Top 10 Toughest Jobs In Sports

Ben SchwartzCorrespondent IJune 30, 2008

My second rendition of Top 10 deals with the ten toughest jobs today in sports. This includes being a specific position player or coach/manager/general manager in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.

Enjoy and provide your comments or critiques! And check out It's where I get some information when I'm not sure of something sports related!

No. 10: General Manager of a small-market baseball team.

In today's MLB financial structure, you have two types of teams. One type is a big market team like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. The other is a small market club like Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Kansas City.

In today's MLB, it is much easier for teams like the Yankees and Dodgers to hold onto their young talent and also to pursue big name free agents. For teams in Florida and Pittsburgh, it's a totally different approach.

You need to have the right scouting, the right manager, and the right players. When those players get too expensive, you have to find the right players to get in exchange for the player that is too expensive. That is the job of a general manager of a small market team. Nobody does it better than Billy Beane and his "Money Ball" approach.

But for many franchises they don't have the right guy, it leads to them losing their jobs and that particular franchise floundering in last place for many many years—see the Kansas City Royals.

No. 9:  Kobe Bryant's Teammate

He is probably the best player in the NBA today. He has won three titles, but all of them came with a guy named Shaq. He is constantly being criticized of being a bad teammate, selfish, and a cry baby.

He bashed the owners last year and demanded a trade. He was criticized by Phil Jackson in his biography and Shaq—well you know they love each other. If you win a title or if you lose 20 straight, Kobe will be tough to deal with because that's just the way he is.

He wants to win and he wants to be the main act people come to see. That's tough in today's ego driven NBA, to have a two man act, especially in LA.

No. 8: Oakland Raiders Head Coach

Al Davis has moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles and back. Oakland has had nine coaches since its last championship in 1983, with many of those stints being two years or less.

Al Davis has a very little patience, he was born to win and if he doesn't, it's your job that's at stake. Heck it's even pressure filled to be a Raiders fan, with the constant threat of possibly moving back to, yeah, you guessed it, Los Angeles.

No. 7: The Montreal Canadiens' Goaltender

Montreal's 24 Stanley Cup Championships is only second to the Yankees. In Canada, people breathe hockey as it were oxygen. In Montreal, many greats have skated through the Montreal Forum and today's Bell Centre.

The one position that is most known for many Quebec boys is goalie. Montreal has had Patrick Roy, George Hainsworth, Bill Durnan, Jacques Plante, and Ken Dryden just to name a few. If you are a Montreal goalie and can't stop the rubber, be prepared to be booed and jeered in two languages. Just ask Jocelyn Thibault, who tried to fill Patrick Roy's skates in 1995.

No. 6: Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys

To be a starting quarterback in the NFL is pressured filled enough, but to be the starting QB for "America's Team", it is even worse.

Aikman, Staubach, Meredith, and currently Romo have succeeded, but many have failed. Quincy Carter, Randal Cunningham, and Danny White are some to name. While some had the chances to get to a Super Bowl like White (led them to three straight NFC Championship Games), others couldn't overcome their own addictions (Quincy Carter).

The pressure seen in being the QB for the Cowboys can be seen today. Tony Romo is in the spotlight with relationships, vacations, and partying, and if he doesn't perform, all goes back to where he was the night before. Talk about pressure.

No. 5: Anyone involved with the outcome of a Chicago Cubs game

Steve Bartman. Black cats. Billy goats. These are three things that Cubs fans cringe at. This year is the 100 year anniversary of the Cubs last World Series Title. When they came oh so close in 2003 to just reaching their first World Series in several decades, it all came crashing down.

A fan interference, an error by the shortstop, and a dissolving 3-1 series lead all led to catastrophe. Some people believe it all started with Steve Bartman's interference on Alou (I beg to differ). Ever since then, many fans sitting along the field have the possibilty of pulling a "Bartman". Fans are told not to interfere with balls that can be played. Many don't care and want a souvenir.

But to Cubs fans on that October night, they took it personal. Death threats forced Bartman to move out of Cubs territory. So for whoever sits along the brick walls down the first and third base lines at Wrigley, you have a very pressure filled job. DON'T SCREW IT UP!

No. 4: The Dallas Cowboys' Head Coach

To be labeled "America's Team" is a high honor and with that honor comes a ton of pressure. Every Sunday, millions of Cowboys fans tune in to see their team compete like the did in the days of Aikman, Smith, Staubach, and Dorsett. Many of the coaches have feuded with very vocal and dominant owner, Jerry Jones. Both Super Bowl winning coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer decided to resign because of the feuding or pressure. That's how pressure filled Big D really is.

No. 3: First Overall Draft Pick

So much pressure is put into being a number one overall pick. You are expected to be the next Jordan, Montana, Griffey, or Gretzky before you even step foot on the playing field.Some have flourished, but many have failed.

To look at some that have failed look no further than Roman Hamrlik (NHL 1992), Alexandre Daigle (NHL 1993), Patrik Stefan (NHL 1999), Kwame Brown (NBA 2001), Derrick Coleman (NBA 1990), Michael Vick (NFL 2001), and Tim Couch (NFL 1999).

But some have flourished such as Lebron James, Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez, and Sidney Crosby. Overall, this is very tough on the mentality of any young athlete. They have the mindset that they have to be something that is far better than they really are and in the end, all fails.

No. 2: Anybody involved in Philadelphia Sports

They booed Santa Claus! That's how tough it is to be a professional athlete or coach in the "City of Brotherly Love".

Eagles fans have yet to celebrate a championship in the "Super Bowl Era". The 76ers have yet to win a title since Dr. J was inventing driving to the lane. The Phillies have taken some time to get over Joe Carter. Danny Briere had not even been born the last time the Flyers captured the Cup.

This passionate sports city has dealt with recently— three straight losses in the NFC Title Game (Eagles), blowing a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals (Flyers), zero playoff wins since 1993 (Phillies), and a team looking to develop a winning culture (76ers).

They have every right to be pissed off! But the city that is known for booing underachievers (Lindros, McNabb) and even legends (Mike Schmidt), is passionate about their sports—just watch out if you ever happen to play or coach there!

No. 1: Manager of the New York Yankees

From what Yankee fans tell me, they have 26 World Championships. That's a lot of pressure to anybody who works at Yankee Stadium, but most of that falls into the lap of the manager.

The manager is responsible for making sure that 25 men play their hearts (and contracts) out to win and avoid anything that can become front page news in the New York papers.

No matter what you have done for the Steinbrenner family, your job will never be safe. Just ask Joe Torre (managed four championships), Yogi Berra (10 titles as a player) or most of all Billy Martin (five stints as manager).All who were either pushed out the door, fired after being promised they wouldn't be fired or feuding with the Steinbrenners in the sports pages.

No job has the pressure of dealing with hardcore New York fans, the vicious media, and the toughest owning family in professional sports.


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