Ron Rivera learned from John Madden to rely on “gut feeling”

Getty Images

Some look at the decisions made by Washington coach Ron Rivera and regard them as inconsistent. Rivera understands that perception.

“It does look a little inconsistent, but the consistency is that I’m going to make them based on what I know, on my gut feeling on things,” Rivera said Thursday, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “Hopefully, they’re good decisions. If they’re not, we’ll know and I’ll take responsibility, that’s for doggone sure.”

He’s also willing to change the decisions he has made if/when he realizes that the decisions should be changed.

“That’s part of my prerogative as a head coach is that I can change my mind because if I’m wrong, I’ll admit it,” Rivera said. “That’s one thing I’ve told you guys is that I’ll take the responsibility because I’m the one making the decisions.”

Rivera explained, via Keim, that Hall of Fame head coach John Madden advised Rivera early in his career with the Panthers to rely on his instincts.

“I went back and looked at them and there were some decisions that, now, I wouldn’t have made,” Rivera said. “But I learned. Those are hard knocks. They were things that I had to get and understand and learn as a head coach. I think that’s part of what drives my decision-making now.”

In an age where analytics drive so many coaching decisions, it’s refreshing to see coaches who, after digesting all available information, rely on that little voice that usually guides them in the right direction.

As to Rivera’s current team, the chances of climbing into the race for the championship of the worst division in football arguably hinges on Rivera developing and trusting a gut feeling that his quarterback should be Alex Smith.

4 responses to “Ron Rivera learned from John Madden to rely on “gut feeling”

  1. It’s a QB league, and Ron Rivera got his team to the super bowl the year his QB had an MVP season. Has anyone else noticed how much smarter Bruce Arians has become this season, and how much Bill Belichick’s intelligence seems to be missing? Wouldn’t have anything to do with Tom Brady, would it?

  2. Stats show you the past, not the future.
    Decisions based on analytics are just rationnal gambling, they can’t predict the human factor and randomness of the game.

    Because of Moneyball, now every sport nerds think they just have to find a way to “game” the stats to get a competitive edge. Moneyball was a game changer in baseball because there are less variables in baseball. In any other sport analytics are a tool, not the alpha and omega of decision making.

    And the “chance to win” constanly changing they show in-game, is laughable. That’s a perversion of what stats are really about.

  3. Was it a gut feeling Ron when you decided to allow Cam Newton to continue to play football when he couldn’t throw a football more than 10 yards without pain? Then again when you started him in a meaningless preseason game while dealing with an injury which again ended with him being carted of the field? Another gut feeling Ron?

  4. Alex Smith had 9 yards passing the entire second half versus the Rams. If you include sacks, that number drops to negative 30. If Smith was better than Allen, he would be in there.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.