Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How To Get That NFL Head Coaching Job You've Always Wanted

Some Goo Gone will take that right off.
The NFL playoffs are underway, which means that the annual rite of Winter, known as the coaching carousel, is in full swing.  NFL head coaches for the league's lesser children get cast aside in favor of new blood starting with the playoffs because that is when the league's non-playoff teams can  grant their assistants permission to interview for the big chair.  Some coaches are fired mid-season and guys are hastily promoted and have a big sticker that says INTERIM plastered right in the middle of their foreheads.  But usually teams that do that are the ones that are the most dysfunctional and poorly-run.  And they certainly don't then promote those interim-bots to fulltime status.  Crap.  Am I inadvertently talking about the Vikings again?  I think I am.

Anyway, head coaching spots in the NFL are few in number, and thus, as you might expect, hard to get.  Normally, these coveted jobs go to people who fall into one of two categories:

1. Former coaches of other teams.  Also known as "retreads", these are people who were head coaches somewhere else and were fired at some point.  This usually works out about like you'd expect; they failed (at least) once before and got fired, so why would this time be any different.  Still, it works out once in a while.  But for every Bill Belichick there is one Dan Henning.  And one Dan Reeves.  And one Eric Mangini.  And one Mike Martz.  And one Dennis Green.  And, like, 37 Jim Mora Jrs.

2. Golden Boys.  These are either college coaches or NFL coordinators who are deemed ready for the big chair.  There has been  mixed success with this one.  Nick Saban, Speve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, Mike Singletary, Lovie Smith; these guys all failed and either went back to college or joined other staffs with coordinator credentials.  Except Singletary; I have no idea what he's doing now.  Hopefully it doesn't involve dropping his pants.

With this in mind, you may be thinking it's just not possible for you, neither former coach nor golden boy, to land one of these prestigious jobs.  You would be wrong.  The trick is to nail the interview, and I am going to tell you how.

First, wear a coat and tie.  You won't be doing that while roaming the sidelines screaming things like, "watch the screen!" and "can't anybody on this mother$%@!#* team tackle!" but you want to display an air of class and sophistication that you can peel off like, well, like a suit once gameday comes.  Your buddies may admire your fashion sense, but a team owner is not going to be impressed with your authentic jersey/team branded sweatpants/team color Nikes/backwards team baseball cap ensemble.

Second, drop certain time-tested phrases into any conversation you have with your interviewers.  These include:
  • "3-4 defense"
  • "Team unity"
  • "I want this to be a more disciplined football team."[*]
  • "Process"
  • "The only thing the prevent defense does is prevent winning."
  • "fade route"
  • "I'm not interested in bringing in Brett Favre for a tryout."
  • "I think this team has the talent to be in the Superbowl in three years."
  • "4-3 defense"
  • "You win and lose a football game in the trenches."[**]
If you drop those nuggets of airy wisdom, your chance of landing the job go up, like, 438%.  Trust me.

Castle Grayskull will be mine!
Third, and this is big: never agree to work for Al Davis or Dan Snyder.  Seriously, walk away.  You're better off wherever you are now.

[*] Note: when referring to a football team, always refer to it as a football team.  Never just say team.  Everyone knows what you mean, but say it anyway.  It makes you sound like you know what you're talking about, like a television color man or Andy Reid.  Seriously.  No one in the business at any level ever says the word "team" without preceding it with the word "football" anymore.  Only losers do that.  Don't be a loser.

[**] Note: same thing goes for football game.

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