Football Coaches Just Want…Something

Coaches fascinate me.  Particularly those at the professional and NCAA high division I level.  They have a weird mix of sincerity and bullshit artist.  College football coaches in particular revel in this peculiar yin/yang.

These gentlemen are all about the team.  They teach their players that they must sacrifice for their teammates and the good of the team.  Yet, at the same time, if another school shows any interest and offers them $1 more than what they are currently making, many of these guys remember you can’t spell team without m-e.

These seem to be individuals who are peripatetically unhappy.  They travel from job to job hoping to find that great challenge that will satisfy them.  For many, that challenge is the NFL.  College coaches seem to look at the NFL like many of their players do.  If they can get there and win they will finally find their happiness.

What exactly is this happiness they seek?  Is it some kind of validation through winning?  Is it the idea of making as much money as possible?  This is where I don’t understand them.

Take Nick Saban.  I don’t think he is ever going to leave Alabama, but I bet you he thinks about it every time an NFL coach gets fired.  The thought runs through his mind, maybe not for long, but for a split second.  Even though he is going to make as much money at Alabama as he could in the NFL, over the long term, and they are never going to fire him.  Plus, he gets to pick the best players in high school every year. That itch is still there.

Most coaches who are coaxed into the NFL are in similar situations.  They are the unquestioned head coach of a really good college program where they are making lots of money and get the pick of the best high school players.  Yet, they still jump.

These guys are always screwing around with happy.  Once you find happy you should hold on to it because it doesn’t come around too often.

I think, however, it is simply this.  To get to the level these coaches are at they have had to drive themselves and grind out seasons working their way up the ladder because they have a vision of who they are.  That vision is of a successful head coach at the highest level.  This is not a competition against other coaches.  This is an internal competition to test oneself.  Am I as good as I think I am?  How high can I go to be successful?  They can’t be satisfied with where they are until they reach that level and find out how good they really are.

It is like an addiction.  Success at one level leads to the need for greater success and even greater success after that.  Then, even if you win the Super Bowl, you are not satiated because that high was the best one yet and you want it again.  So you keep chasing that feeling hoping to get one more taste of it before you die or they fire you.

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