NFL head coaches make millions. They're usually given at least a 3 or 4 year contract when a team hires them. If that team is successful under their leadership, the coach will bask in the glory. If they crash and burn, sometimes, not always, they'll take the blame. Anymore, it's a rarity for a coach to last more than 6 or 7 seasons before getting fired. Teams go up, and the coach gets an extension. Teams go down, and that same coach will get booted out the door, oftentimes with the team still owing him millions on that very contract extension they gave him a couple years back. With few exceptions, such is the way of parity in the NFL.
But here's a question. Just what is it, exactly, that NFL head coaches do these days?
In most cases, on the offensive side of the ball they have an offensive coordinator that designs the Xs and Os, and calls those plays during the game. The same holds true for the defensive coordinator aligning his troops in various formations and coverages. They both talk on their headsets to the players equipped with speakers in their helmets on the field. The head coach has a headset too, but rarely will they be seen actually talking into it. Perhaps they're listening to Bieber tunes on their earphone and can't be bothered. Hey, that wire coming down from the headset connects to a mysterious black box clipped on their belt, right? So who knows?
Let's not forget the rest of his crew. There's an offensive line coach, a tight end coach, a running back coach, a quarterback coach, and a wide receiver coach when their team has the ball.
When they're on defense, enter a defensive line coach, a linebacker coach, and a secondary coach for the cornerbacks and safeties.
Every team has a "special teams" coach, though I'm not exactly sure what they do. Tell the punter to kick it high and long? The placekicker to boot it between the uprights? The guys covering kicks to run down field kamikaze style and hit somebody hard?
You name the position, and they have a coach for it these days. Quick -- name a "position" coach from a team other than your own. You can't. Nobody knows who these guys are, but they're routinely hired and fired under the radar all the time -- by the head coach.
And oh, BTW, the head coach is typically paid more than all the above coaches -- combined. So indeed, just what is it they do to justify all that money?
A few things. Depending on the score of the game and field position at the time, they might decide whether to "go for it" on 4th down instead of punting. I think they decide whether to kick a regular extra point after a touchdown or "go for 2", also depending on the score of the game. Certainly, they get to throw the red challenge flag on a call they disagree with -- and some of them actually even know when it's appropriate. Plus they get to give press conferences. Funny thing about that..... The questions the reporters ask them after a win always seem to be pertinent, and the coach is more than happy to accommodate them, even elaborate. Yet, after a loss, those very same reporters somehow turn into idiots pestering him with foolish nonsense the coach has little patience for, and can't wait to brush them off. You've seen it. Other than that, they don't seem to do much at all.
Bottom line? Head coaches will gladly suck up all the praise when their team is doing well. When that same team is falling apart at the seams, they'll fire an assistant they themselves hired here or there, hoping to shift the blame elsewhere, else they, heaven forbid, be held accountable.
Near as I can tell, head coaches in the NFL are like the Queen of England. Figureheads. Everybody else is doing all the work while they rake in millions and prance around for photo-ops.
The only difference?
Queens can't be fired.