Can You Eat Your Way to the Super Bowl? Does a Fat Head Coach Affect a Team?
*WARNING STRONG LANGUAGE*
Not long ago, I stumbled across a video of Mike & Mike talking to Coach Herm Edwards on ESPN.com, and something that they mentioned stuck with me.
How can you ask your team to act with discipline, to train right, to eat right and so on, when you don't? Is that not a double standard?
As much as it made me laugh thinking about the chubby funsters in head coach positions, it also does have some validity that should be explored.
In the interest of settling this dispute, I feel it is my duty to find out if a super-sized head coach leads to super-sized success? Can you eat your way to a Super Bowl? Or does a fat head coach leave you huffing and puffing at the starting line?
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Mike McCarthy, head coach of the Green Bay Packers, the Super Bowl Champions.
A shining beacon for chubby HC's in the NFL today. Just look at the picture, we can see the beautiful Vince Lombardi trophy being deservedly admired by the talented Mike McCarthy—and his two chins. Who's to say the 'Mc' in 'McCarthy' isn't an endorsement from his favorite eatery?
Pittsburgh's super fit, young and groomed head coach Mike Tomlin was no match for the chubby might of Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers on Super Bowl Sunday.
I know that if I was on a field being shouted at by a big fat guy, or a smaller fitter guy, I would be more inclined to adhere to the one that could eat me if he got a bit peckish.
Maybe that's the key to success? Surely not?
Let's delve a little deeper...
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If Andy Reid's belt isn't inducted into the Hall of Fame for the tireless and selfless work it has done in this league over the years, it will be a crime against football.
Believe it or not, there's even an "Andy Reid Sundae" as seen in the well-known 2002 training camp photo!
Reid has led the Philadelphia Eagles to nine playoff seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance in 2004.
This year, he's championed the resurgent Michael Vick and given him an opportunity to be the figurehead of the franchise. Vick dare not do anything to get on the wrong side of Andy, or he might just get sat on.
Perhaps that's the kind of threat that has kept Mike Vick on the straight and narrow so far! Andy, we salute you!
Unfortunately for Andy, he's never quite gotten to where he wants to get to. Do his teams have the discipline and the drive to get it done? So far, the answer is no.
The rumors of Donovan struggling towards the end of the Super Bowl with stamina issues is akin to Reid's head coaching style. He does not have the stamina to get it done and the city of Philadelphia is beginning to grow weary of him. If Vick does not bring success quickly, the balloon that is Andy Reid might just get popped!
*WARNING STRONG LANGUAGE*
Is it too easy to go after Rex Ryan on his weight? Yes, it is far too easy, and it shouldn't be!
In March 2010, Rex underwent surgery because he could no longer control his weight. Thankfully for Rex, it's had an overwhelmingly positive effect on his waist line. However, in comparison to the other coaches in the league, Rex remains one of the bigger boys in a head coaching job.
In his two years as the New York Jets head coach, he's taken them to the playoffs twice, which included his belly barging of the 2010 favorite New England Patriots, knocking them out of the playoffs in the Divisional round.
Rex commands the respect of his players and they really do root for the guy. Are they scared that their head might be the "snack" that Rex refers to in the video above and therefore play hard for him?
When your big, fat HC sprints down the field to celebrate with you after a TD like a charging hippo (a la Shonn Greene against the Patriots) it's hard not to have crazy respect for him for just putting in that effort! Somebody give that man a burger!
Unfortunately for Jets fans, Rex has struggled to get his team to the big dance so far. Can his style of coaching only do so much? There are a lot of critics who would say so.
Right now, Rex is huffing and puffing under the pressure. Can he drop both his baggage and the team's metaphorical baggage and make it to the Super Bowl? Do they go hand-in-hand?
You be the judge...
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There's a reason Eric Mangini is no longer the head coach of the Cleveland Browns—he just can't get it done, as evidenced by his 10-22 record in the Forest City.
The nickname 'Man-genius' can only have come from some food-related discovery, perhaps a way in which to turn steak sauce into a milkshake and then inject it straight into the bloodstream. No?
Perhaps it is unfair to say that Mangini's lack of personal discipline transferred onto the field, as he was only HC for two seasons and didn't have much to work with, but people have done more with less and in a shorter time—Leslie Frazier anybody?
Mangini, despite what the future holds for him, is another example of a fat head coach who has had little success. Whether it's a coincidence or not, it is definitely interesting!
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Former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Wade Phillips has certainly enjoyed some Texas-sized steaks during his tenure in "Big D."
He struggled to get the Cowboys anywhere near the big dance in three-and-a-half seasons and was subsequently shown the door in favor of the comparatively tiny Jason Garrett.
Phillips is another example of a big-boned head coach who simply couldn't get the job done. With the number of big head coaches in the NFL who are currently having no success, this must be starting to give you reason to doubt the chubby funster you have on the sidelines.
A bit more time spent working hard and less time spent cramming BBQ ribs in your face hole, perhaps?
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Enter Mike Holmgren.
As with any rule, there are exceptions (Mike McCarthy being another).
Holmgren won a Super Bowl in 1996 with Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, lost two other Super Bowl appearances and has made the playoffs 12 times in total.
What Holmgren has proven is that he doesn't just have an over-sized gut, but in fact has a big fat brain to go with it.
Big Mike is one of few exceptions to the rule. You could possibly throw Bill Parcells in the mix as well, but neither were particularly huge when they won their respective Super Bowl championships.
Despite this, there is an undeniable shift going on in the NFL that one might find interesting to look at with regards to a head coach's physique.
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If we look at the recent coaches to win a Super Bowl, we notice a move away from fat guys to a generation of leaner, meaner disciplinarians. Some of them may not be skinny but they are by no means heavier than average.
1996 Mike Holmgren Overweight
1997, 1998 Mike Shanahan
1999 Dick Vermeil
2000 Brian Billick
2001, 2003, 2004 Bill Belichick
2002 Jon Gruden
2005 Bill Cowher
2006 Tony Dungy
2007 Tom Coughlin
2008 Mike Tomlin
2009 Sean Payton
2010 Mike McCarthy Overweight
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So does a fat head coach have a detrimental affect on a team's overall performance? It's still up in the air.
One might say that it is purely coincidental. However, one might argue that if they were a player and Andy Reid came up to them and said, "Hey you need to lose some weight to get better, go and run some laps," they would laugh right in his face.
One might find it hard to accept something like this when coming from someone who has no self-discipline in their own lifestyle, health and fitness. Furthermore, one would argue that they are much more likely to listen to someone like Mike Tomlin, who is very much in shape, as he adheres to the standards which he asks the players to abide by also.
You should always practice what you preach, regardless of what profession you are in, and this is something that is beginning to permeate the world of football more than ever.
This argument does have a certain amount of validity to it and is something to consider as the league continues to change. However, as long as we have exceptions to the rule like Mike McCarthy and Mike Holmgren, there will always be naysayers who put it down to coincidence and I am not entirely sure if I am not one of them.
It's obvious that coaches ARE becoming younger and fitter, but the jury is still out on whether that makes them better coaches than the overweight ones.
It most certainly SHOULD (practice what you preach), but whether or not it does is still up for debate. It is impossible to truly know whether or not a coach's weight is made redundant by the overwhelming respect that players have for him regardless, as seems to be the case with Rexy!
I, for one, would like to celebrate our lovable bags of fun, as they really help us get the most out of our 3D TVs!