A Brief List of Annoying Coaches.

Aristotle and Plato.

It’s been Rex Ryan’s month.  He’s in the headlines for a number of reasons, his team has just upset two of the best quarterbacks of all-time, and he seems to be enjoying every minute of it.  It was a bit of surprise this week when Ryan didn’t inject himself into the story line for the game against the Steelers.  I guess he thinks he got the boys this far, and they can take it from here.  The performance by Rex has added to his existing reputation, and I imagine if you liked Ryan before you now think even more of him, and if you previously disliked him, you’re probably at the point where you are ready to adopt the Steelers on Sunday.  Rex has never been a guy I strongly disliked.  He has his routine, and even though I despise the Jets, I have to admit that Ryan, in general, is pretty entertaining to watch.  It’s a fine line though.  There are plenty of coaches out there who drive me crazy.  An off the top of my head sampling…

Mike Martz.

More annoying alleged offensive genius, Martz or Billick?  I should probably list both guys, but Billick is thankfully out of the NFL right now.  Martz is still hanging his hat on the “Greatest Show on Turf.”  The decade old Rams teams that he coordinated and then led back to the Super Bowl as a head coach only to kick start the Patriots dynasty.  Since leaving St. Louis Martz has presided over 3 offenses, Detroit/SF and now Chicago.  None of these stops has ever produced anything like St. Louis (Hmmm, wonder why?  No Warner/Faulk/Holt/Bruce?), and Martz usually ends up in a feud with the head coach or buries the team in an overly complex scheme.  It’s a nightmare.  He says things like, “confidence can get mistaken for ego,” and calls Matt Forte option passes up 4 TDs.  He’s Mike Martz.  Too annoying to bear.

Joe Maddon

Maddon has shoved aside Tony LaRussa as the most annoying coach in MLB in my book, and that is no easy accomplishment.  He’s straight from the LaRussa school, meaning everyone falls all over themselves complimenting his intelligence.  He reads books!  He wears trendy glasses!  He could probably do the NY Times crossword…if he wanted to.  I find the whole “intelligent” coach bit incredibly insulting.  Not only does it imply that all the other coaches are stupid (because they aren’t reading Atlas Shrugged on the road or something), but it also implies that there is some correlation between potential on Jeopardy and managing a game.  I’m quite sure there probably is not.  These guys get built up as baseball academics and then you can’t criticize anything they do, because they are soooo smart.  It’s horse bleep.  Add that to the fact that Maddon is “quirky” and likes to do things like dress the crowd in tie-dye and his team in hockey jerseys and he catapults right past Tony LaRussa.

Phil Jackson

Jackson hits about every category you can imagine.  Just about everything I said about Maddon, you could apply to Jackson.  Oh, he gives the players books to read!  He picks them out himself!  How delightful.  Putting aside the fact that Jackson wouldn’t be caught dead coaching a team with less than top-3 in the league talent, there is something that he does that drives me insane.  It’s the passive aggressive insinuations.  He’ll make an off-hand comment about a player, or about a referee, or about Mark Cuban, and it’s always veiled in some way and there’s always an ulterior motive. It’s maddening.  At least if Cuban doesn’t like something he’ll tell you straight up.  Jackson will float something through the media and then sit back and massage his scraggly facial hair, while everyone reads way too much into it.  He’s no genius, he’s just an egomaniacal baby.  Maybe that’s why he relates to the players so well.

Bruce Pearl

It’s hard to pick a college basketball coach.  It’s a population sullied by many shady, shady individuals.  Pearl is the signature “energy” guy.  He’s tireless, he just loves the game, Tennessee is his dream job, he does awesome things like paint his chest for Lady Vols games, blah, blah, blah.  Pearl is tireless, in his pursuit to position himself in the spotlight.  He’s the ultimate “look at me” coach who has somehow disguised the act as just being a “great guy.”  Oh, that’s Bruce. Everyone loves him.  I must say it was incredibly satisfying to me when Pearl got nailed for the recruiting violations.  It was sweet poetry, because it ruined his shtick.  No more playing head cheerleader, Bruce.  You’re just another snake oil salesman.

John Tortorella

Tortorella is a hockey coach for those who aren’t familiar.  He is currently with the Rangers, but started his annoying journey in Tampa Bay.  Tortorella is the classic faux tough guy.  He’s always got the angry look on his face.  He dismisses reporters.  He trashes his own players.  I guess for the non-hockey inclined, he’s a little like Mike Ditka.  He’s a bully, or tries to be, but it’s offset by the fact that he’s probably about 5’7”.  So, yeah, go ahead and throw a little Napoleon complex into the mix as well.  Tortorella is the chip on your shoulder guy.  He can’t just go out and coach, he has to have this gimmick to get it done, and that’s why he wears out his welcome and will probably never get lucky again like he did in Tampa Bay.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Andy Reid
  2. Coach Cal
  3. Charlie Weis
  4. Roy Williams
  5. G-Rob.

6 thoughts on “A Brief List of Annoying Coaches.

  1. Good calls, especially Martz. A few more to add:

    Kryzewski. Okay, you love your players, they are all special persons (except for Greg Newton and Taymon Domzalski), you love them as people, fine, we get it, go to hell.

    Rick Pitino. I don’t feel the need to elaborate much here.

    Jason Garrett. Guilt by association.

    Mike Shanahan. His entire body of work was accomplished through Steve Young and John Elway. Otherwise what has this guy actually done?

    Mike Holmgren. You would have thought that Brett Favre’s coattails would have run out by now. Guess not.

    • DC,

      i really identify with the Garrett selection. couple of reasons:

      1, it’s hard for me to trust guys who have orange hand AND their alma mater is Princeton

      2, if the guy is such a COWBOY, why didn’t he make better plays when he was the offensive (??) coordinator.

      3, he’s basically the same size as jerry jones. do we think there is a closeted relationship?

      4, he’s a COWBOY.


  2. solid list.

    holmgren is an interesting case. he’s kind of buried in Cleveland right now, but I figure in a couple more years he’ll have them buried.

    how many teams do you have to fail with to lose a legacy? that’s an interesting question. Like Parcells. Great in NY, pretty good in NE, and then kind of a downward spiral from there.

    Shanahan could be about halfway through a similar process.

    If I were Cowher and Gruden, I’d stick to announcing.

  3. Where’s Coughlin on that list? Also, where does Bruce Pearl’s wife land on it? Anyone who compares Bruce Pearl being hammered for recruiting violations to being akin to Jesus being crucified (fact, she did that sh*t) deserves mention i think.

  4. I think Coughlin, from my point of view at least, doesn’t get a ton of national attention. So, I don’t see that much of him. Obviously, he’s annoying, but he didn’t immediately come to mind.

    I hadn’t heard that about Pearl’s wife. They should probably ban all analogies when it comes to sports. They never turn out that well. I imagine with some research, you could come up with a separate list for family members and spouses.

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