Rod Woodson believes NFL head coaches don’t want Hall of Fame players on their staffs

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Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson has spent some time in the NFL as an assistant coach, including two stints with the Raiders. But it never really stuck for him.

And Woodson has a theory for that. He thinks NFL head coaches don’t want Hall of Fame players on their staffs.

They want one alpha in the room,” Woodson recently told TMZ.com. “And I’m not a real alpha where I want somebody’s job. I just want to — I just love talking ball.”

As a result, Woodson believes that Hall of Fame players will have a harder time getting assistant coaching jobs and, in turn, developing into head coaches. Only seven Hall of Famers have become NFL head coaches since the merger: Bart Starr, Raymond Berry, Mike Ditka, Forrest Gregg, Art Shell, Mike Singletary, and Mike Munchak. (Dick LeBeau was the head coach in Cincinnati before entering the Hall of Fame; Munchak currently serves as the offensive line coach in Denver.)

“I think it’ll be more difficult for Hall of Famers to get in it and stay in it, just for the fact that most of the coaches don’t like that respect leaving that room or that area and going to somewhere else,” Woodson said.

Woodson suggested that Ed Reed, who has made clear his desire to get into coaching, is having a hard time because of his Hall of Fame status and potential alpha-male presence. It’s an interesting dynamic that bears watching as Reed and other Hall of Famers try to break into the profession.

34 responses to “Rod Woodson believes NFL head coaches don’t want Hall of Fame players on their staffs

  1. Ed Reed is such a smart player and I really think he would become an excellent coach.

  2. Most HOF cannot understand or teach lesser players how to do something as it likely was more natural for them. They primarily just played their game while others have to do specific things to keep their jobs.

  3. Being PHYSICALLY TALENTED at playing football does not mean you are great at being a coach. Bill Belichick was a benchwarmer at Wesleyan College. Being an Hall Of Famer means nothing.

    And you’re delusional if you think the assistant coaches current on NFL staffs aren’t “alphas” too. EVERY SINGLE head coach in the NFL started as an assistant somewhere and moved up the food chain.

  4. HOF players often leave the NFL with their pockets stuffed with money. I am not sure people believe that they would be willing to work 80 hour weeks and sleep on pull-out couches in their offices during the season as NFL coaches do. I would not.

    I also look at a guy like Rod Woodson who was one of the fastest men on earth (and other HOF players of similar amazing talent) and wonder if they had to learn every trick of the trade and every little nuance learned that had to be learned by the guys who had to fight to just survive as players. So using another Steelers player as an example, I wonder if Tony Dungy left the NFL way more prepared to become a coach than a guy like Woodson.

  5. Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Willie Brown and you Rod Woodson were all on the Raiders staff at one time or another

  6. Let’s examine Woodson’s coaching career:

    2011 Raiders cornerback coach – 4,023 passing yards (27th) & 31 TDs (31st)
    2015 Raiders Ass’t DB coach – 4,140 passing yards (26th) & 25 TDs (15th)
    2016 Raiders Ass’t DB coach – 4,120 passing yards (24th) & 27 TDs (20th)
    2017 Raiders cornerback coach – 3,858 passing yards (26th) & 24 TDs (18th)

    I mean, seriously, four years coaching and your defense surrenders bottom quartile in passing yards. MAYBE that’s why your coaching career ended…

  7. Well if you would have knocked it out of the park while in Oakland they would be jumping from all angles to give you a job. Go work at one of the colleges to prove yourself worthy and then you might get another chance.

  8. I think its that way in most sports. The lunch pail guy had to work harder, study harder just to keep his spot. Things came easier for the star. High school hero, recruited heavily, early draft pick, pro bowls, endorsements, etc. Are these guys with millions in the bank ready to put in 16 hour days over 5-10 years in a support role? Sean McVay had 7 years in various coaching positions before he was promoted to OC. Belichick had served in some lower level stuff since the first world war before getting the Browns HC position,

  9. Let’s all complain about something that doesn’t work in our favor…
    let’s just reduce ourselves to whiners and complainers…

  10. “Coaches don’t like that respect leaving the room, leaving the area” that didn’t make much sense.

    I think some guys speak out of turn and Woodson is painting broad strokes with general statements.

  11. NFL Head Coaches make decisions based one motivation… whatever gives their team the best chance to win (well, the smart ones do). They don’t care about anything else, especially when it comes to hiring & firing assistants. If this guy can’t find a job, it is almost certainly NOT because he is a HOF player…

    All great players possess some form of intangible quality or skill that cannot be taught. If you could teach what made them great and get equal or similar results, that would mean every player would be great. I would think that makes coaching harder for the great players.

  12. The only difference I could see between hiring an average ex-player, and hiring a HOFer is that maybe the HOFer would think he deserves preferential treatment. If you’re a head coach, you have to treat all your coaches fairly. All these guys are working hard. You have to treat everyone with the same amount of respect. You can’t have different expectations for different coaches. I also don’t think the head coach would be intimidated. Heck, he’s already a head coach. Maybe some of the assistants might not want to hire a HOFer because they might feel he’ll get an advantage when it comes to promotions. I’d love to hire an ex-HOFer, as long as he brought the same work ethic that made him a great player with him to the coaching room.

  13. Just because someone is a great player it doesn’t mean they make good coaches. Typically it’s just the opposite. Woodson got his jobs because of his name and play on the field. You can’t teach physical size/skills which most HOF players have. Size/skills often trump technique/schemes which coaches are there to teach. Many of the HOF types (whatever the sport) simply don’t connect at that level and don’t offer much. So not sure what most HOFers would bring to any team other than name and a yellow coat.

  14. Guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brain Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, Larry Fitzgerald (future HOF) Joe Thomas (future HOF), Jason Peters (future HOF), Tony Romo (NOT a future HOF, but very good player) would all be good candidates for coaching positions IMO.

  15. I disagree that HOF players and superstars don’t have to work as hard because they are naturally gifted. It’s often their extra hard work that makes them such great players. Michael Jordan, for instance, had a reputation of being the hardest worker in practice.

    But I think that the superstar player’s attitude toward hard work may be their downfall in coaching. They can’t understand why everyone doesn’t have that killer attitude in practice. Why everyone doesn’t go the extra mile, do everything absolutely necessary to win. They just can’t accept that, and so, may get frustrated.

    They just may not be able to manage the situation where everyone on the field can’t be as good as they were. As a player, that situation can be fun. As a coach, it can be frustrating.

  16. Depends on who those HOFs are.

    Rod Woodson is somebody who should be on a coaching staff. Woodson was the Ed Reed/Charles Woodson before anybody know of them. Woodson was a great.

  17. Many successful athletes were unable to transition from playing to coaching. If you are a great player with natural ability teaching someone who does not have that ability or worse yet, expecting a player to be able to perform like you both on and off the field will lead to failure. Those who cant do teach may be a better way to describe it.

  18. Here’s another observation: of the seven HOF players who became head coaches, only Mike Ditka won a Super Bowl, and that was mostly due to Buddy Ryan.

    Make your own conclusions.

  19. “let’s just reduce ourselves to whiners and complainers…”

    that already happened decades ago, and Woodson is a mere example of what our culture has churned out seemingly forever now

    look no further than these boards

  20. Leave it to a couple of hall of famers to complain they aren’t getting what they want.
    You’ve had your time under the spotlight and now you’re in the job pool just like everybody else.
    Deal with it

  21. danimal1974
    If Buddy Ryan was so responsible for the Bears success, why did he suck so Abad as a HC?

    People need to realize that sometimes coaches have great success due to the assemblance players they were fortunate to have.

  22. On the bright side, we as a nation are apparently making progress. He didnt claim race was the issue. So thats a start. Congrats Rod.

  23. Perhaps the league should Institute some sort of rule that every time there is a coaching vacancy the team has to interview at least one hall of fame player.
    No …. Wait…. That sounds just ridiculous.

  24. why33 says:
    July 1, 2020 at 4:59 am
    I disagree that HOF players and superstars don’t have to work as hard because they are naturally gifted. It’s often their extra hard work that makes them such great players. Michael Jordan, for instance, had a reputation of being the hardest worker in practice.
    ===================
    Dont entirely agree with this. You are partially correct. Jordan didnt need to work that hard to be a HOF player. He would have been in the HOF no matter what, because he was that good. What took him from HOF to (arguably) the greatest of all time, and in arguably the greatest of his era, was his work ethic. Shaq is one of the most dominant forces in the history of basketball, and Kobe complained that he was too lazy, and if he wasnt so lazy they would have won 4 more rings. Being physically gifted is going to give you an enormous advantage. Adding a relentless work ethic puts you over the mountain. The combination of elite talent and elite work ethic gets you Jordan, and Kobe. Being an elite talent (or so physically dominant you cant be stopped regardless) gets you Shaq. All 3 are HOF players, but you cant argue that all 3 are in the same category of work ethic.

  25. IMO great players do not make great coaches. I’m not sure if it’s they expect way too much of “average” players. Mike Singletary is another example. Many great players also worked their butts off to be even that much better. They are super natural, not the norm. When they see the norm it really upsets them.

  26. darrenkod says:
    June 30, 2020 at 8:58 pm
    Being PHYSICALLY TALENTED at playing football does not mean you are great at being a coach. Bill Belichick was a benchwarmer at Wesleyan College. Being an Hall Of Famer means nothing.

    **********************************************************************************

    You can be a great coach without having played, but being able to come in with the pedigree of someone who excelled at the highest level definitely gives someone an edge if they can also coach and develop people (which is a separate skill).

    Steelers had Dick LeBeau and Mike Munchak on their staff, and I have no doubt that both are/were great coaches in part because they played the game at the highest and understood how to translate that to others.

  27. I think Ed Reed will never get a coaching job because of the way he shot his ignorant mouth off about Brees.

  28. Go coach high school or college and earn your way AS A COACH. Nobody cares about playing stats, they dont matter when you are coaching.

  29. watchyobehindinharmcity says:
    July 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm
    Go coach high school or college and earn your way AS A COACH. Nobody cares about playing stats, they dont matter when you are coaching.
    *******************************************
    Do you think Peyton Manning could get an NFL head coaching job without any coaching experience?

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