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Rex Ryan: If you want a head coaching job, you've got to conform


Every year at the annual AFCA convention, I'm amazed at the number of assistant coaches in attendance. 98% of those assistants you rub shoulders with in the exhibit hall or during the various sessions of the weekend have the ultimate goal of becoming a head coach one day, and there are only so many of those position available.

At the NFL level, the pinnacle of the coaching profession, there are just 32 coveted head coaching jobs, and at the FBS level there's only 128 or so. You get the point; lots and lots of assistant coaches with only a handful of head coaching jobs by comparison.

That brings me to something that Buffalo Bills head coach, and former Jets head coach, Rex Ryan said today at the annual head coaches meeting, tweeted by Mike Garafolo, that caught our attention. Asked about his brother Rob, the defensive coordinator for the Saints, and his head coaching aspirations, Rex dished it as straight as possible.

"He won't get his hair cut and is keeping that belly." Rex noted about his brother, going on to note that Rob believes that he will eventually be a head coach, and is determined to "do it his way".

"No you're not." Rex added. "It's unfortunate. I'm still trying to get that message across to him."

As much as the 20-year old version of myself wants to disagree and side with Rob here, Rex is right and his words should be noted by every assistant out there with dreams of becoming a head coach, especially the younger guys in the profession.

Whether you're the head coach of a high school, FBS, or NFL franchise, the fact remains that you're the undisputed public face of the program, even more so than the athletic director, or GM or President that ultimately hired you. If you really want to be a head coach, you've got to eliminate all the factors within your control that could take you out of the running.

For Rex Ryan, that may be long hair or permanent stubble, but it could be an endless list of other choices for others that aren't viewed in an acceptable light in the public eye, from the way you wear a hat, to how you interact with complete strangers.

The people that are hiring head coaches want someone that can be the all-around face of their program, so take a long look in the mirror well before your next interview for a head coaching job and ask yourself if you portray that image. The reality is that if you want one of those highly coveted head coaching jobs, chances are you're going to have to conform a bit.