Last time I checked, a suit never won a championship. Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry and Mike Ditka never won games based on looks. Bill Parcells, the only coach to take four different teams to the playoffs, didn’t do that based off looks alone. These coaches won because they have learned amazing strategy, brilliant play calling and because they have some of the best players on their respective teams. Lombardi and Landry and any of the other great coaches would have won games with or without a suit. Make Vince Lombardi wear a visor and a Packers polo. Does his name change? Does his mastery of the game change? No. There is one point I will concede: When the coaches wear suits, there is an aura of class to the game. The coaches were generals of the field, and the game looked like gentlemen coached it. But that still doesn’t change the fact that one of the greatest coaching minds, Bill Belichick, has won multiple Super Bowls and never in a suit. He really is just following the rules set down by the NFL. So if he is allowed to wear a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off and coach the Patriots to another championship, what is the problem with that? Really, if Reebok made NFL licensed pajamas I’m sure one or two coaches would wear them. And there wouldn’t be a problem because they would still have the same strategies and plays to call as they would if they were wearing a suit. Their knowledge of the game wouldn’t change.
In the same respect, the NFL has everything to gain by letting the coaches wear what they choose. The deal did put $250 million in the NFL’s pocket, but it also put a lot more merchandise on the shelves and on television. Having the coaches wear various polos, vests and hats on the sidelines will promote NFL gear and encourage the fantasy owners to buy clothes to look like their favorite coach.
Now I really have no problems with what Mike Nolan wants to wear either. The suit is classy and shows a great deal of respect for former coaches, but so does putting them in the Hall of Fame. If he wants to wear a suit, then let him. Only catch: The suit has to be made by Reebok, because that’s what the current deal says. However, I don’t think there will be as many merchandising options for NFL licensed suits compared to the current gear coaches wear. Besides, as Cassie said, think of Lombardi wearing a Packer visor and polo. Would Lombardi be any different if he had worn something different? How different would Landry coach without his fedora?
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