Comparing Every NFL Head Coach to a Rapper

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2011

Comparing Every NFL Head Coach to a Rapper

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    Comparing NFL head coaches to famous rap artists seems like a difficult task on the surface, but once you start to dig in a little bit, you begin to find quite a few similarities between the two groups.

    Sure, coaches usually aren't as flashy and flamboyant as their rapper counterparts, but there's many other ways they're similar.

    At this point you might be asking yourself, "How in the world can you compare T.I. to Rex Ryan?" If so, you should read on and find out the answer to that question, and many more.

Ken Whisenhunt

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    Rap Counterpart: Outkast

    Ken Whisenhunt is probably best known for being a cautious offensive coach, who also loves to throw in innovative trick plays to keep defenses guessing.

    This can best be seen during his time in Pittsburgh, where he had Antwaan Randle El throw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward for the first-ever TD pass thrown by a wide receiver.

    Outkast has long been one of the biggest innovators in the rap game. Andre 3000 brings his crazy flow to the table in every track they release, while Big Boi holds it down as the less wild half of the duo. These two have blended their sounds and become one of the most successful rap duos ever.

Mike Smith

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    Rap Counterpart: B.o.B.

    When Mike Smith made his debut as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, many thought it would be a year or two before they were legitimate contenders because they were starting a rookie quarterback.

    However, he proved them wrong, as his Falcons went 11-5 and he was named the Coach of the Year. He's continued to build on that first year and has made his team perennial contenders.

    B.o.B. released his debut album just a few short years ago and immediately shot up everyone's play list. He was a mainstream sensation and the sky was the limit for the young Grand Hustle phenom.

    Since then, he hasn't disappointed. His "I am the Champion" was heard all over the nation during last season's ESPN Bowl Week. He's also got his sophomore album in the pipeline, which will look to continue his first album's success in 2012. 

John Harbaugh

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    Rap Counterpart: DJ Jazzy Jeff 

    When thinking about who to compare the two Harbaugh brothers to, I decided it had to be a duo. After all, these are the first two brothers who have both been head coaches in the NFL together. When looking through the best duos in rap history, I finally settled on DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

    Much like John Harbaugh, Jazzy Jeff is the more laid-back of his duo. He lets the Prince do most of the talking and being out in the media, while he sits back, does his job, and reaps the rewards. Now obviously, both Harbaugh and Jazzy Jeff are outgoing, but they're the more subdued halves of their respective duos.

Jim Harbaugh

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    Rap Counterpart: Will Smith

    As I said in the previous slide, Jim Harbaugh is more of a front-runner than his brother. He played professional football for 14 years and is a former first-round draft pick. He wowed fans with his ability to manufacture comeback victories and has already proven himself to be a great coach with the quick turnaround he's put together in San Francisco.

    Will Smith as the Fresh Prince was in the spotlight much more often than Jazzy Jeff. He, like Harbaugh, relished the spotlight and performed the best when the lights were the brightest. He's gone on to have a great acting career after his solid rap gig. Jim Harbaugh is hoping he can also be successful in his second profession. 

Chan Gailey

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    Rap Counterpart: Donnis

    Going back to his days as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, Chan Gailey has always been a solid head coach. He's never hit it out of the park and had that one magical season that saw him advance deep into the playoffs, but he's always put a competitive team on the field. 

    Donnis is similar in that, while he has yet to have his breakout record, he's always putting out good music. He can't seem to find real mainstream success yet, but it could be coming at any point. With an album due out sometime soon, we might see him make the leap to superstardom, but for now, he's just a good mixtape artist who has yet to impress with album sales.

Ron Rivera

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    Rap Counterpart: Pitbull

    Ron Rivera was the first Puerto Rican to play on a Super Bowl champion team and became only the third Latino to be named as a head coach when he was introduced as the Panthers leading man. It felt only right to pair him up with a fellow Hispanic when comparing him to a rapper.

    Pitbull is of Cuban ancestry, but the connection is still there. As a student of Miami bass beats, Pitbull is one of the most famous Hispanics in rap history. Every single album he's put out has made the US Rap Chart's top ten and he just had his first No. 1 single earlier this year. Rivera is hoping that he too can have success in the near future.

Lovie Smith

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    Rap Counterpart: Game

    Lovie Smith brings a no-nonsense attitude to the Chicago Bears and forces them to play hard-nosed football. He's a defensive genius who shaped the Bears in his image and took them to the Super Bowl a few years ago. His players are aging and that's made his "D" weaker, but the man can still get a ton out of any defender you give him.

    Game is also a tough guy who's been involved in numerous feuds over the years. Most prominently, he had some beef with mentor 50 Cent that is still going on today.

    The former gang member has real street cred and had a tough upbringing, especially after he joined the Bloods along with his half brother. It's not hard to see why Game has such a tough demeanor considering his gang life didn't end until he was shot five times in his apartment.

Marvin Lewis

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    Rap Counterpart: Soulja Boy

    During his long tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, Marvin Lewis has had a couple of great years that are surrounded with instances of his team under-performing. Lewis has led his Bengals to 10+ wins twice in his career, but more often than not they are in the bottom half of the league and are unable to capitalize on their potential. 

    Soulja Boy also has put out quite a few hits, but doesn't really have the staying power of the best rap artists. His songs are usually seen as "ring tone" raps that don't have any true merit and are easily dismissed by most rap-heads. That said, he does have quite a bit of potential, he just needs to learn how to harness it in the right way.

Pat Shurmur

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    Rap Counterpart: Dr. Dre

    Pat Shurmur hasn't been a head coach for very long, but he has shown enough as a developer of talent that the Browns decided to take a chance on him. While with the St. Louis Rams, Shurmur was able to turn rookie quarterback Sam Bradford into a legitimate NFL player. The Browns are hoping he can do the same with Colt McCoy.

    Dr. Dre is a great rapper, but he's probably most famous for the kind of talent he's been able to find and train up. His star pupil is Eminem, but he can also claim to have discovered 50 Cent, Game, and Young Buck, among others. 

Jason Garrett

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    Rap Counterpart: Drake

    For quite some time, Jason Garrett was the hottest head coach commodity in the NFL. Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones was smart to keep him around and groom him to be the future coach. Garrett has finally been given the opportunity and only time will tell how good he can make "America's Team."

    Drake is also the hottest commodity in the rap game. His first mixtape took the world by storm and made him an overnight sensation. His freshman album wasn't quite as good as the tape, but it cemented him as a major player for the foreseeable future.

John Fox

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    Rap Counterpart: Asher Roth

    In his early days at Carolina, John Fox put together a pretty solid team that made the Super Bowl in 2003 and then got as far as the NFC Championship game in 2005. After that, his teams were very inconsistent and he could only get back to the playoffs once more before ending his career with a 2-14 season record in 2010.

    Much like Fox, Asher Roth had one huge hit in "I Love College" before being regulated to relative obscurity. Fox had a little more overall success than Roth, but neither have been able to recapture their early success.

Jim Schwartz

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    Rap Counterpart: Childish Gambino

    Jim Schwartz toiled away on a terrible Lions team for two straight years, but during that time he was building his franchise into a team that could actually be competitive. This year, the Lions started off the season 5-0 and, even though they've since lost two straight, it looks like they might finally make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

    Childish Gambino, or Donald Glover, lived in relative rap obscurity early in on in his career. Often times he was thought of as more of a comedic rapper, but Gambino has slowly been proving doubters wrong and will release his first studio album in November. Both these guys had to fight an uphill battle, but it looks like it's all finally starting to pay off.

Mike McCarthy

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    Rap Counterpart: Eminem

    When Mike McCarthy began his career as the Green Bay Packers head coach, he was lucky enough to have Brett Favre on his side. In his second year as the head coach, he helped lead the Packers to the NFC Championship game, but then things went downhill.

    After a messy break-up with Favre, McCarthy had to lean on Aaron Rodgers. The team took some time to get itself back together, but in 2011 they did and became Super Bowl Champions in the process.

    Eminem is like McCarthy because he also started out his career strong before hitting a rough patch. Eminem's hardship came in the form of a drug habit that kept him out of the game from 2005 to 2008. However, when he came back he quickly assumed his place on top and has held that spot ever since; putting out hit records one after the other.

Gary Kubiak

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    Rap Counterpart: Freddie Gibbs

    Gary Kubiak's Houston Texans are loaded with talent, and have been for a few years now. They have the best wide receiver in the NFL in Andre Johnson, a solid quarterback, a good running back and a great defense. However, they haven't been able to put it together for an entire season and have yet to even make the playoffs under Kubiak.

    Freddie Gibbs also possesses all the talent in the world, but has yet to turn his potential into record sales. The man has some of the best mixtapes out right now, but none of his albums have quite clicked with the general public. Hopefully, he turn his boundless ability into a quality record sometime soon.

Jim Caldwell

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    Rap Counterpart: Black Eyed Peas

    Before this season, Jim Caldwell was 24-8 all-time as the Indianapolis Colts head coach. However, his star quarterback Peyton Manning has been out all year and the team has yet to win a game. Without his best player, Caldwell looks like a mediocre coach and has some Colts' fans questioning if he can turn this team around anytime soon.

    The Black Eyed Peas are almost the exact opposite of Caldwell. They began their career as a fairly good trio, but never got the record sales they wanted. Then they added Fergie to the mix, and the group blew up. Fergie is the Peas' Peyton Manning, changing the group from a decent one to a great one just by being there.

Jack Del Rio

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    Rap Counterpart: P. Diddy

    This one's a little shallow, but stay with me for it. As far as I know, there have only been two coaches since 1993 to wear a suit on the sidelines. The first is Mike Nolan, who wore it to honor his father. The other is Jack Del Rio, who wore to support his friend.

    P. Diddy is probably the best dressed rapper in the world and is always looking good no matter where he goes. He's constantly seen in a tailored suit that makes him look like the great businessman. It might be a stretch, but Del Rio is the NFL's best-dressed coach, so he gets matched up with Diddy. 

Todd Haley

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    Rap Counterpart: 50 Cent

    Todd Haley has one of the most combative personalities in the NFL. He's been known to get in verbal disputes with guys like Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Terrell Owens. It seems like there's not a man in the NFL who hasn't gotten into it with T.O. at some point, but Kurt Warner? You have to be looking for a fight if you're getting into a spat with that former quarterback.

    50 Cent is probably the rapper with the most high-profile feuds right now. Obviously, there's the big beef with former protege Game, but 50's list of feuds goes on forever. He's gotten into it with Young Buck, Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross and countless others. Heck, he even used a "feud" with Kanye West to help increase his record sales when he released his third album, "Curtis."

Tony Sparano

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    Rap Counterpart: Vanilla Ice

    Tony Sparano was brought in to replace Miami Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron after the team went 1-15 in 2007. Sparano turned the team around ridiculously fast and led the Dolphins to a 11-5 record and a first-place finish in the AFC East. Many thought that things were looking up in Miami, but, over the course of the next few years, Sparano showed that his first year was a fluke.

    Much like Sparano, rapper Vanilla Ice began his career by releasing the mega-hit "Ice, Ice Baby." After that, his career took a nose dive. He was able to ride on his early success for a few years, but could never capture the magic that made his first hit so big. Sparano is hoping he can right his ship before it meets a similar fate.

Leslie Frazier

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    Rap Counterpart: Pill

    Leslie Frazier is a good guy and great defensive mind. However, he has yet to show that he can be a great head coach. Minnesota fans are hoping that, if given enough time, he can turn this team around, because he's genuinely likable, something hard to find in the NFL. It looks like he has the team moving in the right direction, but only time will tell if he can make the Vikings into a contender.

    Pill is similar to Frazier in that he's got amazing talent and is pretty well liked in the mixtape scene. That said, he hasn't been able to find his mainstream niche. He recently inked a deal with Rick Ross' label, Maybach Music Group, and was featured on the label's first collaboration album, "Self Made Vol. 1". With the backing of Ross, it's only a matter of time before Pill gets the recognition he deserves. 

Bill Belichick

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    Rap Counterpart: Jay-Z

    Bill Belichick is the best head coach of the past decade. He has the most wins among all active coaches and claims three Super Bowl wins over that span. The three-time AP Coach of the Year has taken the Patriots to the playoffs almost every year he's been there and has a .737 playoff winning percentage. Simply said, he's the best in the game.

    Just like Belichick, Jay-Z is the best in his business. He's had amazing success over the past few decades and it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. He's receiving 13 Grammy awards and claims a net worth of over $450 million. These are two of the greatest men to ever work in their respective professions, and I couldn't think of two better guys to match up. 

Sean Payton

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    Rap Counterpart: Kid Cudi

    Sean Payton is a relatively young coach, but that doesn't mean he hasn't already made his name known in the NFL world. The 47-year-old New Orleans Saints coach has already won a Super Bowl and has taken his team to the playoffs in three of his first five years. Currently, the Saints hold a 5-2 record and are looking like they're going to be contending again.

    Kid Cudi burst onto the scene a few years ago with a great debut. Much like Payton, he's continued to have success and followed up his freshman offering with a solid sophomore effort. The Cudder looks to be focusing on rock music for the time being, but when he comes back to the rap game, you can be assured that all eyes will be on the young MC.

Tom Coughlin

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    Rap Counterpart: Kanye West

    This one seems a little odd, but stick with me. Tom Coughlin is notorious for being a disciplinarian, but he's also been seen to have an amazing attention to detail. True, it doesn't win him many fans in the locker room, but it has won his team a Super Bowl.

    Kanye West is a little less strict than Coughlin, but he possesses that same attention to detail. He'd have to in order to make a career in the producing game and then moving on to MCing. The man is a perfectionist who also loves to create new sounds. Maybe Coughlin should take a page out of his book, and make up some interesting new plays.

Rex Ryan

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    Rap Counterpart: T.I.

    There isn't a coach in the NFL who even approaches Rex Ryan's level of outlandishness. Saying the man is outspoken is an understatement, but he usually backs up his talk with solid play. His defensive packages reflect his personality because they are unpredictable and relentless.

    Like Ryan, T.I. is very outspoken and doesn't really care what other rappers think about him. His list of feuds doesn't run as long as guys like 50 Cent, but he's made quite a few enemies in his day. That said, he always backs up his big talk with solid record sales.


Hue Jackson

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    Rap Counterpart: Wacka Flocka Flame

    Hue Jackson isn't well known yet in the NFL landscape, but his players will tell you that he's very intense in practice and brings a lot of energy. That can work for a coach in most cases, and it seems to be doing its job, as the Oakland Raiders are off to a great start in Jackson's first year.

    Wacka Flocka also has boundless energy and leaves everything he has on the stage when he performs live. The guy might not have the tightest rhymes in the business, but he makes up for it with his passion for the rap game.

Andy Reid

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    Rap Counterpart: Common

    Andy Reid has also been an offensive genius. In his early days as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, he and Donovan McNabb made their team into one of the most consistent ones in the NFL. In his first six years, he went to four NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. Now that McNabb is gone, Reid is leaning on another quarterback, Michael Vick, to make his offense work.

    Common, just like Reid, needed some help to become a mainstream success. He had some underground hits in the '90s, but didn't hit his stride until he hooked up with Kanye West. With West's help, he was able to score two Grammys.

Mike Tomlin

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    Rap Counterpart: Wiz Khalifa

    I couldn't find a solid connection for Mike Tomlin so I decided to go with the man who reps his city the most in the rap game. Tomlin has been a great coach for the city of Pittsburgh and has led them to a Super Bowl win in 2008.

    Wiz Khalifa loves his home city of Pittsburgh, so much though that he recorded a mega-hit about it. "Black and Yellow" became one of the biggest songs of the year and propelled himself to mainstream success.

Norv Turner

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    Rap Counterpart: Lil' Wayne

    Norv Turner is a great offensive mind who always fields one of the best units in the NFL. His explosive offense is built around the run, but can strike deep through the passing attack at any moment. Even though he doesn't always win, he always makes it exciting to watch.

    The same can be said for Lil' Wayne. Weezy does have quite a bit of success, but some rap-heads don't think he has the lyrics to match-up with some heavyweights. That said, he always puts together exciting tunes that are going to get played all over the air waves.

Pete Carroll

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    Rap Counterpart: Wale 

    Pete Carroll began his NFL head coaching career way back in the 1990s and actually had some success with the New England Patriots before losing his job to Bill Belichick. However, Carroll didn't stay down for long and became the head coach at USC where he would make the program a perennial national title contender. Now he's back in the NFL and looking to win an elusive Super Bowl.

    Wale also began his career with quite a bit of success in the mixtape game. However, when he released his debut album, it was met with less than stellar sales numbers. Wale didn't quit though, and he went to work on his next mixtape.

    "More About Nothing" blew up and showed fans that the young MC still had it. With an album due in November, Wale is hoping that this time people will listen to one of the greatest young rappers in the game. 

Steve Spagnuolo

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    Rap Counterpart: Lupe Fiasco

    Steve Spagnuolo learned how to coach defense under Philadelphia's mastermind, Jim Johnson. He uses that same, aggressive style to try to put his team in a place to win. He's willing to take risks if it means that rewards are going to be more wins.

    Lupe Fiasco is also quite the risk taker. He doesn't do it by sending extra men at the quarterback, but by making politically charged music for his fans. Fiasco has long been one of the most intelligent rappers in the game and it shows in his message-filled album "Lasers."

Raheem Morris

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    Rap Counterpart: J. Cole

    Raheem Morris is the head coach of one of the youngest squads in the NFL. That said, he doesn't let his team rest on their mistakes just because they're young. His first season the team was terrible, but he quickly turned that around with a 10-6 season last year. Now, the young go-getter is hoping to build on that success and bring this franchise back to contender status.

    J. Cole has long been one of the biggest artists mainstream fans haven't heard of. He's been toiling away on the mixtape scene for a long time, and finally released his debut album earlier this year. The album was an instant hit, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Cole is hoping to follow up that success with an even better sophomore effort.

Mike Munchak

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    Rap Counterpart: LL Cool J

    Mike Munchak is in his first year as the Tennessee Titans head coach and has been doing a better job than most people expected. However, he might have been even more successful as a player earlier in his career. Munchak was a first-round pick by the Houston Oilers and was put on the All-Pro team 10 times. He was even good enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

    LL Cool J also has had two very successful careers. He began his professional life as one of the better rappers of the early 90s. After he'd conquered that world, he decided to give acting a shot. He's had quite a bit of success as an actor, but is still putting out solid music, even after all these years. Munchak is hoping he can have two solid careers as player and a coach.

Mike Shanahan

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    Rap Counterpart: Nas

    Mike Shanahan is one of the greatest coaches of the past 20 years. He led the Denver Broncos to two straight Super Bowl titles, while using the offense he developed with the San Francisco 49ers (an offense that some call the best of all-time).

    After a few of his star players retired, Shanahan had to work through a few lean years, but he still took his team to the playoffs regularly until the last few years. He's one of the best coaches, but he still pales in comparison to Bill Belichick.

    Much like Shanahan, Nas is one of the best rappers ever to live. Coming up in the '90s, he was on everyone's radar and dominating the New York City rap scene. However, he never could keep up with Jay-Z's mainstream success. It's up for debate as to who has the better rhymes, but one thing is certain, Jay-Z is more much commercially successful.