You have probably been taught about paradigm shifts in history or science class (even, oddly enough, IB Core) but never really contemplated how they could apply to a national sport. Well every 10 to 15 years, similar to how Einstein changed the world of science, an event occurs that changes the sport of football. The usual occurrence is either shifting the game from an offensively dominant sport to a defensively dominant sport, but right now the paradigm shift seems to be occurring in coaching.
Even before Black Monday occurred this year, multiple head coaches were being notified that they would no longer be returning to their team. Oddly, most of the replacements this year were not the usual suspects like Rex Ryan or other established coaches, they were young coaches who may have just had their first coordinating job. This is the story of current Denver Head Coach Vance Joseph who served his first, and only, year as a defensive coordinator in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins last season. He now finds himself commanding the Super Bowl L Champion Broncos. This is a very strange decision for General Managers around the league as they usually search for extremely qualified and established coaching candidates, opposed to young ones with little experience. However, do not overlook this. Just because some of the upcoming young coaching candidates possess little experience experience does not mean they aren’t capable of bringing radical changes to some of the league’s less fortunate franchises.
A majority of head coaches in the league specialize on one side of the ball, usually whichever side they coached positions or coordinated the most. For example, Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, and the infamous Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick are all specially renowned defensive coaches. Although this may seem strategic, it often creates tension among the roles of the coordinators. Following this example, the head coach is forced to find an offensive coordinator that will practically run the entire offense because he expects to spend most of his time dedicated to the defense. However, there is still a defensive coordinator on staff that expects to run the entire defense, so when the head coach doesn’t allow that, it can lead to conflict and office politics. This leads me to the point that there may be a credible strategy with hiring a young candidate, or even Special Teams coordinator, for a head coach opening. Since the new candidate may not be too confident on either side of the ball, it allows the coordinators to have control without butting heads with the ego of the head coach so there is little room for office politics to occur. This could potentially allow for a more fluid system as everyone is easily on the same page and there is very minimal bickering among the coaching staff besides possibly the coordinators and the position coaches. It will be interesting to observe how this paradigm shift may affect some of the league’s franchises next year.
Some of the NFL’s most joked about teams, for example, the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, LA Rams, and LA Chargers, all tried out this new technique in the offseason. All of these franchises are in need of a radical change as they have not had a winning season and/or playoff experience in a very long time. The General Managers are hoping the new youthful head coaches will bring the change that the franchises need as all of them are also ready to launch into a rebuilding stage. This paradigm shift might just change the sport of football for the future.
Photo Credit: Forbes Magazine
How do you think this new change will affect the game of football? Will it make it more competitive? Let us know by commenting below!