NFL coaches have to have many characteristics to enjoy success and longevity in their careers. They need to be intelligent, disciplined, ruthless and perhaps most importantly of all, they need to boast a sound strategic mind. There are a lot of similarities between the attributes of NFL coaches and poker players, including the visors and very occasionally dark sunglasses.
It’s often said that coaches on the sideline need to employ a poker face in their approach during the week and on matchday to avoid giving anything away to their opponents. Some take their strategies to new levels in regards to speaking with the media and their players. We’ll now look at the coaches that best employ these strategies.
Belichick established himself as arguably the greatest coach in the history of the NFL following the New England Patriots’ triumph in Super Bowl LIII. The 64-year-old has been described as grumpy and miserable due to his demeanour in press conferences. However, no coach has been more successful in the modern era. His use of strategy is unmatched as the Patriots coach is always thinking outside of the box to get positive results. Belichick gives nothing away even sometimes to his players.
His methods can be extreme at times, including leaving star players out of the line-up or even cutting them from the roster. He’s the best poker player in the NFL, refusing to budge an inch against his opponents. Notably against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. He held his nerve while Pete Carroll lost the battle of wills, resulting in Malcolm Butler’s game-winning interception on the goalline. Once again Belichick’s Patriots are one of the leading contenders in the Super Bowl odds on NFL betting with bet365 for the 2019 season.
Poker players also need courage and Pederson proved that he had it in abundance in Super Bowl LII. Pederson had already performed miracles to guide the Eagles to the title game after quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury. Pederson brought out the best in Nick Foles, who helped defeat the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles coach laid it all out against New England in Minnesota in the Super Bowl. He went all-in on a fourth-down play on the goal-line.
Failure would have let the Patriots off the hook before half-time. Pederson called “Philly Philly” a code word for a trick-play. Foles faked receiving the ball, while Corey Clement made the catch in the backfield. He flipped the ball to Trey Burton, who then connected with a wide-open Foles in the endzone. The score was decisive in securing the Eagles’ first Lombardi trophy. Pederson proved that he could match the best in the NFL under the biggest spotlight, holding a poker face with the aid of a play sheet.
Rivera has earned the name “Riverboat Ron” for his gutsy play-calling during his eight-year tenure as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. It has not always paid dividends, he’s a risk-taker rather than a man who boasts a sound strategic mind. He tries to force the hand of his opponents, putting them under pressure rather than be under the spotlight itself.
Rivera opts to go for it on fourth-down seemingly more than any other coach in the NFL. The Panthers enjoys taking the risk when quarterback Cam Newton and his team-mates on offense are on a roll. Rivera has not had a great deal of pressurised moments in the post-season. Although his team did fail to rise to the occasion in Super Bowl 50 in their defeat to the Broncos. However, given the dearth of experienced coaches in the league that are prone to bold decisions, he is one of the more interesting characters.