Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Bill Belichick Coaching Tree

The coaching carousel has gotten is off to an early start this NFL season. Already Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville, Tony Sparano in Miami, and Todd Haley in Kansas City have lost their jobs and it is unlikely Leslie Frazier in Minnesota or Jeff Spagnuolo in St. Louis will keep theirs. It is not unusual for underachieving coaches to be dismissed, but there is an alarming trend taking place with regards to New England assistants.

The Bill Belichick coaching tree has some weak branches. Over the last 5 years Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, and now Todd Haley have all been fired from head coaching positions. Belichick is considered to be the greatest coach of his era and the architect of the New England Patriot dynasty. Much like Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren (A Walsh protege) it was assumed the Belichick assistants could run a football franchise with the same mindset and results of their mentor. Clearly it has not worked out that way.

Perhaps these disciples of Belichick were thrown into the fire before they were ready. Although they all had impressive resumes and success as either offensive or defensive coordinators implementing the Belichick philosophy has been a struggle. Success as an understudy doesn't always mean you'll have success as the head guy. Sometimes the person delivering the message is more important than the message itself.

In the end what we realize is Bill Belichick has certain intangibles as a coach that are not easily duplicated. It almost gives his coaching legacy more credibility because none of his top assistants have been able to replicate the blueprint for success. Just because you train under a master doesn't make you a master. It has become painfully obvious that Bill Belichick's coaching style is unique and only works for him. No more Belichick assistants please.


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