Aug 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) checks out a photographers camera during the second half of the game between the Texans and the Miami Dolphins at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Dolphins 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Head Coach Comparisons With Movie Directors


It’s the height of the blockbuster movie season.  In that spirit, which of the top directors in Hollywood compare to top NFL head coaches?

James Cameron

By Neal Haynes, USA Today

Mandatory Credit:  Neal Haynes, USA Today

It really doesn’t seem to matter what project James Cameron touches, it always turns to gold.  The man is responsible for the two highest grossing films of all-time (Avatar and Titanic) among a slew of other notable works such as Terminator, The Abyss, True Lies and Aliens.  One key part to his amazing success is his uncanny ability to blend cutting edge technology with proven storytelling.  His incredible breakthroughs in cinematography have paved the way for the vast sweeping visual epics we see today.  There isn’t a mountain left for him to climb, as he’s done it all at every level and done it his way.

Coach Counterpart:  Pete Carroll – Seattle Seahawks

Feb 3, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during the winning team press conference the day after Super Bowl XLVIII at Sheraton New York Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Never mind the fact that Cameron and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll share the silvery-white hair look.  The two actually have a lot in common.  Among the most telling is their incredible flexibility.  Over the years Carroll has coached the same way, with energy and positive reinforcement.  Players gravitate to him just like actors do to Cameron.  Both know what they can get out of them almost instantly.

At the same time that doesn’t mean Carroll lacks an ego.  He is extremely competitive, constantly looking for ways to get better.  Perhaps that is why his teams have done so well, not just because of the great talent they find, but the different ways they have won over the years from his dominant days at USC with Reggie Bush and that Trojan offense to the revolutionary Seahawks team he guided to the Super Bowl.  He’s done it all and paid his dues along the way.  Cameron would nod his head with approval.

Quentin Tarantino

Amanda Edwards, USA Today

Mandatory Credit:  Amanda Edwards, USA Today

The much celebrated outlaw of Hollywood.  Quentin Tarantino has always been a guy who marches to the beat of his own drum.  He never does things in a conventional manner from giving himself smalls parts in all his movies to featuring actors most people had either forgotten or never heard of.  There is one problem.  The 51-year old is spectacularly successful at it.  Everything from the non-linear storylines to the excessive violence and unusual subject matter have made him a cult hero among a legion of fans and to heck with his detractors.  Though he has never won an Academy Award for his directorial exploits, he can safely say he’s never done a bad film.

Coaching Counterpart:  Jim Harbaugh – San Francisco 49ers

Mar 26, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Brash, outspoken and somewhat of a renegade have characterized Jim Harbaugh throughout his coaching career.  He and Tarantino share a lot in common from their unlikely rises to power through unconventional means to their ability to elevate or resurrect the careers of people they work with.  Tarantino was hailed for rescuing Jon Travolta, whose once iconic status had slipped by 1994 before they did Pulp Fiction.

Similarly, Harbaugh inherited a destitute young quarterback in Alex Smith when he first took over the San Francisco 49ers.  Most believed the former 1st overall pick was a bust at the pro level and would be replaced.  Instead Harbaugh embraced the challenge and turned the “bust” into the most efficient quarterback in the NFL.  Their first season together resulted in a 13-3 record and a birth in the NFC championship.  He and Tarantino don’t abide by what others think of them.  They do what they feel is right, and it has led to consistent triumph, if not the top award of their profession.

Tags: Jim Harbaugh NFL Pete Carroll San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks