Job Search Counseling for a Super Bowl Coach

Believe it or not, part of my job history was working for several years as a re-employment counselor for a state government agency.

A little more than twenty years ago, the small energy company I had been working for was sold to a much larger corporation.  The new company opted not to retain me.  With two sons heading into high school, it was time to find another job in our hometown rather than uproot the family once again.

After more than a year of various part-time gigs to help pay our household bills, I took the state civil service test to qualify for a few government jobs within our locale.

Upon passing the test, I applied for a job opening as a Re-employment Counselor at the state’s local unemployment office.

If you’ve ever received unemployment insurance payments after losing a job, your state requires everyone receiving a weekly unemployment benefit check to conduct an active job search.  Our office required job seekers to pay a personal visit every few months to review their employment search efforts and, hopefully, speed the process along.  I tried to match a person’s skills with the available job postings with local employers seeking to fill local positions.

The job was surprisingly enjoyable and rewarding.  After a half dozen years, I eventually returned to my previous field (which paid more money).  It was time to leave my job interviewing skills behind.

Until today.

I was thinking about how interesting it might be to check on the job search efforts of a certain legendary NFL football coach who recently became unemployed.

***Note – This obviously fabricated totally phony interview never took place.  It is 100% fiction and is intended to be taken in fun.

“Bill Belichick…Come on down!”

SS:  What an honor to meet you, Coach!   Wow, it’s really hard to believe that you have won six Super Bowls and are now out of a job and looking for work.

BB:  Yeah, me too!  Without me around, I doubt that New England would have won half of those Super Bowls. 

SS:  So, why did your last employer decide to let you go after 24 years with the team?

BB:  This last season didn’t go very well.  The team finished 4-13.  We have struggled for a few years of late.

SS:  Yes, I’m a big sports fan.  I noticed that your teams haven’t fared as well in recent years.

BB:  Yep.  The Patriots finished 8-9 the year before, too.  Some people blame Tom Brady for leaving us.  I think our recent teams just weren’t tough enough anymore.  Plus, I’m going to be 72 years old this year.  Maybe nobody wants an old coach running their NFL team anymore.   

SS:   I saw that you listed on your job search form that you had a couple of in-person interviews with the Atlanta Falcons.  How did that go?

BB:  Well, the Falcons still haven’t won a Super Bowl yet for good reason.  Seven years ago, you might remember that we (the Patriots) came from 28-3 down in the third quarter to get the game into overtime and win 34-28.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that game so many times during my interviews with the Falcons owner.   He also didn’t seem to like that I called them the Dirty Birds, too.

SS:  Nice job, Coach!  Saints fans like me have been calling the Falcons that for years!  People in Atlanta are still sensitive about that second half choke job in the Super Bowl to your New England Patriots team.  I noticed that the Falcons just hired Raheem Morris the other day for the head coaching job.  How do you feel about another former defensive coordinator getting the Atlanta job?

BB:  He’s probably a good coach, but, hey, did I mention that I have six Super Bowl rings?

SS:  Yep!  Have you had any other interviews for NFL head coaching positions?  I heard there were still openings in Washington and Seattle as of the start of this week.

BB:  Well, Seattle just hired someone today.  Some guy named Mike McDonald.  I never liked him very much when he joined the Doobie Brothers band.

SS:  No, that is a different Michael McDonald.  The new Seattle head coach was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore this season.

BB:  Oh, yeah!  I’m glad he finally got into a better line of work!

SS:  Coach, we have to be realistic.  That leaves only one NFL head coaching job open.  Washington’s team is a dumpster fire.  Do you really want to throw your hat into the ring for that job?

BB:  If they offer me $15 million per year, I’ll be there for the interview!  By the way, your New Orleans Saints could really use a coach like me.  Do you know if Gayle Benson is hiring?

SS:  She SHOULD be!  Sadly, the Saints don’t seem to have a job posting on our list right now.

BB:  That’s too bad.  I really like New Orleans!   We won our first Super Bowl in 2003 in the Superdome.   

SS:  I was just looking over your rather impressive resume.  In addition to the six Super Bowl wins, your Patriots made it into the big game on three other occasions, too.  Nine trips to the season finale in your 24 years with New England.  That is truly amazing!

BB:  Thanks, but you’re only as good as your last season.  Just like Coach Bum Phillips used to say, “There’s two kinds of coaches.  Them that’s fired, and them that’s gonna be fired!”

SS:  Bum was definitely one of a kind!  I see on my job postings that there are still a few NFL defensive coordinator positions around the league which remain vacant.  With your prior background on the defensive side of the ball, would you like to apply for any of them?

BB:   Not unless they offer me $15 million per year!

SS:  The Dallas Cowboys defense could benefit from your knowledge.  I assume you saw their last game a couple of weeks ago.  Plus, the current head coach Mike McCarthy is on the last year of his contract.   Have you talked to owner Jerry Jones about helping the Cowboys’ defense this year?  Maybe you might get the top job a year from now.

BB:  Some folks think that might be a good idea.  Here’s something to think about.  I’ve taken nine teams to the Super Bowl in 24 years.  Jerry Jones hasn’t taken one of his teams to the NFC Championship in the past 28 years.  Why would I want to go to work for a man who meddles in his team’s business all the time?  At least Robert Kraft in New England gave me a lot of latitude.  No thanks, Jerry! 

SS:  Well, you do have to continue looking for work every week in order to continue collecting your unemployment money, Coach.  How about working in television?  Your former quarterback, Tom Brady, is starting his new job as an analyst for Fox Sports this fall.  Could you see yourself working on one of those TV network pre-game shows?

BB:  I’m not sure that I project the proper image for television. People also might not like it when I tell the truth about certain teams, players, and other NFL coaches.  Plus, nobody in television is going to pay me $15 million per year just to do that.

SS:  CBS is paying Tony Romo $17 million per year right now.

BB:  Hey, that’s right!  I just read your last story about that.  If they’re paying Romo that much money, maybe that’s why the stock price for CBS’s parent company (Paramount) is down 37% in the past year, too. 

SS:  Good observation!  Your NFL coaching resume is unequaled.  In addition to coaching, I see that you earned a college degree in Economics.

BB:  I played football, lacrosse, and squash at a small school called Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  I figured I would need a legit degree to fall back on after playing sports at a small college.  After finishing school, I knocked on the door of my hometown Baltimore Colts and got a job for just $25/week to help head coach Ted Marchibroda.   I then made the rounds as an NFL assistant.  I had stops in Detroit, Denver, and New York (Giants) before Cleveland offered me the top job when I was only 39.  I was fired after my fifth season in 1996.  Did you know that I was canned just one week before Cleveland’s owner (Art Modell) moved his football team to Baltimore to become the Ravens?

SS:  Your family lived back in Maryland in those days, right?

BB:  Annapolis.  Yeah, the owner moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.  It was 40 miles away from my family home.  Anyway, I then took an assistant’s job in New England for one year and then followed my long-time friend, Bill Parcells, to the New York Jets for three seasons through 1999.   When the Jets fired Parcells, the team offered the head coaching job to me.  I told the Jets that I was going to take the top job back in New England instead.  Since I was still under contract with New York at the time, the Patriots had to give up a first round draft pick to the Jets as compensation. 

SS:  I’d say that deal worked out pretty well for the Patriots!  So, you stayed in New England for the next 24 years.  I’m sure that you made a lot of money as the team’s head coach during that time.  So – seriously now – why do you still want to keep coaching?

BB:  I don’t really know, but I think I’m a better coach than many other NFL coaches.  Maybe I could use a new challenge.  It might be nice to see if I change teams like Tom Brady did in Tampa and lead a new team to the Super Bowl.

SS:  Nick Saban just retired from college coaching at Alabama.  You might want to give him a call and ask how well he likes retirement life.

BB:  In the 1990’s, Nick Saban worked as my defensive coordinator in Cleveland with the Browns.  We’ve been friends for decades.  He did pretty well for himself after making the switch to college coaching.

SS:  That’s for sure!  Perhaps you might want to consider going into college coaching!  There should be plenty of smaller schools like your alma mater that would love to have you on the staff.  You could really be a positive influence in developing college football players.

BB:  True.  But not for the $15 million per year I will want, though! 

SS:  Definitely not.  Coach, you really should prepare for earning less money in your next job.

BB:  Well, if you’re finished now and don’t have any other job openings which I’m qualified for today, I need to check with my agent about one of those TV jobs for this fall.  I’m still hoping that Fox Sports is going to make me an offer so that I can give the needle every Sunday to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.  Yeah, that would be great! 

SS:  Good times, indeed.  Thanks, and best of luck, Coach Belichick!