5 Skills Every Great Football Coach Has – By JBARNETT

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay will make history when their teams square off this Sunday. Photos: AP

February 8, 2022 680 The Fan, ATLANTA – Football remains one of the most popular sports in America. The NFL, which plays at the highest level of American football in the world, has nearly 2,000 players within its ranks. That’s not counting the rosters of other major football leagues, including those at the collegiate level. People love to follow football, as well. Over 44% of American men are avid fans, amounting to an audience of over 71 million people.

With public interest in football continuing to mount, coaches are under more pressure than ever to bring out the best in their players. To do so, there are a few key skills they need in their arsenal. Below we discuss a few of these skills — as well as some standout coaches that exemplify them.


Football coaches need to be able to keep a level head no matter the situation. They should perform capably under pressure while continuing to pay attention to everything a team needs to run — including fundraising and procuring facilities and equipment. One notably focused coach is Pro Football Hall of Fame awardee Weeb Ewbank. Surprisingly gentle and mild-mannered, Ewbank ran his teams in an orderly fashion and was known for helping the New York Jets win the AFL championship on a tight budget in 1968. This makes him the only coach to win both NFL and AFL titles.

Continuous learning

Aside from being knowledgeable in the sport, great coaches also learn, develop, and implement new strategies. They read up on the latest football developments and sports research, attend camps and seminars, talk with other coaches, and collate feedback from their athletes to improve their coaching techniques. Mike Daniels, whom we’ve previously reported on when he was named Georgia Tech’s running backs coach in December, is one such individual. When working at Cincinnati’s Princeton High School, he used his knowledge to completely reinvent its football program and lead the Princeton Vikings to their first state playoffs after a 12-year drought.

Analytical thinking

Great football coaches create their strategies through analytical thinking. And in the modern digital age this means having a good grasp of how data analytics is used in sports like football. Coaches can now use this data to improve on-field performances by knowing which type of play is best in certain situations, track athletes’ vitals to facilitate a speedy yet effective injury rehabilitation, and even drive ticket sales and marketing efforts while boosting fan engagement. Former Stanford Cardinals coach Bill Walsh particularly embodies the university’s scientific character by using data analytics to formulate tightly-structured strategies.


Effective coaching requires advanced people skills. One needs the charisma to hold a team’s attention, the ability to motivate and drive players to do their best, and an air of confidence that rubs off on their teams. They’re also effective communicators who can express key ideas and are also good at listening to and incorporating feedback. Sean McVay and Zac Taylor, who comprise the youngest coaching matchup in Super Bowl history, admitted to admiring these skills in each other in recent interviews. With both coaches carrying impressive achievements under their belt, they’re set to make more history at the championship game this February.


Above all, great football coaches are respectable figures that inspire discipline both in themselves and in their own teams. They set rules to establish order and maintain high standards. They also help develop integrity and personal growth in their players. Tony Dungy is just one example of how quiet and steady discipline can lead a team to success. Aside from helping break the color barrier in football coaching, Dungy notably helped Tampa Bay Buccaneers — previously considered as one of the NFL’s worst teams — achieve 4 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl championship.

Coaches form the backbone of football. With all the legendary coaches present in the sport’s history, it’s no surprise that football continues to dominate American sports.

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