The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

New Game, New Rules

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I have little doubt that ex-coaches such as Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, Brian Billick, and Jon Gruden will be attractive options on the open market as this year's coaching hot seats are established. However, I wonder if coaching positions are where they'll continue their NFL careers. We've seen the success of a new trend, personified by Mike Smith in Atlanta, John Harbaugh in Baltimore, and Tony Sparano in Miami -- first-year coaches who bring a front office philosophy to the field as opposed to the all-in-one ruler you'd think guys like Holmgren and Cowher would want to be.

Additionally, in this economy, I tend to wonder which teams would pay the $8 million a year (or somewhere in that neighborhood) it would take to make the most prestigious names happy. These are men who are used to having control, and they might find it better in the general manager's chair than on the field as head coaches. I could easily see Holmgren taking the same trip that Bill Parcells did in Miami last year -- from head coach to team Godfather. The Lions and Rams had a great deal to prove coming off terrible seasons, but who did they hire? Highly-regarded assistants Jim Schwartz and Steve Spagnuolo.

Going forward, I think the most coveted coaching names will continue be among the most talented assistants in the game. The NFL may be shifting away from the era of the high-priced "retread", and toward a more nimble way of doing things. The bigger names on this list may be seen in the executive box. And if the Billicks and Grudens of the world want to get back in the game, they'll have to play by the new rules.

By Doug Farrar  |  May 13, 2009; 8:52 AM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Doug Farrar Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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