What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
We have a critical problem in this country. We have far too many people who think they are perfectly qualified for jobs that they don’t have the first clue how to do. You can thank video games for that. Would you pay to listen to a Guitar Hero concert? Would you trust a pilot trained only on Flight Sim? We can’t find any guys who will play a few games of HALO then go take on some real bad guys, but we have a whole nation full of couch-ass-groove-makers who think just because they can win at Madden Football they could replace (insert failing NFL coach here).
I understand the frustration that fans of terrible football teams face; I’m a lifelong Philadelphia Eagle fan. This is why I was doing nude cartwheels around my back-yard when we finally off-loaded Brad Childress on the Vikings. Even though he was not the head coach in Philadelphia, you could tell he had all the perfect qualities to make him a huge failure in the top job. But even a complete waste of a headset like Childress would kick your ass as a coach, and make your wife hold his coat while he did it. Face it, guys like Childress are head coaches because they’ve dedicated 30 years of their lives to nothing but football. You have no background at all in coaching football, and even if you did, unless you are a coach right now, you are completely starting over while a guy like Childress has been eating, breathing, and sleeping this stuff for decades.
Remember, Brad Childress has forgotten more about football than you will ever know. That is only one reason why you as an NFL coach is completely preposterous. Even if the Vikings fired Brad Childress tomorrow, there’s a bazillion guys more qualified who would get the call before you did. Let’s look at the complete list of candidates:
Even if they got through all those better candidates and still hired you, the only thing that is going to happen is the entire world will be watching at the precise moment you realize you are in waaaaaaaaaaay over your head. In other words, you will screw up just like the guys who spent their whole lives coaching football. The difference is they know how to handle failure in real-time; Brad Childress doesn’t have the option of pausing an NFL game to take a dump, smoke a cigarette, rub one out or whatever it is you do for forty minutes while you decide whether or not to run a screen pass on third down.
That’s only a taste of what a real football coach has to do. Let’s look at all the balls you get to juggle all while worrying about play-calling with millions of people watching you.
Play-Calling: As a head coach, you can either call the plays yourself or delegate that to a coordinator. If you keep play-calling as your responsibility, realize that you have to evaluate the personnel on the field, the game situation, the team position on the field, make a decision on which play to run and communicate that successfully in less than ten seconds. If you delegate it, you then have to be strong enough to get criticized for plays you didn’t call. It really doesn’t matter since you don’t know the first thing about running an NFL offense or defense, which means you will fail on your own and you couldn’t evaluate a good coordinator to fail for you.
Game Management: The next NFL game you watch, I want you to maintain absolute focus on what is happening at all times. Don’t lock yourself in a room to do it; in fact, let your wife have one of those pyramid-scheme parties where they sell crap like cheap jewelry and make-up in the same room with you. Do everything you can to simulate being on a sideline where there are 100 people all doing different things simultaneously. Remember, you are the head coach and it is your job to know exactly what is happening with those every one of those 100 people for every single second. Keep in mind that amongst all this chaos, you need to do all the little things like making sure you and your quarterback are reading plays from the same armband, that your headset is tuned to the right place so you aren’t listening to local air traffic control, and not trip over the chain gang all while running a football game for three and a half hours. This is the part I think every person who believes they could out-coach (insert any failing coach here) seriously overlooks. You are the head coach, EVERYTHING is your fault. It doesn’t matter whose job it is to fill the Gatorade bucket, if your star quarterback cramps up and shreds a hamstring because it was empty, you are the one who will take the rap for it.
Public Relations: Consider this to be a concentrated version of “You are the head coach, EVERYTHING is your fault.” When you screw up at Madden, there aren’t going to be seventy-five reporters in your living room questioning every single thing you did. You aren’t going to get in your car on Monday morning, turn on the radio and hear an endless stream of reasons why you are an idiot and should be fired. You aren’t going to pick up the newspaper just to see a column explaining that your head actually is not physically up your ass, it just seems that way. After listening to a steady diet of that crap, you have to graciously and professionally face the media and public that spends 83 hours a day trashing you. No matter how much you want to, you don’t get to tell one of those reporters to eat a bag of shit and die. God forbid you say something like that to a fan. In other words, you have to eat it, no matter what. You can only say a lot of nondescript crap like “We just gotta play them one game at a time,” otherwise you will become a YouTube video forever.
Dealing with the Front Office: If you have a player in the NFL who sucks, you can’t just edit his settings. In fact, you most likely can’t even control who is on your team; you have a general manager for that. Much like any manager, more often than not you are not going to agree with him on player personnel decision, therefore you have to make do with whatever players he gives you, and remember, no matter what, is YOUR fault if you can’t win with a team of stiffs.
Leadership: This is a word you will hear a lot when you lose with the aforementioned team of stiffs. It won’t matter that the team has no talent and lacks the ability to be coached, the word will be you have no ability to lead. You may be the average dimwit we call a leader now in America, or you may be the greatest leader in the history of leadership, it won’t matter. Never forget, you are the head coach, EVERYTHING is your fault. However, in this case, the lack of leadership charge will most likely be legitimate. This is a problem throughout America today; the complete lack of leadership ability has run rampant. This country is full of people who think leadership is all about intimidation, yelling, and screaming or worse yet, the “soft leader” who wants everybody to like them and believes everybody needs to have their input valued. Think of this as a contrast between an unconscionable asshole like Tom Coughlin or a marshmallow like Wade Phillips. Like you, neither of these guys could lead a pack of hungry wolves to fresh meat, which is why neither one of them has ever been able to lead a team that needed real leadership. Why are they like you? Because as a Madden oficianado, you are either a college kid or an accountant at a Dunder-Mifflin type place who is hanging on to those college days. This means you’ve never had a chance to discover what real leadership is, which is going to be a problem when you have to deal with a pissed-off 340-pound lineman who is trashing the locker room because you benched him for getting three holding penalties in one quarter of football. This also means the first time that guy gets in your face you are going to drop to the ground, curl up in the fetal position and soil yourself. It’s hard to lead from the locker room floor coiled in your own poo.
The Actual Job: What most people don’t realize about being a head coach is that it is a seriously shitty job. This is why you have to pay people who can actually do it a lot of money. Head coaches work 18-hour days at least six days a week. They study game film constantly. How would you like to watch instant replays for twelve straight hours? You’d carve your eyeballs out with a linoleum knife. Even when you aren’t busting your ass with football stuff, there’s the never-ending parade of contractual media engagements and personal appearances. That stuff only gets worse the more successful you are. Right now, Sean Payton has what was left of his spare time eaten up by having to do photo opportunities at a grade school or being at a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening another goddamn supermarket somewhere.
In other words, before you are willing to shatter the fan illusion that you would be a better head coach than the Brad Childress’ of the world, you might want to consider all the crap being an NFL head coach means. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a defense of Childress, Wade Phillips, Tom Coughlin or any other horrible coach out there, rather an attempt to illustrate that you wouldn’t do any better because you couldn’t even handle the part you know about, let alone the rest of the job.