With former player Jeff Saturday taking over as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday of last week and then leading his team to an upset victory on Sunday over the Raiders in Las Vegas, the possibility of owners hiring retired players as head coaches becoming a new trend in the NFL has been thrown out there.
While other players-turned-coaches such as Mike Vrabel of the Titans and Dan Campbell of the Lions have had some success in the league, Saturday was the first former player to come in and win without previous coaching experience at the college or professional level. Following his groundbreaking win, Saturday told Peter King of Football Night in America he hopes his success will lead to more former players getting similar chances.
“Part of the reason why I did accept the job is for that exact reason,” Saturday told King. “I hope that many other former players will get opportunities like I’m getting. I was at ESPN when Aaron Boone was there, and then two days later he’s the manager of the Yankees. And basketball, right? I’ve watched all these guys get these opportunities.”
So, could a Saturday-esque opportunity head Tom Brady’s way once he’s finally done playing? Speaking to Jim Gray on the always illuminating Let’s Go! podcast, Brady mused about whether he could immediately have success as an NFL head coach based on his experience from 23 years as an NFL player. “I think that’s an interesting question,” Brady said. “Obviously I have a lot of experience playing, I have a lot of knowledge and there’s, I’d say, a lot of capabilities to doing that. But the desire to do something like that is totally different. So I’ve enjoyed my abilities as a player and I think I’ve had so much intent and focus on being the best I could be as a player.”
It’s somewhat of a non-answer, but the reality is that Brady is already basically an offensive coach in Tampa Bay and also pitches in as an unofficial general manager. (Just ask Bruce Arians). However, the only reason Brady has those two additional job responsibilities is he is still fulfilling his primary role as a football player. Once Brady’s playing days are done, there’s no way he’s trading in his helmet for a game-day headset.
One reason is Fox has already given Brady 375 million reasons to head to the broadcast booth instead of the sidelines once he is done playing. The seven-time Super Bowl winner doesn’t exactly need the money, but there’s no way he’s going to settle for coach’s wages (and hours) when he can be paid like football’s top broadcaster and put in less than half the time. He can say what he wants now, but Brady confirmed as much when he was still a member of the Patriots.
In 2016, he was a little more verbose. “Coaching wouldn’t be for me,” Brady told reporters. “No, certainly not. I like playing. I wouldn’t be a good coach. I don’t have the patience to be a coach.”
And he won’t be.