Football coaches need to remember to not sweat the small stuff

Do you have a stressful job? A boss with exceedingly high expectations? A high-pressure work environment?

This past weekend, Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered a mild stroke during halftime of the Texans game versus the Indianapolis Colts. Just this week, Jack Del Rio took over as interim head coach of the Denver Broncos in light of the fact that head coach John Fox just had heart surgery.

Now do you feel like you have a stressful job?

Unsurprisingly, it is the case that if your chosen profession is football coach, you are in for a stressful career. Fox and Kubiak’s health problems are reflective of an environment that is high anxiety and highly results-oriented. 

Football coaches across the country are too stressed out, and they would do well to learn from Kubiak and Fox. Winning isn’t always everything in sports, and the stress it causes can hurt a coach a lot more than it can help.

Jerry Kill is the head football coach at Minnesota, and he suffers from epilepsy. The condition is not stress related, but Kill has suffered multiple public seizures during games, and now coaches from the skybox rather than the field. Is he putting winning before his health?

The stereotype of the veins-bulging, red-faced, screaming football coach has existed for some time, but having some self-awareness might not be a bad quality for a coach to have.

The defensive coordinator of my high school team was someone who was perpetually ready to blow a gasket because of an on-field mistake. He was an excellent coach and great person (once you got to know him), but even now I fear his days as a (healthy) high school coach are numbered until he calms down a little bit. Another interesting example of coaching wellness is Urban Meyer, the head football coach at Ohio State. Meyer “retired” from his position as head coach at Florida because of health problems (specifically chest pain) and took a year off before taking his new job with Ohio State. 

He had the awareness to step away, but also could not make the choice to pull himself away entirely. Meyer is on my “Next Coach to Collapse on Sideline” watchlist.

When it comes to winning, it’s hard to pull away from it all and consider the big picture. The oversight that results can manifest itself in several different ways, but the health of the coach is often something that is not highlighted enough. Most fans love to see their head coaches engaged in the game and being vocal.

“Jim Harbaugh? Sure, he looks like his eyes are going to fly out of his head when a call goes against him, but its just because he’s passionate!”

It’s hard to justify ignoring the health of head coaches, especially with roly-poly Andy Reid as the poster child of poor physical condition. The life of a coach seems to involve eating takeout, getting very little sleep and trying to win some football games in between.

Now, let’s not forget they are coaching giant men to crash into each other, bang heads and try to injure one another on a regular basis. It is safe to say football players probably lead a more dangerous life than their coaches, but don’t forget about the safety and health of the guys who make our favorite sport fun. They need reminders to put down those cheese fries, get some sleep and relax.

Namaste, everyone.

Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.