Here are some of the best brains in sports, beginning with New England's head coach. Although his game-day attire might not reflect his IQ, his complex defensive schemes and attention to detail have led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories since 2002.
2 of 25Robert Beck/SI
His power game is undoubtedly impressive, but Woods' laser focus and attention to detail have propelled him to 12 major championship wins.
3 of 25David E. Klutho/SI
The legendary Princeton coach, later an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, masterminded the "Princeton offense" that enables smarter teams to compete with more talented ones through precise back-door cuts and perimeter motion.
4 of 25Simon Bruty/SI
Dungy's "Cover 2" defense, a zone in the secondary with complicated blitz schemes, is one of the toughest in football and his Colts used it to win Super Bowl XLI.
5 of 25Jeffery A. Salter/SI
Ng, a graduate of the University of Chicago, is widely-regarded as one of the toughest salary arbitration negotiators in baseball, and she could be on track to become baseball's first female GM.
6 of 25John W. McDonough/SI
Jackson championed the triangle offense -- as well as Eastern philosophy -- on his way to winning nine NBA titles.
7 of 25David Bergman/SI
After retiring from the NHL in 2003 as one of the sharpest and most decorated goalies in league history, Richter enrolled in Yale to pursue a degree in Ethics, Politics & Economics. He recently opted against a run for Congress.
8 of 25Mike Ehrmann/WireImage.com
Michael Lewis 2003 book Moneyball detailed how Beane has revolutionized baseball management through objective statistical analysis, eschewing the traditional reliance on the subjective feelings of scouts.
9 of 25John Biever/SI
The Super Bowl champion QB is known for his intricate knowledge of the playbook and ability to adjust to the defense's setup by calling an audible at the line.
10 of 25Bob Rosato/SI
Newman raced in the Busch Series while earning his degree in vehicle structure engineering from Purdue. Joining the Penske team in 2000, he and then-crew chief Matt Borland became the first driver-engineer/crew chief-engineer combo in NASCAR history.
11 of 25Brad Mangin/SI
Nicknamed the professor, Maddux has amassed more than 300 wins with his pinpoint control and uncanny ability to out-think and fool hitters.
12 of 25David Bergman/SI
When James Gandolfini referred to the 36-year-old Jets coach as "Mangenius" in The Sopranos' penultimate episode, he was sharing a sentiment that was felt by many around the NFL after Mangini, a Belichick protégé, led the Jets to the playoffs in his first season.
13 of 25Bob Martin/SI
Currently the second-ranked male American tennis player, Blake went to Harvard for two years before turning pro.
14 of 25Robert Beck/SI
Meyer's unique offensive strategy, which shares some similarities to the West Coast offense, led the Gators to a national championship.
15 of 25Bob Rosato/SI
The two-time NBA MVP plays one of the smartest games with his ability to dish, operate the pick and roll, and shoot consistently from the perimeter.
16 of 25AP
Some thought Gee was crazy when he reorganized Vanderbilt's varsity teams without a traditional athletic department, but the results are showing just how smart the move was as Commodores teams have seen increased success while athletes' GPAs have risen.
17 of 25Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography/SI
The former Giants tailback and current broadcaster may have made the smartest decision of all when he retired at the top of his game, sans injury.
18 of 25Lou Capozzola/SI
The architect of the Devils' three Stanley Cups and the champion of the defensive trap that choked scoring before the 2004-05 lockout, Lamoriello is a master drafter and trader. He's also fearless enough to step behind the bench as coach, doing so twice in the past three seasons.
19 of 25Winslow Townson/SI
Mussina graduated from Stanford in three-and-a-half years with a degree in economics and is renowned for his command of one of baseball's most unique pitches, the knuckle curve.
20 of 25Lou Capozzola/SI
The youngest player (19) to score 100 points in a season and in two successive campaigns, Crosby is blessed with great talent, uncanny vision of the ice and a mind for the game that summons comparisons to Wayne Gretzky.
21 of 25Bob Rosato/SI
Lewis was the strategist behind the smothering Ravens defense that won the 2000 Super Bowl. He has now turned the fortunes of the perennially hapless Bengals around.
22 of 25AP
A graduate of Yale and the University of San Diego Law School, Epstein's management led the Red Sox to break the Curse of the Bambino and win the World Series in 2004.
23 of 25AP
Formerly the "Round Mound of Rebound," Barkley has reformed himself (somewhat) in his post-NBA days with bright color commentary and his outspoken desire to become governor of Alabama in 2014.
24 of 25Bill Cramer/SI
Finally retired after a successful career as a leader on the court, Staley is now building Temple's women's basketball program while writing a children's book and running an educational program for kids at a Philadelphia recreation center.
25 of 25Simon Bruty/SI
After Dale Earnhardt, Sr. died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500, Burton spearheaded an emphasis on improved safety equipment. He spent his own time and money developing a better seat and is still a leading, outspoken expert on safety.
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