The New Age of Coaching in the NFL

The New Age of Coaching in the NFL

The NFL is nothing if not a league of imitators.

One week, the Miami Dolphins are running the wildcat offence and a week later, 31 other teams have it in their playbook.

So it should come as no surprise that when the Pittsburgh Steelers found such success making Mike Tomlin their head coach at 34, that other teams would follow suit.

The classic image of a pro football coach may still be anchored in the Vince Lombardi archetype, whose experience and ability to strike fear in the hearts of his players are key to driving a team’s success. But there is definitely a trend away from recycled coaches, with teams instead looking for the next bright thing who can take the league by storm.

That’s certainly what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos were thinking at the end of last season, when they jettisoned Super Bowl winning coaches Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan, respectively, replacing them with Raheem Morris and Josh McDaniels, who instantly became the NFL’s youngest coaches at 32.

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