Cochran 1Blake CochranMs.BennettBritish Literature19 September 2011 Head Football Coach “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage,the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice thelittle things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done” (VinceLombardi, Barber). To have true success in coaching at any level and life in general one musthave dedication. Only the coaches who have this dedication and heart become the premiercoaches in football. The coaches who have the biggest impacts are the ones who affect a playeron and off the field, teaching him to give it his all no matter what the situation is, whether it isfourth down, struggling in school, or arguing with a spouse. What is the meaning of team? After always hearing the word “team” many people do noteven understand the meaning of team until they experience being on one themselves. Peoplebelieve that a team is a group of people put together to try and win a game, when it is really morethan that. Possibly the most famous and influential coach to ever be involved in the NFL is VinceLombardi. He was the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the very first NFLchampionship. With the outstanding accomplishments on the field and the vital life lessons hetaught to his players, the NFL named the Super Bowl trophy the Lombardi Trophy. Lombardisaid to a team to be an “individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”(Barber) Lombardi illustrates what itmeans to be a great coach. He used his words to make players think about football and life. After
Cochran 2football almost all players will have to get jobs in regular society. If the coach that these playersplay for shows them that if everyone on a team or at a job will do their best and only their bestthey will have the best results. Vince Lombardi is respected by everyone in and out of football asa great leader and team player. He was a tough yet caring coach, which is vital for a footballplayer and people in society. People need discipline no matter what line of work they are in; thatis why there are laws and regulations, yet if one is too careless with these rules people will notlike, respect, or work well one as a coach and a professional. This is what a coach needs tofollow on any level. Too often in today’s society people athletes or not are being arrested forthinking they are too good for the rules. If one is to look at the great coaches they will find thatthe players under that coach are respectful to all coaches and too the law. It is also key to careabout the people one is going to be around in a work or team atmosphere with. Everyone is notgoing to like everyone else, but if as a coach one can show that it is possible to care anddemonstrate that one can be there for a friend or teammate they will be there for that player andother players in rough times. The coaches who are well liked because they honestly care for theirplayers are the ones who players play the hardest for. Tony Dungy, who coached theIndianapolis Colts from 2002-2008, is who of the better coaches at showing care for his players.He was always taking the rap for players’ mistakes, making himself responsible for the team andhis players. As a coach one must show that even when players make a mistake it is okay; and theteam as well as their self can move on and get better from it.(Smethers and Jenney) Another set of coaches in the NFL that had great success and were great leaders were BillWalsh (San Francisco 49s coach from 1979-1988) and Don Shula (Miami Dolphins coach1970-1995). These two men led their teams to five combined National Football LeagueChampionships. The success each of these coaches experienced is an unbelievable mark in such
Cochran 3a competitive league. Two things stick out with these two men; for Walsh, he won three NFLtitles in a mere ten seasons. That kind of utter dominance is unheard of and if not for age, hisdynasty would have gone on for a very long time. Shula, on the other hand, was on the sameteam for 25 seasons. Both of these men were obviously doing something right with theirrespective teams. They displayed the utmost success with the effort and attitude of the players onand off the field, keeping them in line and being a friendly figure when they needed it, led tosuch great success that a coach at any level would love and strive to have. The final NFL coachthat has a great influence on his players is the current head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, MikeSmith. People always talk about making the most of every situation that arrives. Smith waspresented with his first head coach job with a struggling organization that had not only lost theface of the franchise in quarter back Michael Vick, but also had a coach in Bobby Petrion whodemoralized them by leaving in the middle of a season. Smith gave the team an edge not seen inyears so they would be the toughest and most unified team to step on the field any given Sunday.The Falcons have been on the rise ever since. In today’s game Smith shows that any situation canturn to a great one with the right motivation and belief that each player will do just as good of ajob for their teammate as their teammate will do for them.(Milloy) Although NFL coaches are often more famous, college coaches can also have a greateffect on kids especially because a majority of these players in college will go on to otherprofessions. Paul “Bear” Bryant was a very successful and influential coach at theUniversity of Alabama. One of the things that he always told his players was to “never quit. It isthe easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and dont quit until you attain it. When you do attainit, set another goal, and dont quit until you reach it. Never quit.”(Bissinger) He taught hisplayers that quitting was pretty much giving up on one as an individual and life. A person will
Cochran 4never get anywhere if they are constantly quitting when the going gets tough. He made hisplayers finish every play, every game, every season, and of course most importantly, he neverallowed them to give up on learning. The desire he instilled in his players to not quit is one of thereasons that through Bryant’s reign as head coach the team did so well and the players did sowell in the NFL, as stated by one of his former players a hall of fame quarterback Joe Namath,and in the rest of society. Another quality that coaches need to teach their players is that theymust set goals to achieve them. This quality has been taught by not only coaches but bycounselors as well, that setting goals and striving to achieve them will help better one’s own self.A coach in college who exemplifies this trait is Joe Paterno. He has been the Penn State NittanyLion’s head coach from 1966 to now. That is five decades of coaching at the same place, whichis practically unheard of. He has the college football record for career wins, which is over 400and counting. He is a big believer that “setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding howyou will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”(Bissinger) He says that even thoughyou have setting goals is a great attribute to have, one must follow through with them andachieve them to better themselves as a person. With the mentality that setting a group of goalsand endeavor one’s self to constantly work on finishing one of these goals at a time, one willachieve greatness and receive everything in your life that you work for. Two more of the mostsuccessful coaches in college football history are Bobby Bowden (head coach of the FloridaState Hurricanes from 1976-2009, winning two national titles) and Bo Schembechler (headcoach of the Michigan Wolverines from 1969-1989). Both of these coaches were fiery coacheswho demanded a lot from their players and yet both had long runs with their teams because ofthe way that they treated their players. They demonstrate that even with the harsh coaching onecan be loved because of the way they care for the well being of those players. Schembechler and
Cochran 5Bowden have gained more respect for the disciple and good behavior of their players than theyever will from their accomplishments on the field. Possibly the most famous college footballcoach of the present time is Nick Saban. He is known to be a “player’s coach” as he gets some ofthe best recruits in the nation. He has the winning attitude, at the same time caring for the well-being of all his players. He is a coach who has the attitude that the present day is the only thing aperson needs to worry about and shows it in this quote: “What happened yesterday is history.What happens tomorrow is a mystery. What we do today makes a difference - the preciouspresent moment.”(Bama hire shows colleges want winners) He tries to teach his players thateven though they might have had a tough week the week before, right now it does not matter. Hetells them that if they do their best in the now, nobody can get on their case for trying theirhardest.( Bama hire shows colleges want winners) With all of these coaches, whether they are in the NFL or college football, retired orcurrently coaching, they all have the same mind sets. A universal football coach’s thought ismainly that “when you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it:1. Admit it, 2. Learn from it, and 3. Dont repeat it,”(Bissinger) famously stated by Paul “Bear”Bryant. All of these coaches know that players and people in general are not perfect, that theyneed molding from firm, yet caring hands. Shaping a player and helping them to become a betterperson is what will generally make a good coach great and turn a decent team into achampionship-winning team. As a coach, all of the traits demonstrated by these famous men arewhat will lead to a successful profession, whether it is in football or any other area of work. Thetraits each coach taught to their team is the main key with coaching, that to be great andrespected one needs to make a difference on and off the field and is shown throughout the NFLand college football with these coaches.(Chait)
Cochran 6 Every one of these coaches demonstrates how to be a leader and how to be successful asa coach. Whether division 1-A College or NFL football, each coach was proven in their field notonly because of the effects they had on the field, but off the field as well. As proven, being a realcoach is not only what a man can do with his team during a game, but how they are able to moldtheir players into who they are once football is over in their life as well. The true calling of beinga coach may not be the wins and losses on a coach attains on his resume but how they help tomold players into men who can thrive in life and society.