A recent trend involves NFL teams hiring rookie coaches who get their first chance at being a head coach in the league. These inexperienced coaches could use some advice from veteran coaches, so NFL.com asked the league’s longest-tenured leaders to give advice to the newcomers. The advice from five veteran NFL head coaches is so helpful we can all apply to our lives.
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders, 13th season
“Just be yourself. Don’t get too far away from what got you there.”
We know Jon Gruden practices what he preaches because he spent almost 10 years being himself at ESPN between coaching stints. Working in the Monday Night Football booth, Gruden wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is, which he translated into a massive, 10-year, $100 million contract to coach the Raiders for a decade. He hopes this tenure will lead him to a second Super Bowl championship.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers, 13th season
“Focus on the things that matter.”
The Steelers have won two Super Bowls with Mike Tomlin, so we’d all be smart to heed his advice. His advice about focus can apply to new coaches as well as us regular folks. Don’t get distracted; focus on the important things, which Tomlin notes in football includes “the collection and development of talent.”
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans, second season
“Hire a great staff of guys who are great teachers that can develop players and inspire them.”
Mike Vrabel spent most of his playing career with the Patriots under Bill Belichick. When he began coaching the Texans, Vrabel learned from defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel who, even at 72 years old, is considered one of the best defensive coordinator in the NFL today.
Since Vrabel learned from some of the best in the coaching game, he knows the importance of a strong coaching staff. His advice about hiring makes sense. As he explains, you’ll spend a lot of time together so you want to be around “good guys.”
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons, fifth season as a head coach
“Do it in [your] own style and fashion.”
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn wisely gives this advice to younger coaches. In his second season with the team, others would be wise to follow his advice. Quinn comes from a Super Bowl pedigree, serving as defensive coordinator under Pete Carroll when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, so he learned from a successful coach. Quinn says Carroll always advised him to “assume the position.” With his winning background, whatever Quinn does seems to be working.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars, fifth season
“Things change on the run. You have to learn as you go.”
Doug Marrone may not have experienced the success of the other coaches here, but his advice is applicable to any profession or life experience. Marrone says that no matter how hard you prepare, things don’t always so as planned, so your “plan has got to be very flexible.” He goes on to say, “Each day is a learning experience,” which is true for people in all walks of life.