What do N.F.L. players really think about the coaches for whom they play and the franchises for which they work?
Outside of sound bites and manicured postgame comments, the collective thoughts of players about coaches and teams have remained a mystery. Until now.
Last season, the N.F.L. players union commissioned the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania to conduct an unprecedented survey of players. It was the first time players had been asked about issues related to their coaches. The survey asked players to name names, and the players overwhelmingly obliged.
Asked which active N.F.L. coaches they would most like to play for, the players picked Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts) followed by Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears) and Bill Belichick (New England Patriots). Herman Edwards (Kansas City Chiefs) was fourth and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers) fifth.