What's new
Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums

Welcome to Our Forums. Once you've registered and logged in, you're primed to talk football, among other topics, with the sharpest and most experienced fantasy players on the internet.

The Importance of a Head Coach Amidst Parity (1 Viewer)

jeff_eaglz

Moderator
We’ve all heard the word – the dirty little “P” word that the NFL loves and the rest of us scoff at with disdain – Parity. The NFL wants “competitive balance” and promotes it with such items as the salary cap, the draft, scheduling and free agency. The weaker teams pick first. The teams with the worst records get the easiest schedules (although only two games now depend on your record since the league adopted a 32 team, eight divisions format). Everyone can afford the same values of players, since profit sharing of TV and gate revenues keep everyone with about the same money.Many have said that dynasties cannot exist in this era. Free agency means that talented players must seek out new homes for bigger contracts or teams will not be able to afford all of their best players. Eventually even the best teams will have to fall back to the pack and rebuild after having gone into “salary cap hell” or trading away the future. The NFL dynasty cannot possibly reoccur in this climate.I disagree.Coaches, especially head coaches, have never mattered more than anything else in a franchise. Think about it – the coaching staff is not limited by salary, talent, free agency or player parity. Coaching now emphasizes schemes rather than particular personnel, so that when free agency or a shallow bench impacts who takes the field, the coaches can just fill in the holes with another cog to spin the wheel of the offensive or defensive scheme. Certainly talented players help matters, but a proficient coaching staff that can handle the roster changes that are commonplace in the free agent / salary cap era makes for a far more stable and winning franchise.Owners are starting to realize this, and one of the best examples is in southern Florida. Nick Saban came on to the scene with a languishing Dolphin franchise. What did they do? They went out and bought the best coaching that they could find, down to the coordinators and assistants, sparing no expense. The result? Miami posted a 9-7 record in 2005, five games better than 2004. Coach Saban handled RB Ricky Williams and persistent questions about his quarterback situation to push the team forward to respectability. Now, Miami is considered a dark horse sleeper for Saban's sophomore campaign.Head coaches coming from the college ranks would seem to have an advantage in this migratory era in the NFL. College coaches are used to turning over their complete roster every four years, so losing talent via free agency and "recruiting" free agents would seem to be familiar territory.For further examples of teams led by a strong coach one does not need to look any further than The Big Game. In Super Bowl XL, we have the most tenured coach in the NFL, Bill Cowher, leading the Steelers to the Super Bowl for the second time. Cowher has won three games on the road in a row, defeating the Top 3 seeds in the AFC. Cowher's staff has neutralized Denver's running game and Indianapolis' passing attack and offensive line. Cowher is now 11-9 in playoff games, assuring himself of a winning record with the potential to win his first Lombardi Trophy.Mike Holmgren is attempting to win a Super Bowl with his second franchise. Holmgren leads Seattle to their very first Super Bowl appearance as Holmgren returns since his victory with Green Bay and Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXI.The lists persist. Bill Belichick has won three rings in New England. Jon Gruden took a Tampa Bay franchise in his first year that had struggled in the playoffs to a Super Bowl victory. John Fox has taken his team to the Super Bowl once and to the NFC championship after the 2003 season. Mike Shanahan has won two Super Bowls and took another team to the AFC Championship Game in 2005. Historically solid coaches returned to the NFL in the past few years as franchises decided to draw from their past successes to return to glory. Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and even **** Vermeil all came out of retirement to bring success to their respective teams, getting their new group of players to the playoffs in the course of just a few seasons. Even a team that fell from grace like in Philadelphia this season has a head coach in Andy Reid that took the franchise to three consecutive NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance in 2005.Turning this discussion around, there were nine coaching changes this season, yet none of those coaches have a track record comparable to any coach mentioned above. How will this new crop of head coaches fare? Only time will tell - but one thing seems to hold true. Consistent success for an NFL franchise starts and persists with the Head Coach.

 

Boston

Footballguy
I agree with some of this but it seems a little too general. Brian Billick lead the Ravens to a title and the Ravens have been headed in the wrong direction since than. Jeff Fisher was a play away from a title and now has a team with the third pick in this year's draft. Many people thought Mike Martz was on the doorstep of a dynasty and he's now out of a job. **** Vermeil won a Super Bowl with the Rams and had only marginal success in KC. Jim Fassell got to a Super Bowl and couldn't even get a job this offseason. George Siefert won titles in San Fran and was a mess in Carolina. It's not just coaching. It's coaching with a top of the line front office (i.e the organization as a whole). In New England much of BB's success is aided by Pioli and company. Without great drafts and free agent finds BB would not be as successful even if he is a football guru. It's no coincidence that the Titans started heading south when free agency started pecking away at their core. In Baltimore the Ravens inability to address the QB situation (and offense as a whole) has been killing them the past few years. In Philly Andy Reid didn't look like that great of a coach when core players started getting hurt. In Jacksonville under Coughlin the Jags looked like they were becoming an elite franchise until a few bad draft picks and free agent signings took the wind out of their sails. At the end of the day the winning formula is a great coach with excellent front office (i.e. talent evaluators, capologists etc.). These two areas need to go hand for a team to have long term success. With all the player turnover big decisions are called upon on a yearly basis and to a nice chunk of the roster. If the front office isn't giving the coach the guns you have seasons like the Pats had in 2002. IMO if you takeaway one of these areas than the system just doesn't run as smooth.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

-OZ-

Footballguy
At the end of the day the winning formula is a great coach with excellent front office (i.e. talent evaluators, capologists etc.). These two areas need to go hand for a team to have long term success. With all the player turnover big decisions are called upon on a yearly basis and to a nice chunk of the roster. If the front office isn't giving the coach the guns you have seasons like the Pats had in 2002. IMO if you takeaway one of these areas than the system just doesn't run as smooth.
:thumbup: I've said it here before - scouting is the key. Then you need a front office wise enough to make mostly correct decisions and stick with their plan. Then you need the coaching staff to develop that talent.

I'd gladly "overpay" top scouts and assistant coaches and avoid big time free agents.

You form your roster in the draft. You might plug a hole in FA with bargains (Rodney Harrison, Jurevicious), but those teams that use FA too much are fighting a losing battle.

 

Boston

Footballguy
At the end of the day the winning formula is a great coach with excellent front office (i.e. talent evaluators, capologists etc.). These two areas need to go hand for a team to have long term success.  With all the player turnover big decisions are called upon on a yearly basis and to a nice chunk of the roster.  If the front office isn't giving the coach the guns you have seasons like the Pats had in 2002.  IMO if you  takeaway one of these areas than the system just doesn't run as smooth.
:thumbup: I've said it here before - scouting is the key. Then you need a front office wise enough to make mostly correct decisions and stick with their plan. Then you need the coaching staff to develop that talent.

I'd gladly "overpay" top scouts and assistant coaches and avoid big time free agents.

You form your roster in the draft. You might plug a hole in FA with bargains (Rodney Harrison, Jurevicious), but those teams that use FA too much are fighting a losing battle.
Not only does the front office have to provide talent they need to provide the right talent for the coach's system. For example. The Pats run a different defense. It's a 3-4 that needs it's players to be very versatile. There are legit studs in this league that just don't fit with what they do. It's not because they're not very good players, it's because their talents don't translate to what the Pats do. Therefore you not only need to evaluate talent in general you need to make sure it's talent that can be best utilized by the coaching staff. There are other examples of this but being a Pats fan this one is very obvious to me.
 

jeff_eaglz

Moderator
To boil down my point to one sentence:In a league full of parity and change, a franchise with an anchor of a head coach can be the difference.

 

The_Man

Footballguy
Has anyone here read "Education of a Coach" by David Halberstam about Belichick? It's a very good book.While it definitely glosses over BB's shortcomings, it also lays out just how and why he's so good (as well as self-admittedly lucky). But a big part of his success is that he almost doesn't want "stars" on his team -- that in the salary cap era the percentage of your cap you have to give to these few individuals is an overall detriment to the team. Meanwhile, most other "win now" coaches are demanding their front office goes out and lands the big stars they claim they need to win.Of course, he also makes the point that a great QB makes a great coach and that the Pats were incredibly lucky with Brady. But other than Brady, there aren't that many highly paid Patriots. When they let Chad Eaton go to Seattle, they signed something like 18 guys with the $3.5 million that Eaton would have cost.I highly recommend the book.

 

beto

Footballguy
I will echo what Boston said in that head coach and front office must be in lock step.In Carolina, Marty Hurney is doing and excellent job with Coach Fox. They have made some mistakes but in general I think they know how to build a team.

 

Borat

Footballguy
Has anyone here read "Education of a Coach" by David Halberstam about Belichick? It's a very good book.

While it definitely glosses over BB's shortcomings, it also lays out just how and why he's so good (as well as self-admittedly lucky). But a big part of his success is that he almost doesn't want "stars" on his team -- that in the salary cap era the percentage of your cap you have to give to these few individuals is an overall detriment to the team. Meanwhile, most other "win now" coaches are demanding their front office goes out and lands the big stars they claim they need to win.

Of course, he also makes the point that a great QB makes a great coach and that the Pats were incredibly lucky with Brady. But other than Brady, there aren't that many highly paid Patriots. When they let Chad Eaton go to Seattle, they signed something like 18 guys with the $3.5 million that Eaton would have cost.

I highly recommend the book.
If you liked that book, check out Michael Holley's "Patriot Reign." Where "Education of a Coach" was more or less a Belichick biography, "Patriot Reign" is more of a picture of the inner workings of the day to day operation of the Patriots. I think you'll like it.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top