Comparing All 32 NFL Head Coaches to Simpsons Characters
There are surprisingly very few differences between the main players of Springfield and the head honchos on NFL staffs. They have no issue being animated, and their personalities are about as wide-ranging as one could imagine.
They have their ways of going about their business and they keep us entertained every week (and don't even start about the show dropping in quality. The show may not be at the same place as its first 10 seasons, but it's still very funny to watch).
Here are all 32 NFL head coaches and their equivalent character from The Simpsons.
Ken Whisenhunt: Comic Book Guy
Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt might begin to hear fans say the team has the "Worst defense ever!"
While that may not be true, they would certainly have reason to jump to that conclusion. The team's best corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was shipped to Philadelphia in the trade for QB Kevin Kolb. With his loss, the team's best corner is rookie draft pick Patrick Peterson.
That lack of depth is magnified, especially as the team ranked 30th in defending the run in 2010.
Mike Smith: Kent Brockman
This is my cheap comparison: Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith just looks like Springfield TV anchorman Kent Brockman.
With their ghost white hair on full blast, these two are a perfect pair (unless Anderson Cooper can work his way into this comparison somehow).
John Harbaugh: Professor John Frink
Football is like science. You create the approach you want to go with, test it to see if it is effective and implement it while looking for the next best approach.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has all the pieces he needs to make a big playoff run. He's got an established quarterback in Joe Flacco, an impressive defensive arsenal and a great running game led by Ray Rice.
With that said, the Ravens still haven't been able to piece together the big run (or get past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs).
Likewise, Professor Frink usually has the right ideas about what he wants to do with his experiments, and he's pretty intelligent (even if he's in total denial about his nerd status in this clip).
On the field or in the lab, sometimes these projects work and sometimes they don't.
Chan Gailey: Ralph Wiggum
I'll keep this brief.
The Buffalo Bills played under Chan Gailey-coached games last season in the same way that Ralph Wiggum displayed his English proficiency.
Not very well.
Ron Rivera and Mike Munchak: Lenny and Carl
Two first-year head coaches who enter franchises that are a few years apart. Head coaching experience-wise, these two are incredibly similar.
Likewise, both Lenny and Carl have worked at the Nuclear Power Plant with Homer for years, and spend a lot of time together both in and out of work. Life experience-wise, these two are very similar.
Lovie Smith: Otto
It's crazy that it's only been a few years since Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith had his team in the Super Bowl.
Since that point, the team has seen their success vary wildly. Last year's burnout in the NFC Championship Game left many with a bad taste in their mouth (or bad feelings toward Jay Cutler), but moving the team toward a championship is nothing to scoff at.
Similarly, it's not always clear that bus driver Otto knows where he's going or what's going on around him. But he gets those kids to school safely, and that's what really matters.
Coaching and bus driving are not as different as you think. Even though it's always good to know that you're moving forward, your fans/riders are always appreciative if you're going in the right direction.
(Photo courtesy of flickr.com- user Spartan Red 1492)
Marvin Lewis: Chief Wiggum
Chief Wiggum, while a likable character, has proven himself to be disappointing as someone who upholds the law.
Similarly, I really like Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. He's tried to steer the ship while managing some of the game's biggest prima donnas and mismanagement from the team's ownership (what are they doing with Carson Palmer?). However, there has to be some accountability for the Bengals' record of legal troubles, and in a way, that has to fall on Lewis.
On a side note, with the way the Bengals are looking right now, there may not be much to see in Cincy this upcoming season.
Pat Shurmur: Milhouse
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has the odds against him. The team has little depth at most of the offensive and defensive skill positions, and he will be adjusting quarterback Colt McCoy into a West Coast offense. As a first-year coach, why would he take such a daunting and nearly impossible assignment?
The things that the love of football will have you do.
Milhouse is in a similar thankless spot. In addition to having unrequited feelings for classmate Lisa Simpson, he also has to struggle as his mother and father split up in front of him. Getting beat up by a classmate doesn't make that any more fun. Why would he pass the note on like that?
The things that love will have you do...
Jason Garrett: Sideshow Bob
Talk about somebody lacking a killer instinct.
Sideshow Bob (video attached) is haunted by his inability to track down and kill his nemesis, Bart Simpson.
In the same way, the Dallas Cowboys seemed to lack the ability to close out their opponents last season as they worked their way to a 6-10 record in 2010. Some of that blame has to fall to their head coach, Jason Garrett.
Something tells me that barring major changes, things may not get much better for America's Team in 2011 (the offensive line is porous right now).
John Fox: Disco Stu
It's not a stretch to say that the style of clothes and lingo used by Disco Stu is on the outs, and has been on the outs for a long time.
One can only wonder why Stu still tries to live out the disco lifestyle when it's not all that relevant anymore.
In the same way, it's been a while since new Denver Broncos head coach John Fox really moved his team in the right direction. While 8-8 is nothing to be too upset about (as a 49ers fan, I'd be happy with that record), based on the track record, it's a step in the wrong direction.
While it's easy to cheer on John Fox, one can only wonder if Fox should have taken more time off. The style of football Fox coached (and won around) in the early 2000s is not all that relevant anymore, and perhaps the losing ways toward the end of his time in Carolina show he is slightly out of touch.
Jim Schwartz: Eleanor Abernathy (The Crazy Cat Lady)
Entering his third year as the Detroit Lions coach, Jim Schwartz has yet to have a full season with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. This is very important, as the team dynamic completely changes if Stafford goes out of the lineup.
Don't be surprised if the head lion turns into a crazy cat if his lead offensive weapon (other than Calvin Johnson) is out of commission for the third year in a row.
Mike McCarthy: Fat Tony
Underestimate the mob (and leader Fat Tony) at your own risk. The way they carry those "lawn trimmings" would suggest it's not their first time around the block.
Similarly, underestimate the Green Bay Packers and their head coach Mike McCarthy at your own peril. Coming off their big Super Bowl win (with most of their starters returning), they will come into the season most likely fresher than anyone.
Don't be surprised if they pack in a few teams' worth of lawn trimmings to start off the year.
Gary Kubiak: Homer Simpson
Half of the inspiration for this slideshow was the classic episode "Bart Star," where Homer Simpson takes over the local youth football team. In addition to making several unusual cuts and putting Bart in as starting quarterback, his play-calling abilities leave much to be desired.
The comparison also fits with Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Despite being paired with one of the most talented offenses in the league (and several good players on its defensive line), the team struggled to a 6-10 record in 2011.
If Kubiak can squander the boatload of talent already in place, I'm not sure how the team will jump up in 2011.
Jim Caldwell: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
When dealing with several important things at one time, having calming presences around can be very helpful.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell is completely unflappable. I've tried writing four different sentences about how calm he looks during pressure-filled situations, but it felt like a cheap mix between a Chuck Norris and a Most Interesting Man in the World joke.
Likewise, few people would stay so upbeat while managing a convenience store while raising a family with eight children. Yikes! Yet despite a few outbursts, Apu has managed to keep his cool throughout these challenges.
With the Colts looking to start the season without still-playing Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, Caldwell's ability to stay calm will be important now more than ever.
(Photo courtesy of flickr.com- user Whistling in the Dark)
Jack Del Rio: Dr. Nick
In a world where hospital patient care demands go outside the normal realm of medical training, having an "unorthodox" practitioner like Dr. Nick can be useful (even if his treatments possibly disfigure you).
Similarly, with a lot of different holes to fill, having a coach who can dissect rosters to find the best talent configurations can be a pretty huge boost.
Enter Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio.
In addition to determining how to develop rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the team has a lot of question marks on their defensive line and in their secondary.
It looks like the team will need a shot of talent in 2011...stat!
Todd Haley: Rainier Wolfcastle
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has been very successful since taking over the team in 2009. In 2010, Haley led the team to its first divisional title since 2003.
Meanwhile, actor Rainier Wolfcastle is better known in the Simpsons' world as the character McBain. While he has shown a helpful side, his characters have created a perception of a no-nonsense attitude (even if it is deserved).
Tony Sporano: Groundskeeper Willie
Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins compare in the sense that they aren't where they need to be.
Everything about Groundskeeper Willie's accent and calls for home suggests he longs for the days to return back to the homeland and to connect back with his roots (even if it's something as simple as cheering on his favorite soccer team, Aberdeen).
Likewise, everything about the Dolphins' home record last year (1-7) suggests they'd be better off leveling their stadium and setting up shop in a new location every week.
The moral here: There's no place like where you aren't at that particular moment.
Leslie Frazier: Lionel Hutz
There's the truth...and then there's the truth. Well said, Lionel Hutz.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier may have to emphasize the looser definition of the truth as he defines his team this season. The consensus is that quarterback Donovan McNabb is not the quarterback to win with, and a weaker line will slow down the offense even more. A few key defensive exits will slow them down as well.
I have a feeling Frazier will be extra honest when talking about his team's play in 2011.
Bill Belichick: Montgomery Burns
While this clip of Montgomery Burns is of when the nuclear power plant owner stacked his company softball team with superstar players, the lesson is clear: Players have to conform if they want to play on the team.
In this same way, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has built a reputation of bringing in talented players whose behavior has created issues for their past.
With that in mind, it wouldn't be too big of a surprise if new signees Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth invested in a nice set of clippers if Belichick didn't like their haircuts (like poor Don Mattingly).
Sean Payton: Marge Simpson
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Marge Simpson get the bigger picture.
When the focus may go to flashier people or events, somebody has to be willing to plan ahead and make the important adjustments.
Sean Payton's ability to stay calm while making incredibly risky decisions (an onside kick...to start the second half of a Super Bowl!) has made him an incredibly valuable commodity.
Likewise, Marge's ability to create stability out of the madness that is her husband Homer's outrageous and often short-sighted decision making is the glue that keeps the otherwise dysfunctional family together.
Tom Coughlin: Hans Moleman
Few things were better than the look on New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's face as he loudly berated punter Matt Dodge following a late season collapse to the Philadelphia Eagles.
In this way, few things were better to watch (and clearly a winner in the Springfield Film Festival) than watching Hans Moleman getting nailed in the groin.
It works on so many levels!
Rex Ryan: Bart Simpson
It's only a coincidence that has Bart Simpson learning the most important tips of quarterbacking from New York Jets legend Joe Namath, the same team as head coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan has made a name for himself in both his ability to get the New York Jets in the win column and some of his outrageous and hilarious antics when interacting with the media.
Bart Simpson has also used his bad boy image to become one of the major pop-culture icons of the 1990s, and his antics prompted the show getting called out by then-President George H.W. Bush.
Hue Jackson: Nelson Muntz
Every year, the Oakland Raiders seem to have their detractors. This year is no different. Whether it's confusion about the losses on the defense, or unhappy followers of quarterback Jason Campbell, everybody's a critic (including myself).
With that said, new head coach Hue Jackson has inherited a better situation than most think. The team still has a decent amount of speed, and the offense should be the highlight of the team's game.
If the Raiders can put together some out-of-division wins, it could legitimately say it's a serious playoff contender.
Jackson may find himself getting the last laugh out of this one.
Andy Reid: Ned Flanders
With the level of kindness and compassion Ned Flanders shows to others, it's amazing that he is a recipient of such poor treatment from his neighbor, Homer (not to mention Reverend Lovejoy).
In that same way, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has weathered too much criticism for a guy that has won as many games as he has.
I have a good feeling that Reid will quiet many of his detractors with the way the Philadelphia Eagles will play in 2011.
Mike Tomlin: Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson never gets credited for being thoughtful and intelligent, especially at her young age. Like the attached clip, many of the things Lisa says simply go over her audiences' head.
Since taking over for Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has shown tremendous intelligence in how he has led the team and the discipline that the team has shown overall.
While much has been said for the overall quality in the organization of the Steelers, Tomlin has guided the team to two of the past three Super Bowls, winning his first in 2008.
The quality of Tomlin's coaching is notable because it has completely ended any questions on Tomlin's age and previous experience (Tomlin is only 39).
Norv Turner: Dr. Hibbert
Is it a good thing as a patient to have a doctor willing to burst into laughter in the most uncomfortable of situations?
Similarly, is it a good thing for fans to be more fiery and passionate about their team than their head coach?
For both Dr. Hibbert and Norv Turner, that line is a tough one to balance on, and for those on the outside looking in, I'm sure it can be pretty frustrating.
Jim Harbaugh: Maggie Simpson
While it may be humbling to compare a grown man to a baby, this is really not all that bad of a comparison. Jim Harbaugh, a standout coach at Stanford, takes over a 49ers team that hasn't sniffed a playoff game since 2003.
He hasn't been the most vocal of coaches, but instead focuses on seeing the results on the field (even if they're two to three years away). His tact most likely helped keep Frank Gore in town at a reasonable price.
Similarly, Maggie may not be able to speak (many) words, but she has shown a huge aptitude and intelligence in her limited communication.
Less is more.
(Photo courtesy of flickr.com- user Acutance)
Pete Carroll: Lyle Lanley
He's smooth…maybe a little too smooth.
One-time character Lyle Lanley (voiced by the late Phil Hartman) used a snazzy presentation and an upbeat song to win over the skeptical people of Springfield on the positives about building a monorail.
But when the monorail later turned out to be a major fraud, Lanley was on the first flight out of town.
Current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll won us all over as the go-getter coach of the University of Southern California, creating a dynasty that included two AP titles and a BCS national championship. When a series of NCAA punishments were imposed (which resulted in his BCS title being stripped), he bolted out of town at a record pace.
Since making his return to the NFL in 2010, Carroll has seen his team perform well. In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs for the first time in three years, and scored a big win over the New Orleans Saints.
I'm not sure he'll keep that up. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Carroll skip town when a big college coaching job opens up a few year down the road.
Steve Spagnuolo: Moe Szyslak
There are plenty of reasons to not go overboard in praising St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo. The Rams haven't been good in years. The NFC West has been mostly awful for years.
With that said, the progress that Spagnuolo has made since taking over has been staggering.
He doesn't deserve to be ignored like this...(BIIING!).
In the same way, Moe probably deserves just a little more respect. He owns a business, a business that has stayed open for about 20 years. He's a loyal friend to Homer and the rest of the bar's customers.
What does he get instead? Prank phone calls and mean comments.
He just doesn't deserve this shabby treatment...(BEEEEEP!)
Raheem Morris: Jasper Beardley
Raheem Morris, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, means business. He was vocal in opposing the NFL's changes in full contact practices. He wanted pads. He wanted hits. He wanted contact.
With this in mind, Jasper was an easy pick for this comparison. Now the only question is application. I could see it working something like:
-Miss a block, that's a paddling.
-Drop a pass, that's a paddling.
-Fumble a ball, that's definitely a paddling.
Mike Shanahan: Krusty the Clown
Krusty the Clown, while a major name in the world that the Simpsons live in, is continually shown to have been burned out by the entertainment industry. His motivation taken away, he stays relevant by licensing his name out for a variety of products (who's up for a Krusty Burger?).
While I don't think that Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has any loss of motivation as he enters his second year with the team, it's clear his greatest successes are behind him. After a frustrating debut year in the nation's capital, how long will 'Skins fans wait for a shot at returning to legitimacy?
Now Shanahan will most likely pin the hopes of their season on relative newcomer John Beck. While the Redskins have played decently in the preseason, I'm pretty sure the team will have a few laughs going in their direction based on their play.
(Photo courtesy of flickr.com- user walknboston)