The Brooklyn Nets' hiring of Jason Kidd fresh off of his retirement begs the question: Which active NFL players could also make the jump from player to coach after retirement?
As you glance at the active list of head coaches in the NFL and contrast them with those in the NBA, you notice that ex-players struggle to obtain head coaching gigs.
Of the 32 NFL teams, only eight feature ex-NFL players as their head coach: Doug Marrone, Ron Rivera, Jason Garrett, Gary Kubiak, Leslie Frazier, Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher and Mike Munchak.
In the NBA, only seven head coaches didn’t play professionally.
But why is it so difficult for ex-players to become NFL head coaches?
One significant reason is the loss of experience they surrender while playing professionally. The traditional route for a coach is to become a graduate assistant immediately after his collegiate playing comes to end. Being a graduate assistant is equivalent to being an intern in the business world, but in football, the mailroom is the film room.
After one or two years as a graduate assistant, a to-be coach will land his first actual job, typically as a positional coach at an obscure college program, and then endure a moderate duration of time where he climbs the coaching ladder.
However, a player spends his post-college days grinding on the field. Come retirement he is at a significant disadvantage by way of experience.
So for a player to successfully transition from player to coach, he must demonstrate an elevated cerebral understanding of his position, or the game of football overall, to compensate for his lack of coaching experience.
Here are five active players uniquely qualified to receive consideration as coaching candidates once their careers end.