An NFL coach asks draft prospects what they’d do if he punched them in the face

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The questions asked of NFL prospects by team personnel are unlike the questions asked at any ordinary job interview. Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker provided one example of that in describing his interaction with an NFL coach.

“The one question that sticks out is I sat down, and the first thing the coach asked me is what I would do if he punched me in the face right now? To me, being from Cleveland, my natural reaction was, ‘Coach, no disrespect but if you punch me in the face, we’re gonna fight right here,'” Baker told USA Today. “That was just my natural response. I guess that’s what he wanted to hear, because he said, ‘Good.’ It was definitely a fun interview. I didn’t get asked too many weird questions.”

Baker said the coach later told him it’s a question he often poses, and he wants to hear players say they’d fight back.

“I crossed paths with him a little later in the day and I asked him why he asked me that,” Baker said. “He said most guys freeze up or say they wouldn’t do anything when he asks them that. He said, ‘I don’t know about you, but if somebody were to randomly punch me in the face right now, I wouldn’t just stand there. I’d fight back.’ I guess he liked my response.”

So remember that in your next job interview: Tell your prospective boss you would hit back if he punched you in the face.

74 responses to “An NFL coach asks draft prospects what they’d do if he punched them in the face

  1. And we wonder why so many GMs and coaches get fired every year … #uselessquestions

  2. That kind of intimidation might buckle a 20 something’s psyche.. At my age I’d pause and say “Well, punk, here’s your chance. I wouldn’t recommend that you exercise it.”

  3. Yes, because acting the same way in a job interview and on a football field is healthy and normal.

  4. That might have been what that coach wanted to hear but if that happens in a game, the player gets 15 yard penalty and gets kicked out of the game. So in retrospect, this coach is a moron if that was the response he was waiting for.

  5. I want someone to answer, “well, I’d probably play beneath expectations for you for a few years, then out of my mind in my contract year before I leave you for another team”.

  6. What happens in a football locker room or practice field is one thing, and what happens on the street, are two different things.

    If you don’t think first on the street, you may end up stabbed or shot.

  7. Fight back huh? Well if this is pre draft you fall in the draft and potentially lose millions, if its post draft you get sued and potentially lose millions. Fight back you’ll most likely get labeled as just another uneducated, angry, black man. Sounds like lose / lose propositions.

  8. He wanted to see the kid’s reaction. I am sure that when a player steps into a game, they feel as tho, they got hit….What’s someone gonna do….fight back, or play dead?

  9. Great question. Would they hit back or tun the other cheek? Says a lot about a player. The first poster I bet never played anything with contact his whole life.

  10. Seems okay to me to get a psych profile on the guy. You need to know what he’ll do in the heat of the battle. Getting a job in the NFL isn’t like other jobs.

  11. I am so liking the fight in Mayfield. Down by 5 with 30 seconds to go, I’d want this guy on the field driving us to victory. This guy does not deal in defeat. He deals in winning. I hope he succeeds in the NFL.

  12. I suspect most responses will not affect your draft position except for:
    • “I think I’d start crying”
    • “I’d whip out my Glock and put 3 holes in your chest”

  13. Determine if you posed a threat.. and if the answer was “no” – then go about taking everything you own and could own in the future.

  14. Teams need to start recording these interviews. The questions are getting out of control.

  15. Baker may have given “the right answer”, but that coach would have regretted asking that question back in the day. LBs like Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus would have said “Let’s find out”, blocked the punch, and leveled the coach.

  16. Answering that question is meaningless. A guy can say anything; it doesn’t tell you what he’d actually do. All that question does is to tell you that this coach is a moron.

  17. What would you do if I gave you a wedgie?

    What if I gave you a wet willie?

    You could make a whole series of these asinine questions to determine a players propensity for violence.

  18. Fight, flight or do nothing are the only options. Too little information in the question to answer it in any way that would be meaningful to the coach. Next time just do it and see what happens and if you really want an answer.

  19. Me to Aaron Donald> “What would you do if I punched you in the face”

    Aaron Donald> “Well, first I’d be confused. Did this moron really punch me in the face? Then I guess I’d pick you up by your collar and toss you against that wall 20 feet away, breaking many of your bones”.

  20. Baker answered the question perfectly. He first gave respect to the coach understanding the coach was fishing for a reaction then backed that up by warning the coach a fight would follow. Really that is what you want to hear from any player and especially from a linebacker. Baker isn’t going to fly off the handle in the heat of the moment and as the late great Tom Petty said….”I won’t back down.”

  21. Ah yes, the ‘ole “how do you feel about working for someone much less intelligent than you are?” interview technique.

  22. Ultraviolet Thunder says:
    April 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    I am so liking the fight in Mayfield. Down by 5 with 30 seconds to go, I’d want this guy on the field driving us to victory. This guy does not deal in defeat. He deals in winning. I hope he succeeds in the NFL.

    ———-
    Well thanks for sharing your thoughts on a completely unrelated player.

    This question was posed to Jerome Baker who is a LB Not Baker Mayfield the QB.

  23. whoever the coach was, he won’t be an nfl head coach too long. tough guy posers get exposed by disciplined team builders who can scheme individual opponents. that’s why rex ryan is reduced to following a script and playing the clown on pregame shows.

  24. What difference does it make? They’re not looking for an answer, they’re looking for a reaction to an odd or difficult situation. It’s only words people. I’m sure they will have a lot worse things said to them by their opponents once they get on the field.

  25. If the kid’s been playing football since pee wee league, you would hope he would answer like a hard nosed SOB. This question is really to see whether the kid is going to lie or tip toe around the answer. But, I’d expect some great players might answer it in a passive way so it doesn’t really give you too much insight other than confirmation bias towards the answer you want to hear. IMO, interview questions should never be posed around what you want to hear, but rather around the prospect’s thought process.

  26. It could be a smart question by the coach. There’s that moment when you can see someone unnerved, and make some judgements about their character or ability to maintain composure or think quickly. You could ask so many questions like this, to get the same result:

    “What would you do if you received a letter threatening your family if you didn’t try to lose a particular game?”

    “Imagine yourself sitting in front of me right now, and I start taking my clothes off, how would you react?”

    “I don’t like you as a player or a human being, but my GM insisted I take this interview, what do you think about that?”

    Yes, it might have been an intelligent tactic on behalf of the coach, except he was said to later confirm it was about being a fighter, so we know he isn’t that smart after all.

  27. It’s a fair question. Most college kids now days would curl into a ball and cry for a safe space.

  28. It is not really a question about fighting. It is a question that tests how players react to unexpected situations or situations that they have never encountered before. Coaches do not punch their players, unless they are like Woody Hayes. Therefore players who can instantly decide what they need to do to cope with an unexpected situation would do well under game conditions, when anything can happen and there is only a split second to decide what to do.

  29. Relax everyone. It’s not a coach saying that he’d actually punch a player. He’s trying to get a read on a player’s attitude. Put away the pitchforks and torches.

  30. vaphinfan says:
    April 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm
    The first poster I bet never played anything with contact his whole life.

    ————

    Neither did you

  31. watchem313552556 says:
    April 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm
    What happens in a football locker room or practice field is one thing, and what happens on the street, are two different things.

    If you don’t think first on the street, you may end up stabbed or shot.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    No offense, but there is not a whole lot of thinking going on in “the street”

  32. My sources said it was Zimmer. But what he actually asked was; “What would you do if I punched one of your stuffed animals in the face?”

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