Friday, August 24, 2007

Nine to Five

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Andy Reid's return to work after his well-documented family problems may finally shine a spotlight on one of the NFL's more mundane but perplexing problems.

The fact that most of the league’s coaches have 80-plus hour work weeks and often sleep on office couches may be dull to most fans who care about little, save winning. And I can understand why -- it’s a silly problem that has its roots firmly planted in ego.

To be fair, in the word of professional sports, football is calculus. Piloting a baseball team is about getting that killer tan, while coaching hoops is all about managing egos (sorta like being the managing editor here at The Phanatic Magazine). I’ll leave it to the puck heads to explain what hockey coaches do -- I’m still trying to figure that one out.

So, NFL coaches from this generation wear their work ethic like a badge of honor and look down at members of the fraternity who have the gall to feel a more well-rounded lifestyle might actually contribute to success and longevity.

Owners have picked up on that disdain and have made it almost mandatory for coaches to be on call 24-7. Of course, legendary mentors from the past snicker at it all. No matter how much you respect Reid, he’s never going to be compared with legends like Lombardi, Shula and Noll.

Still, some say you can’t compare each era and that’s probably true, so let’s go back to the recent past and look at a coach that didn’t believe in the hype, Barry Switzer.

I doubt anyone could muster up a case to compare Reid and Switzer as coaches but Barry and his questionable work ethic has the Super Bowl ring Andy is still chasing. Why?

Talent trumps coaching and that’s tough for any megalomaniac to accept. Surely, if they spent more hours watching the game tape they could expose a bozo like Switzer. Jerry Jones' caddy would probably be on his 10th gin and tonic when Reid or one of his brethren figured out that the left tackle was opening his stance and telegraphing each play during their 27th viewing.

Ecstatic and validated, the exhausted coach would gleefully tell his important defensive players about his find and then watch them ignore his “genius” on Sunday when the real bullets were flying.

There are laws that limit the about of time airline pilots, truck drivers and doctors work for good reason.

Common sense should limit Reid’s.

No comments: