With most NFL teams having concluded their offseason programs, the focus and concern of most organizations will now turn to the down time of their players, hoping they stay out of trouble and remain in tip-top shape before reporting to training camp next month. But what about the other key employees in football operations, most notably the coaches?
Unlike players, NFL coaches don't get time off between the end of the season and the start of the offseason program in the spring. They spend most of that time wrapping up the previous season before evaluating NFL players for free agency and prospects for the draft. The only true time off for coaches is over the next four weeks. But should their jobs be so grueling, particularly during the season? Let's examine:
Maybe there is a team or a coach who will be innovative enough to realize the answer in most situations is to work smarter, not longer. Have they read any of the studies about the amount of sleep needed to operate at peak performance? If you ask me, coaches could watch film so often that they eventually lose focus, and the energy they really need to have in meetings and on the field could dwindle.
Coaches wear the amount of time they work as badges of honor. I'm not sure how or why it got started, but it has been that way as long as I have been around pro football. It is the culture of coaching at a high level and there is no end in sight.
I've had more than one ex-player-turned-coach tell me the one way to change the culture is from the inside. Good luck. It would take a lot of coaches willing to buck the trend and risk their job security to make that happen. But maybe there is some hope.
"It really comes down to the head coach," said former linebacker
Talk to any coach who has done both, especially recently, and he'll tell you he prefers the NFL, despite some of the recent pension pullbacks. That's because they at least have some time when they can let it go and relax, like the next couple of weeks offer.
That isn't the case in college football ,where recruiting never ends. Ever. If it isn't camps in the summer, it is taking a recruit out to dinner after the game on Saturday, when all the coach really wants to do is spend some time with his own family and unwind.
Mail time ...
I often tell people that football is a team game but at the NFL level it is very much an individual business. There is very little loyalty from the organizations themselves, perhaps rightfully so from a financial perspective. As such, most players focus primarily on what is in their best interest. That doesn't mean the two always have to be mutually exclusive, however.
For an 18-game season to work, there is no doubt in my mind that adjustments would need to be made to practice routines, recovery time and roster size, among other things.
The more I read and hear about the latest concussion research, from groups like the Sports Legacy Institute and the new NFL players panel led by Seahawks WR
I probably would check it out, more from a curiosity perspective to see if I know any of the guys playing and what the fan reaction would be. Let's all hope it doesn't come to that.