Belichick Among Most Loved, Hated NFL Coaches

In a player survey, 80 percent of NFL players were polled as to which coaches they’d most, and least, want to play for. It’s actually a fascinating look at how players balance their desire to win with their desire to play for a nice guy, two things that are often mutually incompatible. And Bill Belichick, probably the best illustration of that, got some interesting responses.

Bill Belichick

The last two Super Bowl winners ended up at opposite ends of the list. Tony Dungy, unsurprisingly, was named the most desirable head coach - his father-figure-like manner, and on-the-field success made him a clear number one. Hardass Tom Coughlin was the coach players least wanted to play for. The poll was conducted during last season, before the Giants’ championship, so those 53 players with rings are probably pretty glad they sucked it up. Plaxico Burress could not be reached for comment.

And what about Belichick, an a**hole who always wins?

The Patriots coach made the top five of both most and least desirable coaches. Three championships are nice, but is it worth it to be just another cog in a machine powered by pure evil?

The study, conducted by researchers for the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, surveyed 1,440 players and found a pretty good consensus. You can view the full report here, hosted by the NEW YORK TIMES.

Dungy, Lovie Smith, Belichick, Herm Edwards and Mike Tomlin were the top five coaches to play for, while Coughlin, Eric Mangini, Jon Gruden, Bobby Petrino and Belichick rounded out the bottom five.

Lessons learned:

-Players have their fingers on the pulse of the front office more than we think. Five of the bottom ten coaches have lost their jobs since last year.

-No one wants to play in New York.

-Herm Edwards is such a gosh-darned nice guy that players are willing to overlook the likelihood that they’ll get more hugs than wins under him.