If there was a litmus test to distinguish good NFL coaches around the league, it would start and end with a poll of the fan base. That’s not a typo. Around the country, fans of all 32 teams possess the unique ability to define the quality of an NFL head coach.
Let me explain
Yes, fans are fickle, they’re emotional, and sometimes inebriated (hindering their judgement less reliable than we’d like for this important test). The one thing fans will never be, is rational discussing their favorite teams head coach.
This scientific test takes all that into account.
There are two categories a coach can qualify under, he’s either the random dog shit that appears on your freshly mowed lawn — or he’s just ok.
That’s pretty much it (there’s also the reserved for Bill Belichick category, but no mortal coach could ever reach that standard), for all practical purposes, just those two.
Dog shit, or ok.
Owners around the league are always on the lookout, searching far and near to find that next coach who might end up being ok. They’re not easy to find, you’ll step on a lot of dog shit looking for one.
On Friday, the Raiders signed their coach, (who’s just ok) to a new four year contract.
“The Raiders have torn up Jack Del Rio’s original contract and rewarded him with a new four-year deal. We are excited to continue building on the strong foundation that has been established and this is a significant step in achieving that goal.” – Raiders Owner Mark Davis
This is great news
Jack isn’t perfect, he’ll sometimes drive us crazy with confusing, end of half, time management. We get our share of challenge flags (or lack of) that even Ray Charles can see were wrong. At times, the game plan will swing so conservative that even Curt Schilling will change the channel.
Jack needs to continue to evolve as a coach, he’s got to control the high’s and lows better than he did at the end of 2016 (after Derek Carr went down). It was no doubt, an impossible task, but acting like his dog just died might not have been the best course of action.
On the other hand, Jack has some attributes that may go unnoticed to some, they don’t get shown on TV, we can’t second guess them, but that doesn’t mean the importance is diminished. Del Rio has changed the culture in Oakland, he’s instilled confidence, belief that each week will end with a Sunday locker room celebration. Del Rio defines the strength this team shows on the field, his attitude and demeanor has rubbed off on the players like we haven’t seen since Madden and Flores were on the sideline.
Let’s also not diminish where he puts us all to shame.
Jack has stones the size of Gabe Jackson. It was Del Rio’s, heart stopping, two point conversion call in week 1 that set the tone for this season. I truly believe that call set this team forward on a mission that only a broken fibula was able to derail.
Good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders https://t.co/X6tB1YlZ4d
— Jack Del Rio (@coachdelrio) September 11, 2016
Sometimes the unconventional is what separates normal from exceptional. Jack’s balance of conservative game manager and riverboat gambler make the Raiders an opponent rival teams must be going crazy planning against.
In Jack Del Rio, the Raiders finally have a coach who can get 53 men prepared to travel east and come home with the win. He’s a pro’s pro who played the game, he’s gone into those battles, and players trust him because of that.
In Jack Del Rio, the Raiders have a coach who’s just ok, compared to the alternative, that’s just fine with me.