After all, what’s not to like about a former NFL player when you’re looking for a team leader?
Former players know what it takes to coach a team because they have lived the other half of the experience. They know which techniques were effective for them and their peers, and which coaching strategies were immediate turn-offs and left them cold.
On the other hand, not all current NFL players have what it takes to make it as a coach. In addition to awareness of their own former position, players-turned-coaches must also be deeply knowledgeable about every role on (and off) the field.
He must be a good decision-maker who is capable of surrounding himself with others whose strengths complement his weaknesses, and, frankly, a potential coach must be a scholar of the game.
There are plenty of players in the NFL today who will likely try to become coaches when their career on the field is finished. Not all of them will find success, but there are certainly players who have a better chance than others.
Over the next six slides, we will explore some of the most promising candidates for an eventual coaching career in the NFL.
It takes more than brawn to play defense in the NFL—brains are an integral part of success as well.
In addition to the physical and mental requirements that make him such a great player, Allen has also got the wow-factor that makes him a fan favorite and the intangibles that make him a leader on the field.
It wouldn’t be difficult for Allen to turn those fine qualities toward a coaching career when his career comes to an end.
If there is one player in the NFL who has leadership written all over him, it would be Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
During the 2011 NFL lockout, Fitzgerald took it upon himself to organize team workouts, as players were unable to use team resources and facilities.
Those sessions were available to any player who cared to come—not just to members of the Arizona Cardinals.
The efficacy of the lockout workouts is certainly debatable now that the 2011 season is underway, but that is beside the point. It is easy to see that putting the politics of the NFL aside and simply focusing on bettering those around him are qualities that will make Fitzgerald a fantastic coach.
He’s a comedian, he takes everything as it comes, and encourages his fellow players to do the same.
That attitude has led Briggs to a career that many only dream of, complete with six Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro selections to date.
That type of Pollyanna attitude disguises a keen mind and a high football IQ, as well as a sound belief in his own potential to be great.
The combination of intelligence, self-confidence and gentle delivery of praise and criticism alike give Briggs a potential coach to be reckoned with in the future.
It is undisputable that Tom Brady is one of the best players in football today, as evidenced by his two MVP awards, six Pro Bowl selections, three Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs and selection to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
Brady was helped to the top by a combination of good fortune (Drew Bledsoe's season-ending injury for example), hard work, great athleticism and coaching by Bill Belichick.
After a magnificent career of amazing play coupled with brilliant coaching, it’s not hard to see Tom Brady evolving into an equally successful coach on the NFL level.
As the long, productive career of Tony Gonzalez begins to reach its twilight, the time is ripe for consideration of what the tight end will do with life after football.
He ought to consider a career in coaching.
Raised by a single mother from the Dominican Republic, Tony Gonzalez is just one of many NFLers who have found success in professional sports after a less-than-ideal childhood. He leads an active life outside of football, yet his focus on the field is second to none.
Why would any of that make him a great coach?
Gonzalez is a man who has the talent to become great, the drive to never become complacent, and the grounding in reality to keep his eyes on the prize.
As a player, those talents make him an on-field leader; as a coach, those qualities make him insatiable to become better—a hunger that will be reflected by his staff, his players and fans. That can be a potent combination.
It’s hard to imagine an NFL without Peyton Manning, who has established himself as one of the smartest and most talented players in football since his debut in 1998.
He is a true leader on the field. Indeed, judging by the impact of his absence this year, Manning may have played a significantly greater role for the Indianapolis Colts than many of us imagined.
In this case, his performance on the field is indicative of his potential on the sidelines. Manning always makes it his mission to learn everything he can about the game of football, both offensively and defensively.
As one of the best quarterbacks in the modern game, he has a particular talent for putting together the best possible offense. Sure, he’d need some help on defense, but that’s what assistant coaches are for.
Sad as it is to say, there’s a chance Peyton Manning will be evaluating his talent as a coach sooner rather than later.