Sunday, January 5, 2014
Ditch the Visor
Something seemingly innocuous has irritated me for years and today I’m going to vent about it. I deeply dislike it when NFL Head Coaches where sun visors on the sidelines. I’m not sure that I, as a fan, could take seriously a man who wears a visor at the pro level. The visor belongs in the college game. The visor is Steve Spurrier, Bob Stoops, Lane Kiffin. It feels soft when I see the sun visor come out, especially in cold-weather games. I don’t get it and I’m glad to be a NY Giants fan, because the sun visor would never fly in the Meadowlands, sorry Jon Gruden.
The sun-visor issue reached a breaking point with me this weekend, Wildcard Weekend, in the NFL Playoffs. Last night I watched the New Orleans Saints’ Head Coach, Sean Payton, working the sidelines in sub-zero conditions in Philly. It was a night game and Payton was bundled up in sweatshirt, snow pants, gloves, and . . . a sun visor. I’ve never been a Payton fan simply because I don’t like the way he looks on the sideline with that ever-present visor and puff of hair poking out of the top, as crazy as that sounds, and last night was no exception. Then today, in what some called The Freezer Bowl II in Cincinnati, the San Diego Chargers’ Head Coach, Mike McCoy, coached in a puffy coat, insulated pants, his breath smoky against the ruthless weather plus, of course, the trusty sun visor. How San Diego are you, dude? Pete Carroll doesn’t even wear a sun visor.
Of course both Payton and McCoy earned huge road wins for their respective clubs, but that’s not important. What matters is how your Head Coach looks on the sideline. If I was a GM doing a club’s hiring, I’d ask first, “Do you coach in a hat or visor?” That’s probably one of many reasons why I’m not an NFL GM. But, in my defense, Philly’s rookie Head Coach, the onetime visor-rocking Chip Kelly, fresh from the college game--the proverbial playground of visors--stopped wearing the half hat and adopted the ball cap, and POW 10-6 and a division title. I think there’s a connection. How many visor coaches have won the Super Bowl? Look it up.
I think a pro coach should wear a nice ball cap with his headset or nothing at all. Tuck the visor away, chief, this isn’t Vanderbilt Southern vs. Miami of Ohio. I’m a massive Tom Coughlin guy. Coughlin looks exactly what I want the NY Giants coach to look like. He personifies Big Blue. Does anyone remember Jim Fassel, the coach before Coughlin, with his ill-fitting headset, side-slicked hair, old-woman body? He didn’t capture the Giants’ culture. Coughlin does.
When I observe people in visible positions I watch how they carry out the minutia of their office. I like Coughlin and Tomlin (Steelers) and McCarthy (Packers) because I think if put in a similar role I would conduct myself the same way they do. For the record, they DON’T wear visors.