I was inspired to share this after seeing the well researched thread by Mr. Scot on promoting coordinators. The whole thing is worth a read but I just took some of my favorite excerpts out of it.
The article does an excellent job in helping understand why Rivera was a great coordinator but no so much as a head coach.
"Have you ever heard of “The Peter Principle?” The Peter Principle is the idea that in a company or organization where promotions are based upon success or achievement, a person will eventually be promoted beyond his or her skill level. Put another way, a person will be promoted to his/her level of incompetence. Under the Peter Principle, people are promoted because of what they’ve done in their current position and not based on how they’ll perform in their new position after promotion. This idea is something that isn’t exactly earth-shattering yet it still seems to happen over and over again in companies all over the world — the NFL included."
"Tony Dungy said in his book, “The higher up the coaching ladder you go, the further you get from actual coaching.” He said that as a head coach he missed the individual attention and coaching he could give to his players because he was involved in so many other duties. A head coach, to me, is like the General of an army. His job is to plan and direct. He’s not in the muck and filth of war. Instead, he’s sort of a figurehead who has seen it and done it all and leads from the front because of that. He’s skilled in combat tactics and military philosophies. He sees the game from a different perspective than everyone else and has to be the leader, the directive force within the group. Some head coaches will call plays, and again, that adds another level of duties to his already stacked pile. It also requires that he has the additional skills to be a competent playcaller."
" Yet teams continuously hire coordinators based on their merit as being a coordinator, not being a head coach. Look at all the examples of brilliant coordinators who have failed as head coaches: Norv Turner, Scott Linehan, Steve Spagnuolo, Mike Martz, et al. Yet hires like these keep being made. Why? Because that’s how it’s always been done. A coach gets promoted from position coach to coordinator. He performs well there and is promoted to be a head coach where he then fails because he doesn’t possess the skills to be a successful head coach. He was promoted to his level of incompetence. The Peter Principle."
"When looking for a head coach, I want a leader first. He has to be someone that is respected by coaches and players and leads from the front. A high football IQ is important, but not just in game planning, but in game managing. All the tough decisions rest on the shoulders of the head coach so he has to be able to process information intuitively and correctly and then communicate directions concisely."