What Super Bowl Head Coaches Can Learn from Classic Games

 

Despite Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski making it look surprisingly easy to win the Super Bowl, it remains one of the trickiest prizes to win in world sport. Very few NFL head coaches ever manage to get hold of a Super Bowl ring and those unfortunate souls would do anything to make it happen.

With that in mind, it may be time for some of them to start playing classic games like chess, poker, and backgammon, all of which require players to think deeply about their strategical approaches. Who knows, a few online head-to-heads at the card tables or board games could give those toiling coaches the inspiration they need to take their charges to the next level.

Here are how NFL and Super Bowl head coaches can benefit from engaging in classic games.

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The Super Bowl is one of the toughest prizes in sports to win, so coaches try to make incremental gains however and whenever they can, just like keen gamers

Trick Plays Are All About Knowing How to Bluff

Trick plays can be a great way of turning a game on its head, but they should be used with care, because if it is obvious they are coming, then a hawkish opposition coach can make them look silly and ill-prepared.

Any player of a classic game where bluffing is involved knows this all too well, with the same trick rarely working more than once during a game or tournament. Successfully pulling off a multi-stage trick play is something poker players in-particular are experts at, often setting up an unsuspecting opponent for hours, before finally delivering a killer bluff that takes everyone at the table by surprise.

When it comes to one-off showcase games like the Super Bowl, it is never a good idea for a coach to recycle a trick play or bluff that they used earlier in the playoffs or regular season. This is because, just like eagle-eyed chess grand masters or poker pros, top NFL coaches study past plays and moves that offensive coordinators make.

For this reason, it always pays off for a head coach to have a fresh trick play up their sleeve on the eve of the Super Bowl, as long as video of it is not leaked to the press in the build-up to game day.

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Chess is the ultimate strategy game, which can certainly teach NFL head coaches a thing or two when games become intense

Thinking Ahead Pays Dividends in the 4th Quarter

Being able to pre-guess your opponent, whether on the football field or during a hard-fought classic game, is one of the most precious abilities that any player or head coach can have. Unfortunately, the only way to hone this skill is via a combination of studious research and experience, with the latter obviously only being developed as a coach’s career progresses.

Chess and backgammon players are well aware of such necessities because those of them who can find patterns and habits that their opponents exhibit, go on to wear their foes down as a game or encounter nears its end.

This was very much in evidence at the 2021 Super Bowl, as the Bucs always seemed a few steps ahead of Mahomes and the Chiefs. Maybe Andy Reid should get his online backgammon board or playing cards out on his phone or laptop and start thinking a few more plays ahead.

Adding to Your Play Book All the Time

While playing classic games online will always enable NFL head coaches to think more strategically, what they can also do is improve mindsets around personal development and a willingness to get better. This is because any gamer who rests on their laurels quickly gets left behind, due to there always being other players who are willing to put in the hard graft to usurp their peers.

With American Football, and the way it is played, constantly morphing, head coaches would be wise to do as top poker pros and chess grand masters do, and make sure their knowledge of the game is as flawless as possible.