You can look back into athletic antiquity, and the professional dress of baseball managers and basketball and hockey coaches have not changed a whit. The baseball bosses still, as ever, garb themselves in uniforms, just like their players. On the court and by the rink, basketball and hockey coaches wear proper suits and ties, sport coats and slacks, no less than did their dignified predecessors all during the twentieth century. Of course, NBA coaches are the clothes horses of the profession. Indeed, these
But oh, not so on the gridiron. Football coaches today dress entirely different from their natty predecessors. Until, as best as I can tell, sometime in the 1980s, football coaches dressed like gentlemen, who appeared to be merely stopping off at the stadium on their way to church. Coats and ties, absolutely. Stylish camel-hair overcoats were favored when the weather turned chilly. And, oh the male millinery. I can still see
And then they all began to go to seed. The jackets went first, replaced by army-navy store style windbreakers. Next, the ties disappeared. And after that, the deluge: strictly casual Saturdays and Sundays. Can flip-flops be far behind? The NFL does mandate now that their tacky coaches wear special league-logo raiment, but that doesn't mean it's attractive just because it's being modeled. Oh my, never would I have imagined that I would have warm reveries of
Unfortunately, clothes did not make the coach, Mr. Nolan was soon fired, suits and all, and the league coaching roster returned to all grunge all the time.
And, of course, the other way football coaches are so different from their stylish forebears is that they're wired. Try now, please, to picture
No, give me a man's man in a tweed jacket and a rep tie and a snap brim, holding nothing more than a rolled-up program in his hand, prowling the sidelines, unattached to any supporting wires. That was a football coach. Now we have techno-crats in Goodwill chic. If only