With the Rose Bowl game today, and all the rumors surrounding the coaching carousel, David Shaw’s name inevitably came up. Shaw has stated over and over again that he’s happy at Stanford, but schools would be crazy not to at least give his agent a call. Shaw has not only sustained the success started by his predecessor Jim Harbaugh, but he has elevated the program to new heights with his second consecutive Rose Bowl appearance.
If you want an idea of how he operates, take a look at my notes from last January’s AFCA Convention in Nashville. I was, quite literally, front and center for his presentation, and I came away very impressed with who he is and the way he does things at Stanford.
For all the hype about about coaches being “cutting-edge” and “innovative”, the reality is that most coaches in the NFL are remarkably results-oriented, simply finding what has work recently and emulating it as best they can. Conversely, if a strategy or game-management decision doesn’t pan out on Sunday in front of 50 million television viewers, a head coach or coordinator may be less inclined to go against the grain.
It’s no surprise then, that one of the few head coaches who regularly makes controversial decisions, from game management to player personnel, decided to do something that made football fans everywhere scratch their heads. With his unusual choice to kick the ball away in overtime and take the wind, Bill Belichick may have started a new NFL trend.
The NFL, it has been widely noted, is a copycat league, and football coaches in general are notorious for drawing up what they saw on TV the week before and trying to use it in their own gameplan. That said, every once in a while there seems to be a trend in play calling or game strategy. Take for example: