FanPost

Head Coach All-Star (What to Look For)



In the last few days, many of you, including myself, have expressed an interest in replacing Wade Phillips.  The Question the becomes, what kind of coach should we look for to replace him?  I did some research on who I believe are the top 10 coaches since the NFL-AFL merger in the 60's and came up with a blueprint of what the perfect coach should look like.

First, let me say that in order to make the list of the best coaches since the merger, a coach had to meet at least one main criteria, winning multiple Super Bowls.  I know this is not the only measure of a great coach, but if we're honest, that is how an NFL coach is measured here in Texas.  So, you won't see names like Bill Cowher, Marv Levy or Tony Dungy on this list, even though I believe all of them are extremely good coaches.  Below is a list along with their related information:

 

Name

Off/Def Background

Super Bowls Won

Age Hired

Previous NFL Head Coach Experience?

Belichick, Bill

Defense

XXXVI
XXXVIII

XXXIX

48

Browns
Also Resigned from Jets after one day

Gibbs, Joe

Offense

XVII
XXII
XXVI

47

No

Johnson, Jimmy

Defense

XXVII
XXVIII

46

No

Landry, Tom

Defense

VI
XII

36

No

Lombardi, Vince

Offense

I
II

45

No

Noll, Chuck

Defense

IX
X
XIII
XIV

37

No

Parcells, Bill

Defense

XXI
XXV

42

No

Shanahan, Mike

Offense

XXXII
XXXIII

36

Yes
Oakland

Shula, Don

Defense

VII
VIII

33 Baltimore
39 Miami

Yes
Baltimore

Walsh, Bill

Offense

XVI
XIX
XXIII

48

No

 

After looking at the backgrounds of all of these coaches, a few things are easily noticeable.  First, None of these coaches except Shanahan and Shula had previous NFL head coaching experience, and it can be argued that both of those guys were too young to have taken their first gigs, which is why those jobs didn't pan out.  Second, none of these coaches were over 50 when they were first hired.  Third, all of these coaches had an eye for talent (i.e. drafting).  Finally, all of these coaches had complete control over their teams and had serious input (if not complete control) over personnel decisions.

It was also worth mentioning that many of these guys were innovators when it came to football.  Landry invented the shotgun, 4-3 and flex defenses, and was one of the first to extensively use pre-snap motion.  Walsh was the architect of the west coast offense, Lombardi invented the sweep, and the rest of these coaches were nothing less than the greatest football minds since the NFL merger.

So, what does this tell us about who the next head coach should be (if we end up in the market for one)?  I would say that the first head coach has to be between the ages of 36 and 48.  He has to be a great football mind.  It would probably be best that this be his first NFL head coaching gig, but he would have to have enough clout to be able to have a strong voice when it came to player/personnel decisions.

I'm not sure which coaches would fit these criteria, but that was what I found.  Let me know if any of you have anything to add.  Also, there may be other coaches that you thought should be added to this list, but I think it would be hard to argue against having these guys in the top 10.  I'm curious to see what the rest of you think.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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