In the NFL, it is the time of year many teams and organizations are considering a change in leadership. Many head coaches will lose their jobs and will walk away with quite a bankroll to ease the self-esteem blow. On the other hand, the assistants you will not hear about, will leave with nothing but the stress of trying to land another job.
As this process unfolds over the next few months, it’s interesting to see the trends of the decision makers.
The popular wide-open offenses and the excitement of the scoreboard ringing up touchdowns for the fans has influenced decision makers’ opinions of their potential head coach.
Offensive and Defensive Mindsets to Build a Better Team
A high-powered offense creates a lot of excitement for the fans and draws them to the stadium. To be successful with this style of offense you need a talented and productive quarterback. Offensive coordinators with strong resumes to back up their reputation and the statistics to prove it are sought after. For the offense and the quarterback to be productive they must have a coordinator and quarterback to lead them.
It is my opinion that decision makers are basing their leadership and future head coaching decisions on the statistical success and popularity of a particular scheme to bring excitement to the program.
It would be difficult to argue that the quarterback of the team is not the most valuable position on offense to win games. The logic used by decision makers dictates the hiring of an offensive-minded head coach. It is normally thought the expertise on offense or defense of the head coach will automatically carry over into success on that side of the ball. Since getting fans to fill the large stadiums is a factor in the hiring process, most search committees lean toward head coaches with an offensive background.
This logic and trend in the hiring practice is shortsighted at best and in my estimation flawed at its core. The task of the search committee or decision makers should not be to hire the best tactician and his X and O prowess. The job of selecting a new head coach should be centered on finding the best leader for the team and organization.
The secret to success in football or any organization outside of football is leadership at all levels of your team. Rather than the focus being on the X and O knowledge of the candidate for a head coaching role it should be the one who is most qualified to lead your team!
A great offensive or defensive mind is not as effective because the head coaching role requires so much time, the offense or defense suffers as a result. Hire your new head coach based on leadership. Great leaders will put the time, research, and passion into hiring a staff that has the X and O knowledge and strategy that fits the vision of the organization and head coach.
It has escaped the attention of both the media and decision makers that arguably the best NFL coach in history (Bill Bellichick) and arguably the best coach in the history of college football (Nick Saban), are defensive coaches. Could a defensive background be an indicator of a greater aptitude towards leadership? Probably not, since leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.
The success of defensive coaches especially Bellichick and Saban should stifle the trend that an offensive-minded head coach will give a team an added advantage in achieving success.
If an organization wants to run an offense that is fun to watch and has a history of lighting up scoreboards to bring excitement to the program and fans to the stadium, hire the best leader as head coach. The head coach can then hire an offensive coordinator to fit the direction and philosophy of the organization. An offensive coordinator concentrating on directing the offense is going to be more effective than a head coach doing two jobs.
Bottom line: Hire a leader to find success!