Comedy writer and actor Larry David made a bold claim a few weeks ago. The “Seinfeld” writer and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star believes he could be a successful NFL coach.
“I’m positive I could be an offensive coordinator,” David told The Dan Patrick Show. “All I have to do is — I think if I just studied, if I just hung around and just learned a little bit. Give me one season shadowing an offensive coordinator and I know I could do it.”
David’s confidence aside, it’s hard to see him as the next Chan Gailey, but he got me thinking: Which celebrities would be the best fits on an NFL coaching staff?
From head coach to special teams coordinator, I filled out an entire staff made up of the ideal stars of stage and screen (excluding former NFL players) to handle each role. I had some fun along the way, too.
General manager – Kevin Costner
Every strong organization starts at the top, and there’s no celebrity I’d want running the day-to-day operations more than Costner.
If you’ve seen the movie “Draft Day,” then you already know Costner has played the role of a GM. He added a major flair for the dramatic while playing Sonny Weaver Jr., faux GM of the Cleveland Browns. He traded three first-round picks to Seattle to move up from No. 7 in the first round of the draft to No. 1 to make a splash and presumptively take the potential franchise quarterback prospect, Bo Callahan.
Well, Costner had other plans. He took a linebacker he could’ve gotten at No. 7, before shipping three second-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars (and brilliantly taking advantage of a “kid GM”) for the No. 6 overall pick.
So, you see where this is going. Costner trades one spot ahead of the Seahawks, who thought they would get their star QB six spots later. But in comes Costner to save the day (and his job), as he forces Seattle into trading back all of the first-round picks he had sent to them hours earlier to swap picks. Costner takes a local running back (played by Arian Foster) at No. 7 overall and the Browns are supposedly on their way to a Super Bowl.
Find me another celebrity who can do that.
Head coach – Denzel Washington
The movie “Remember the Titans” speaks for itself. Washington is a proven leader, regardless the movie role. Whether it’s leading a football team to a perfect season amidst racial tensions or talking John Travolta out of blowing up a subway train in a mediocre remake, Washington is cool under pressure. He’s a guy who would have no problem calling an onside kick to open the second half.
Washington has the bravado of Bruce Arians, the intensity of Mike Tomlin and the tactical prowess of Bill Belichick. He’s the perfect head coach for this team.
Offensive coordinator – Kanye West
If all else is equal, I’ll take Yeezy because of his creativity. There aren’t many artists with the imaginative chops Kanye possesses. While we might have to reel him in when he attempts to put offensive lineman out wide and sticks receivers inside to block, I’ll take a guy who is a self-proclaimed creative genius.
Hey, Chip Kelly probably feels the same way about himself. Look how that’s worked out!
Defensive coordinator – Liam Neeson
There were many worthy celebrities considered for this job, but my defense needs an attacking style that causes plenty of havoc with multiple blitz packages.
If you’re looking for someone who will attack, wouldn’t you want the guy who has single-handedly taken out armies of people trying to kidnap his family? Neeson is the baddest of bad, and I’d be surprised if our defense concedes more than 20 points a game with him manning the sidelines.
Worst-case scenario, Neeson can probably give the group a good motivational speech at halftime.
Special teams coordinator – Nicolas Cage
When I said I had some fun with this, I primarily meant picking Cage as my special teams coordinator. I originally had him at offensive coordinator, but that’s way too much responsibility for a person as unstable as Cage.
That’s why special teams is perfect. Cage would employ frantic coverage teams that would light up opponents upon impact. Our return teams would feature reverses, even on punts. There’s no such thing as a fair catch when Nic Cage is calling the shots.
Surely, Cage could cultivate a better return wrinkle than this.
We likely wouldn’t punt with Cage either, but rather run plays out of punt formations. Plus, who can command a room better than Cage?
Cage brings intensity and occasional insanity to this staff, but that’s why Denzel is there as the calming presence.
Quarterbacks coach – Sam Jones
This might be a bit of an older reference. Jones is most known for playing “Flash Gordon” in the 1980 sci-fi action film.
But before saving earth from Emperor Ming, Flash Gordon was actually a star quarterback for the New York Jets.
Naturally, the only good quarterback the Jets have had since Joe Namath.
We don’t have any stats, but we know Jones/Gordon could throw the pigskin. He will be a proper mentor for the young quarterback the Jets … I mean we … plan on reaching for in the second round of the draft.
Running backs coach – Burt Reynolds
Reynolds brings an old-school flair to our coaching staff. He actually played running back for Florida State and was teammates with renowned college football analyst Lee Corso.
His football career was eventually ended by injury, but “The Longest Yard” star brings a different type of attitude to this staff.
Wide receivers coach – Snoop Dogg
Here me out here. Snoop Dogg is a huge football guy. He runs a youth football league in Southern California and is actually a certified football coach.
We might have a problem with frequent violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, but aside from that, Snoop is a perfect fit. Our receivers certainly wouldn’t drop the ball like it’s hot.
Snoop’s son, Cordell Broadus, was a highly-touted high school receiver before leaving the sport to pursue other passions.
Offensive line coach – John Goodman
Since none of these people have actual coaching experience, it’s important to find staffers who have at least played football. Goodman played offensive line at Missouri State before his acting career took off.
Plus, we need someone to lighten the mood on occasion. Goodman would be the true definition of a player’s coach, much like Rex Ryan.
Defensive line coach – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Before he became an actor and, before that, a WWE superstar, The Rock was a defensive end at the University of Miami and was actually a member of the Hurricanes’ 1991 national championship. Johnson had four sacks in his career.
He has the playing experience to be a reputable teacher. He would also serve as our strength and conditioning coach. Let’s face it, the dude is ripped.
Linebackers coach – Phil McGraw
You might be wondering who Phil McGraw is. He’s Dr. Phil. Now, why is Dr. Phil on my coaching staff? Because believe it or not, Dr. Phil played middle linebacker for Tulsa University. Fun fact: Dr. Phil was on the 1968 Tulsa team that lost 100-6 to Houston.
We need more soothing personalities on this staff, and Dr. Phil is the perfect guy to coddle a struggling player and rebuild confidence after Nic Cage brings everyone down. He might not have been much of a linebacker, but we’ll look past that.
If you think Dr. Phil is potentially too serene for the locker room, then check out this video. Good ole McGraw can still flip the switch and go back to his days patrolling the Golden Hurricanes defense in an instant.
Defensive backs coach – Chuck Norris
You could argue I’ve saved the best for last. My only rationale is this: Why wouldn’t you want Chuck Norris on your staff?
Who would you put on your celebrity staff? Send me your suggestions on Twitter, @RealMattBarbato.