|Source: NBC Sports|
I've been thinking about this topic over the past few weeks, as we have witnessed a number of National Football League teams fire their head coaches. Among these firings, two more of New England Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick's proteges lost their jobs as head coaches of other teams. Observing these dismissals, I decided to compile the NFL win-loss record of all of Belichick's former assistant coaches during his time as the boss in New England: 175 wins, 252 losses, and 1 tie for a winning percentage of 40.9%. That's awful. Only one of his former assistants managed to compile a winning record (Bill O'Brien with 52 wins and 48 losses).
Why have Belichick's proteges failed so miserably? Several hypotheses come to mind.
1. The most obvious conclusion: None of these assistants had Tom Brady as their QB! As we all know, even Belichick has a losing record as a coach without Brady. More generally, these proteges didn't have all the other talent that accompanied Brady in New England. University of Texas coaching legend Darrell Royal once said, "It's not about the X's and the O's, but the Jimmys and the Joes." In other words, perhaps we overrate coaching and don't attribute enough of team success to the players themselves. In corporate terms, perhaps we place too much credit for success at the feet of a few top executives at successful firms and forget about the impact of many others supporting them.