We're finally entering into the last few days of the NFL offseason; some rookies league-wide have already reported to training camp, with veterans all returning next week. And while the players are all undoubtedly taking advantage of their last few days off, odds are the coaches have already gotten back to work preparing themselves for another long year. I can't even begin to comprehend how much work it must be to coach a professional team in any capacity, but to do it in the NFL has to border on insanity. Between the hours, the pressure, the stress, the constant scrutiny, and the hordes of angry fans just waiting for that one slip-up so they can scream for your head, I'm amazed that more coaches, past and present, don't end up in the loony bin.
The Patriots have definitely had their share of characters at the coaching position over the years, and today's quiz highlighted some of the more memorable coaches the team has had in their history. Let's all just hope I don't have to write a question about Belichick's successor anytime soon.
Answers after the jump.
1. How many head coaches have the Patriots had?
Answer: A. 15. Bill Belichick marks the 15th head coach the Patriots have had.
2. What was Patriots first ever head coach Lou Saban’s nickname?
Answer: D. Trader Lou. Saban was given the nickname by the players, who were all very fond of him, because as soon as he became head coach of the Patriots, he started making all kinds of changes: players, coaches, even color scheme, going from blue and silver to red, white and blue. Saban is perhaps best known for cutting five players out of nowhere on the Tuesday before a big game, including his starting QB.
3. What position did Bill Belichick play in college?
Answer: A. Center. Belichick played center, as well as tight end, as a student at Wesleyan University. By his own admission, he wasn’t a very good football player, citing lack of footspeed as his primary flaw. He decided to stop playing football after college to try his hand at coaching. That worked out pretty OK, I guess.
4. Which Patriots head coach boasts the SECOND most regular season wins?
Answer: B. Mike Holovak. Bill Belichick’s 139 regular season wins is the most by any Patriots head coach by more than double Holovak’s numbers. The second most winningest coach in Patriots history amassed 53 regular season wins and finished his stint with the Pats with a 53-47-9 record.
5. How many one-season (or less) coaches have the Patriots had?
Answer: B. 3. Coaches Phil Bengston, Hank Bullough, and Rod Rust all lasted one season or less running the ship in New England.
6. True or False: former Patriots head coach Pete Carroll played football for Notre Dame.
Answer: False. While Carroll did play college ball, he didn’t go to Notre Dame. He was actually a safety for the University of the Pacific Tigers in Stockton, California. Before playing at Pacific, he played two seasons at the College of Marin.
7. Bill Parcells’ famous quote, "They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries" is a reference to what player?
Answer: D. Terry Glenn. Parcells left the Patriots primarily because he felt he did not have enough input in decisions involving player personnel. In the 1996 Draft, Parcells wanted to go defense, but the team ended up taking Glenn seventh overall instead. While the decision worked out, it still rubbed Parcells the wrong way.
8. Who was the last Patriots head coach to win his first-ever regular season game?
Answer: A. Pete Carroll. Carroll’s first game as Patriots head coach was in 1997, a 41-7 win over the San Diego Chargers. Bill Bellichick actually lost his first game as head coach, a 21-16 loss at home against the Buccaneers.
9. True or false: Bill Belichick has a winning record when head coaching against the Patriots.
Answer: True. As head coach of the Browns, from 1991-1995, Belichick amassed a 4-2 record against New England.
10. His job with the Patriots is Bill Belichick’s ____ head coaching position
Answer: B. 3rd. This is a trick question, because technically Belichick was only the head coach of the Browns before he came to the Pats. However, he was in fact the head coach of the Jets for all of one day before he came to his senses and signed with New England. So, while he isn’t on any lists of official Jets head coaches, he was still the head coach of the Jets, which makes the Patriots his 3rd coaching job.
11. Who is the longest-tenured current Patriots coach?
Answer: C. Dante Scarnecchia. Scarnecchia has been an NFL coach for 42 years and is entering his 28th season in New England. He is the best offensive line coach in the league, which he has proven time and time again, and he may be the greatest O-Line coach of all time.
12. How many Patriots head coaches are currently in the NFL Hall of Fame?
Answer: A. 0. As of now, no Patriots head coach is enshrined at Canton. That number will eventually be two, as it’s just a matter of time before Bill Parcells is inducted, and Belichick will be in on the first ballot.