I always kind of like looking at poll questions answered a sample of NFL players. Sports Illustrated does one each week (unless they stripped that too), the league conducts one occasionally, and this week, Sporting News had its network of correspondents ask 111 NFL players the following question: 'Which coach (other than your own) would you most like to play for?'
The top two receiving votes were...
Rex Ryan, New York Jets -- 22
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers - 22
The next place finisher, Bill Belichik, wasn't even close with 11 votes. Some might be surprised to see Ryan fare so well in the poll, but they shouldn't be. Ryan is the ultimate player's coach, and though it might be annoying at times to hear him talk so grandiosely about his team, you better believe that players like that kind of bravado and confidence.
As for Tomlin, well, when you're a cool customer who's taken two teams to the Super Bowl before the age of 40, you're probably going to have guys want to come play for you. Guys around the league talk and there's no question that Steelers players speak favorably of their head coach. Tomlin does have a thing or two to prove to Steeler Nation though in upcoming weeks after his self-proclaimed mistakes didn't help Pittsburgh's chances down the stretch last Sunday night against Baltimore.
As for other notes about the list, I found it interesting that Mike Shanahan was nowhere to be found despite having coached plenty of guys still in the league. No Andy Reid sighting either (I think he just looks to gross and scary for most, but then again, how do you explain Rex Ryan?); and finally, despite having coached a grand total of 8 games, Jim Harbaugh comes in fourth place in the poll.
Tomlin and the Steelers return to action this coming Sunday in Cincinnati.