’s pretty simple to put together.
As I said earlier, this concept especially works, since they have ownership that lets people do their jobs, and stay the hell out of the way. The opposite is still trying to do it their way, and haven’t gotten anywhere in God-knows-how-long. Of course, I’m talking about the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys. Living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area exposes me to the most foolish of sports banter, whether it’s from fans, media, and whoever else. People think the answer to our problems is to hire a big-name coach. I’ll say this right now: as much as I love Jerry Jones the Owner, I hate Jerry Jones the GM. A big-name coach won’t mean a damn thing (a la, Parcells) if Jerry isn’t willing to change his ways and abandon, what I like to call, the “Look at Me, Muhf***a, Look at Me” Philosophy, as coined by The Late, Great Chad Butler, aka Pimp C. He wants everyone to know he runs stuff, instead of just letting people do their jobs. As for Al Davis, don’t even let me get started. It’s even worse in Oakland. As much as I get disgusted with fandom in Dallas, I actually feel worse for true Raider fans. He’ll never change, which is exactly why Oakland won’t be worth a damn anytime soon.
As a fan, I value a coach with a philosophy, who preaches discipline, hard work, and sticks to what they believe will put their team in the best position to win. It doesn’t have to be someone with a marquee name, and at this point, I’d rather it not be. He simply needs to be a football coach, nothing more.