Thousands upon thousands of Pop Warner, high school and college football coaches dream of one day getting one of a handful of NFL coaching jobs that open every year. These positions – mostly assistant coaching spots – can be obtained through two time-honored avenues:
1. Hard work and success.
2. Your last name.
Indeed, abundant skill can go a long way, but nothing beats having your father hire you.
Or, in case you forgot, the ‘N’ in NFL also stands for Nepotism.
Nepotism in the New World is as old as the Declaration of Independence. You could look it up on your smartphone, kids: John Adams was this nation’s second president; his son John Quincy Adams – whom he appointed to the cushy job of Minister to Prussia in 1797 – was this nation’s sixth president.
(Little-known fact: After Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879, he provided the seed money to allow his nephew Tremayne to open the first Lamps Plus store in Menlo Park, Ohio.)
America continues in this vein to this day.
Bush vs. Clinton – go figure, in a nation of 320 million, virtually every presidential election in the past quarter-century involves one or both of their families. And I hate to pick on the only daughter of late producer Aaron Spelling, but does anyone think Tori was getting TV and film roles because she outperformed Meryl Streep at the annual Hollywood acting combine?
While every so often the great social democratic experiment we call America is a meritocracy, most of the time it comes down to who you know and who your daddy is.
If Vito Corleone were an NFL honcho, Fredo would’ve been an assistant special teams coach.
(By the way, I am proud to say that I have never gotten a job through a family connection. My father’s a wonderful man, but the only door he ever opened for me was the entrance to IHOP.)
Anyway, let me provide you with a stunning statistic – nearly one-quarter of current NFL head coaches have one of their sons on staff. Here’s the roll call of head coaches and hired heirs:
• Bill Belichick, Patriots (Steve Belichick, coaching assistant)
• Jeff Fisher, Rams (Brandon Fisher, defensive backs coach)
• Marvin Lewis, Bengals (Marcus Lewis, defensive assistant)
• Andy Reid, Chiefs (Britt Reid, assistant defensive line coach)
• Lovie Smith, Buccaneers (Mikal Smith, safeties coach)
• Mike Zimmer, Vikings (Adam Zimmer, linebackers coach)*
• Pete Carroll, Seahawks (Nate Carroll, assistant wide receivers coach; Brennan Carroll, assistant offensive line coach)**
Notes: * - Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner also has his son, Scott, as quarterbacks coach. ** - Of Carroll’s three children, only daughter Jaime is not on staff in Seattle.
Incidentally, Steve Belichick played one year of Division I football, as a long snapper at Rutgers, en route to a coveted NFL slot. That would be like Couch Slouch scrawling graffiti on bathroom walls at a Greyhound bus station one summer before getting hired by The New Yorker as a senior correspondent.
The NFL coaching tree traditionally is filled with family branches – the entitled apple doesn’t fall far from the entitled apple orchard – as generations of Shulas, Schottenheimers and Shanahans don the headsets.
We’ve seen head-coaching brothers recently – Jim and John Harbaugh, Jon and Jay Gruden; both sets of siblings from a coaching family. Buddy Ryan begat Rex and Rob, Bum Phillips begat Wade and Wes. Former NFL coach and current UCLA coach Jim Mora coached under his father Jim Sr. with the Saints. And on and on.
One-quarter of NFL offensive coordinators have family coaching connections.
So I hate to discourage fledgling coaches in training, but if your dad worked for the Department of Water and Power, you might want to look long and hard at Department of Water and Power job opportunities.
Ask The Slouch
Q. If the Cardinals started yourself and all your ex-wives in the infield – leaving Stepson of Destiny Isaiah Eisendorf in the bullpen for middle relief – would they still take two out of three from any team in the National League? (Michael A. Becker; St. Louis, Mo)
A. I see no reason, in celebrating your beloved Cardinals, to sideswipe and spotlight my checkered personal history.
Q. In light of your wagering expertise, do you think that entering the Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway in hopes of winning a giant jackpot should be considered gambling or do you think that it involves a degree of skill? (Phil Schwartz; Rockville, Md.)
A. You just proved there is no skill involved whatsoever.
Q. My son is a college freshman and strives to be a guy on the sidelines squirting water in players’ gullets. What degree program is that? (Sam Hess; Carmel, Ind.)
A. At most SEC schools – as well as Rutgers and Maryland – I believe that is post-graduate work.
Q. Is VW the official car of the New England Patriots? (Grady Chism; Indianapolis)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Norman Chad is a synidcated columnist. You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email email@example.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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