Seven active NFL head coaches have won a Super Bowl in their career, including two (Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin) with multiple rings, but the majority of NFL players seem more enamored with a coach without any NFL hardware.
In a recent ESPN NFL Nation survey that polled 320 NFL players on a variety of topics, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was voted the coach whom players would most like to play for. Carroll received 72 votes (22.5 percent), almost 30 more than any other coach.
Carroll was taken aback by the overwhelming support from players around the league, but he also viewed the results as an advantage for the Seahawks going forward.
“I’m surprised by that,” Carroll said. “But, hey, free agency is a big deal to us. Maybe that can help us down the road.”
Carroll was the runaway winner in the survey, but some other coaches received a good deal of support as well. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who won Super Bowl XLIII, finished second with 44 votes (13.8 percent). The Denver Broncos’ John Fox, Carroll’s Super Bowl XLVIII counterpart, finished third with 25 votes (7.8 percent).
Patriots coach Bill Belchick, who took over the New England job from Carroll in 2000, was voted the fifth most popular coach, garnering 22 votes (6.9 percent), which tied him with Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. However, in maybe the biggest surprise of the poll, the New York Jets’ Rex Ryan actually finished one slot higher than Belichick, earning one more vote than his AFC East rival to give him a final tally of 23 votes (7.2 percent).
One of Carroll’s Seahawks players, linebacker Heath Farwell, explained what separates his coach from the rest.
“If you make a mistake, he uses that as a teachable moment,” Farwell said. “Pete explains what you did wrong and how you can correct. If you do something wrong, he will say that’s not acceptable by the organization and explain why.
“We all make mistakes, but with Pete, it’s about learning from it. He’s not a talk-down-to-you or yell-at-you kind of coach.”
Carroll was very popular among his players during nine seasons at USC, so it’s no surprise that his energy and coaching style are well received by his NFL players, too.