RealClearSports
Advertisement

Fantasy Football Maniaxs


August 14, 2009 8:02 AM

The failure of the successful Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL. And in one major respect, Bill Belichick is a failure as an NFL coach.

Before the denizens of New England revolt, let us explain.

After an offseason that saw the NFL coaching ranks lose Super Bowl winners Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, and Tony Dungy, Belichick is now the unquestioned dean of NFL head coaches. His resume - including three Super Bowls and an undefeated regular season - sparkles more than any other in the league.

But this offseason has revealed a shadow side to Belichick's success - his failure to foster assistants who can succeed as NFL head coaches.

While Belichick worries about the trivial matter of whether to play Tom Brady in preseason games, his former lieutenants Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels are thumping their chests to such a degree that they now must try to quell player revolts.

Belichick's my-way-or-the-highway approach works, because Patriots players old and new respect his resume. But when a former Belichick aide tries the same approach without the same resume, players aren't buying in.

In Cleveland, Mangini has gotten criticism about forcing rookie free agents to take a 10-hour-plus bus trip to his charity event - while Mangini himself took a flight there. And in training camp, WR Syndric Steptoe's agent blamed Mangini for his client's season-ending injury, which occured in an all-out practice in a driving rainstorm.

Meanwhile, in Denver, McDaniels alienated QB Jay Cutler to the point that Cutler forced his way out of town, and now McDaniels appears to be three-quarters of the way down that same road with star WR Brandon Marshall. Ticking off your best players to the point where they demand to leave town isn't the way to build a winner.

Why do Belichick's disciples act this way? It's as if they're trying to channel their mentor. But what these coaches don't realize is that you have to earn an iron fist in the NFL, and if you try to use it before you earn it, your coaching tenure is doomed to fail.

No matter how successful your mentor Bill Belichick is.

--

We've covered this question in more detail at http://www.footballrelativity.com, including a look at how Belichick earned his iron fist and how Belichick's coaching tree compares to others in the NFL. Links to both stories are now available at footballrelativity.com, along with much more coverage of the NFL and fantasy football. Recent posts include comparisons of training camp holdouts, training camp injuries, analysis of the Michael Vick signing, and a wealth of fantasy football coverage.

A Member Of