In many respects, the “N” in “NFL” stands for “nepotism.” However, there’s something more to giving the sons of coaches jobs as coaches than simply exercising the privilege of hiring family members.
As explained by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, young men who have spent years and years around the game as the son of a coach may end up having inherent qualifications that others simply won’t. For Stephen (pictured) and Brian Belichick, that definitely looks to be the case.
“Both Stephen and Brian have grown up a lot and they’ve come a long way, especially when I’ve had a chance to see them their whole lives,” Belichick told reporters on Friday regarding the presence of two sons on the Patriots coaching staff. “But they’ve been around a lot of football, they’ve seen a lot of football. They’ve seen things done from a different perspective than other people. But in the end, I don’t know anybody that knows our football program better than Stephen, who’s been in it a little bit longer, but Brian as well.
“They’ve just lived their whole life with this program. So all the things that we do, for all the different reasons and how it all ties together and so forth, they have a very good understanding of all the things that are involved and how it all is interwoven. And that’s valuable to me because they have a perspective of that. We have a lot of good coaches on our staff, I’m not saying that. Those guys are very, very good coaches and very proficient and they do a great job. But it’s a little different to see it from the perspective that Brian has seen it from, or Steve. They all help, they’re all valuable and I’m glad we have them.”
That’s a dynamic that often gets overlooked when the issue of nepotism is debated. Yes, the best person should get the job. But the experience that a coach’s son or daughter may have from simply being around the game from the unique perspective of being the coach’s child potentially enhances the qualifications — especially when it comes to working for the head coach who also is the candidate’s father.
Frankly, it’s one of the reasons why 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is on track to become the next Bill Belichick. His time around his father, Mike, and the teams Mike coached helped Kyle’s preparation for his current career.