Being the head coach for a National Football League (NFL) team is a tiresome job. The job security is low, and you could lose your top-tier position anytime. However, the average NFL coach salary is good given their hard work and dedication, with the coach salary being much higher than the average worker. Unsurprisingly, these coaches with years of experience and success make big money.
The head coach is the football team's leader, and in some ways, they even act as surrogate parents. They are responsible for ensuring that the team is prepared for each game and executing the game plan. Head coaches also have to deal with the media. After each game, they must be prepared to speak with reporters to go over the game's highlights, and they are scrutinized for every play.
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Head coaches must know how to handle nearly 100 players on the team and bring out the best in each one. These head coaches also have to manage egos and keep the team united. They must supervise workouts with the head strength coach and cheer them on in the weight room. Additionally, they must evaluate the athletic performance of the athletes. In short, being an NFL head coach is a very demanding job.
While there are no formal education requirements to be an NFL head coach, there are certain things that can certainly help. Head coaches are high school graduates and nearly all have a bachelor's degree. Some of the most helpful bachelor's degrees are those in exercise science, athletic training, kinesiology or a related field. Some head coaches even have their master's degree in sports medicine.
Head coaches are sometimes certified personal trainers as well. They must know each player's body to safeguard against injury and keep their players in top shape. Head coaches often start as college coaches, working their way up to the NFL. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says though there are no requirements, there is often on-the-job training.
The NFL is a big money-making industry with 32 teams and millions of fans worldwide, and there are many positions within the NFL. The NFL began in 1920 and is divided equally into the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. These teams compete against each other all season, leading up to the Super Bowl, the world's highest level of football competition.
Head coaches often become well known. The hiring and firing of coaches make headlines. For instance, when Jon Gruden was fired from the Las Vegas Raiders, it was front-page news. People start talking when players like Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs sign massive contracts.
Job Mobility and Career Growth
Head coaches generally have many years of experience when they accept their position. Some coaches, like Pete Carroll, started in college football. Coaches who wish to get to a head coach position spend years as a college coach, conditioning specialist or personal trainer.
Head coach salaries often depend on their experience and record. In 2017, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams became the youngest coach in NFL history at age 33. He hired Matt LaFleur as his assistant coach, who later became the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. If you're searching for a way to get involved in sports, spending time volunteering as a coach can be a tax deduction.
Other head coaches who started in college football are Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers and Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals. Some head coaches only play college football and are brought into the NFL reasonably early in their career, like Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers or Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some former coaches return to networks like ESPN to provide game commentary, like Sean Payton, formerly of the New Orleans Saints.
There isn't much formal data out there for average NFL coach salaries. However, the average coach salary in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $73,070. However, the BLS average uses information from positions outside the NFL, so the head coach of an NFL team makes a higher salary.
There's an impressive list of the highest-paid NFL coaches. For instance, Bill Belichick, the head football coach of the New England Patriots, has an annual salary of $12 million. Sean Payton of the Saints makes almost $10 million per year, and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens makes a wild $9 million per year. Andy Reid, coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, makes $8 million a year. Even coaches who don't have Super Bowl wins make a large annual salary.
The job growth for the position of head coach in the NFL depends on the league. The opportunity for growth comes from the team owners and their business decisions.