Why do coaches get a pass for being greedy?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog saying that Mike Holmgren may be interested in taking over the Bills. Of course, I scoffed at the idea because Holmgren is going to want at least 7-8 million dollars and that’s something Ralph Wilson has refused to do. Think about the guaranteed money Holmgren would get. We are talking 35 million over 5 years. That’s a pretty impressive signing bonus. It then got me thinking, when did coaches become so greedy?

I’d say it started with Bill Parcells. Chris Mortenson put it best, “If there’s one thing Bill loves, it’s money.” Bingo. Why do you think he always says “he’s retiring” and not taking a break from coaching? It’s because he wants owners to go deep into their pockets to convince him to come back. Hell, he even started a bidding war between the Falcons and the Dolphins 2 years ago for his services.

The list of high paid current and non-current coaches is about 8 coaches: Bill Belichick, Mike Holmgren, Marty Schotenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells (GM or coach), Brian Billick, Andy Reid. All these coaches would make between 6-9 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of money for depending on your offensive and defensive coordinator to call the plays during a game.
So why don’t coaches get any sort of backlash from the media about being greedy?

After about 5 minutes of thinking, I think it’s a combination of a couple of things.

1) Criticizing coaches for their contracts doesn’t really have much of a sex appeal to fans. The best drama for a contract squabble is when a player complains to the media or holds out for more money. When was the last time you heard a coach try to negotiate through the media and complain about not making enough money? Exactly, they don’t.

2) Maybe high priced coaches are worth the money. All of the above coaches I’ve listed have either won a Super Bowl or have built solid football programs in different cities. The only high priced coaches I can think of that bombed out were Dennis Green (Arizona) and Steve Spurrier (Washington).

3) This one’s a stretch, maybe the media doesn’t want to piss off a high level coach. At the end of the day the head coach is running the asylum. If you start a media war with a coach, he may try and freeze you out during Q&A and tell his players to do the same. Sh$% does run down hill and the coach is at the top of the mountain.

Now do I think Holmgren is worth 8 million dollars? Hell, yes! It boggles my mind why Wilson doesn’t pay that amount of money for a coach, yet he’ll give Lee Evans 10 million dollars a year. It’s not a knock against Evans, but who do you think is going to win you more games? It’s a coaches league now and someone needs to tell Ralph that.

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