Comparing MLB Managers to NFL Head Coaches
When it comes to Sean McVay and Andy Green, both find their names being thrown around together as the youngest coach/manager in their respective sports. What other NFL coaches find counterparts amongst the MLB?
Head coaches in the National Football League and managers in Major League Baseball are both directly responsible for the success or failure of their teams. As the men leading the charge, head coaches and managers often mold their teams after themselves, as the players take on the personalities of their chiefs. Coaches form identities. So, which NFL head coaches compare to MLB managers in terms of personality and style?
MLB: Aaron Boone, New York Yankees <—> NFL: Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Boone and Gruden each bring some familiarity to their current roles. Boone comes back to the Yankees with one of the most iconic moments in recent franchise history, a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. His name is not new to the Yankees, much like the comfort level that the Raiders have with Gruden. Gruden coached the team from 1998-2001 before defeating them in Super Bowl XXXVII (2002-03) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Both have a lot to prove, however. This is Boone’s first experience as a professional coach, and he is being thrust directly into the challenge of leading a team that came within one game of the World Series. It’s championship or bust for the Bronx Bombers in Boone’s first year on the job. It’s a daunting task, and we will find out fairly quickly if he is up to it. Gruden, on the other hand, has established himself as a professional coach but has not held a head coaching position in the NFL since 2008. It is up to Gruden to prove that he is still the man for the job even though he’s been out of the business for ten years. Football has evolved, but has he? Gruden is equipped with a talented quarterback and roster flexibility as he attempts to show that his hiring was more than a simple public relations stunt.
MLB: Andy Green, San Diego Padres <—> NFL: Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Green and McVay are the youngest men to hold their respective positions. Green, 39, and McVay, 31, are highly respected minds who are being tapped to revitalize franchises that have not had much success in recent years. McVay flourished this past season, his first on the job. The Rams went 11-5 and won the NFC West as McVay and his staff sparked quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley’s careers, leaving reason to believe that the future is bright in Los Angeles.
The destiny of Green’s Padres is still being determined. San Diego seems intent on spending money this offseason and has been heavily involved in the Eric Hosmer sweepstakes. Like Green, the Padres are young. It will be difficult for the club to gain momentum in a talented NL West, but as McVay’s Rams proved in the NFL, it is quite possible to turn around the franchise.
MLB: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants <—> NFL: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Championships are the standard in San Francisco and New England. As such, Bochy and Belichick have delivered. Bochy has won three World Series titles during his time with the Giants, and Belichick has won five Super Bowls with the Patriots. Anything less than a ring is considered a failure in these towns.
Bochy will now have to take on a franchise-altering year for the Giants. The club has invested in aging superstars such as Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen with the hope that they can catch up to the three clubs in their division that made the postseason a year ago, most importantly the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Giants fail to make progress on these clubs in 2018, it’s possible that a complete teardown is in order. But the front office feels confident that the team can reclaim glory with this veteran group. Time will tell if this strategy pays off.
For Belichick, 2018 marks another trip to the AFC Championship, a game the Patriots have participated in for seven straight seasons. It’s likely that the Pats will earn another trip to the Super Bowl. A win for New England would be their sixth, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most titles in NFL history.
MLB: Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs <—> NFL: Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Innovative. Progressive. Wacky. All are worthy adjectives to describe Maddon and Carroll, who are recognized as the most forward-thinking coaches in their sports.
Maddon is the manager most willing to embrace analytics culture, something he has been both criticized and praised for in the past. His in-game decision making is sometimes questionable, such as the time he pointlessly inserted Aroldis Chapman into Game 6 of the World Series, wearing him out before Game 7. But ultimately, Maddon is a champion.
The same goes for Carroll. He infamously lost a Super Bowl to the Patriots after choosing to throw the ball on the one-yard line instead of handing it off to star running back Marshawn Lynch. It’s a decision that backfired, yet at the end of the day Carroll is still a champion and is considered one of the most creative minds in football.