The Coaching Affect/Effect


This year’s football coaching merry-go-round has been quite interesting. From college to the pros, vacancies have been opened and closed faster than a cheap motel.

NFL Coaches Go ‘Round on the Coaching-Go-Round
Here’s a quick glance at what coaches have either been asked to leave, made to leave, or left on their own.

First, the New York Football Giants coach Tom Coughlin has resigned. Nothing like leaving on your own

Coach Mike Pettine was fired by the Browns and rookie head coach Jim Tomsula was fired after a bad season in San Francisco. I feel for these two guys. One had his fate in the hands of Johnny “Drunken” Football, and other could never find that beginner’s luck.

Dan Campbell, the former tight end-turned-interim coach will get an interview with the Dolphins even though he’s not considered to be a legitimate contender for the job, but after drumming the Patriots, he’s making people think again.

Jim Caldwell with the Lions is either getting ready for an awesome come back or is polishing up that resume of his.

Sean Payton is open to leave the Saints should the right opening make itself known, and the Saints are willing to bid the coach bon voyage if the offer is good enough.

Chuck Pagano has saved his job and even won a four-year extension from the Colts.

Coaches Gus Bradley for the Jaguars and Jeff Fisher for the St. Louis (or LA) Rams have held on to their jobs, no thanks to a less than stellar recent turn of events.

Even Crazy Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley were guaranteed their spots in Buffalo.

Experts and commentators (notice these are two separate beings) have commented on various reasons why the coaching changes have occurred, and some of them are accurate.

But other than the facts and politics that play in the hiring and firing of (overpaid) coaches, one good ol’ quality is overlooked: The impact the coach has on himself and his job.

The English Nerd Speaks
Since I’m not a professional expert or hired commentator, I’ll use my own special skills I’ve honed to make my own little comments—grammar.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 1.15.49 PMOne of my favorite Twitter peeps to follow is Grammar YUNiversity . They post useful information to help better communication as well as poke fun of the ambiguity of language. In doing this, they (try to) help the masses understand the oddities missed (or ignored) in high school English class.

As an English teacher myself, I (quite, quite very) often come across the “affect/effect” mistake. Students ask me all the time what’s the difference between the two. That’s not true. They just say they don’t understand the difference, I offer to explain it, they go crossed-eyed and zone out. But, if they were to ask, here’s the simple explanation:

Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun.

If one affects something, there’s a direct action that alter’s the course. When something happens to an object and it is changed from its course, the new path is the effect of the alteration.

See? Such an easy definition? How could anyone possibly not understand that? (Sarcasm)

So here’s a diagram I stole from Grammar YUNiversity:

You get on my nerves and we’re by a pool? I affect you.
I was rude and pushed you in the pool? That’s the effect.

The Grammar of Keeping your Job
After looking at the job market in the NFL, I can’t help but notice that most (minus Bradley and Fisher) did something to affect their position.

Coughlin left on his own accord. That was his decision (even though I wonder how much of a push from inside the front office was offered).

Pettine and Tomsula didn’t offer much, so leadership clearly wanted to affect their influence on their team.

Sean Payton has a history of winning. Other people want to pay him more money, give him new opportunities. His actions have affected the brainstorming of others.

Even Dan Campbell has affected his stock twice over. First, he’s been a quality interim coach, and winning against the Patriots. He’s a double punch leader.

Those coaching waters are dangerous. There has to be a certain type of person who just enjoys the ups and downs of that life. Maybe that’s where I’m different. Maybe I’m too passive. I’m more of “the effect.” They’re more into “affecting” the league. I guess they like to muddy the waters.

I could do that for a couple of million.

Of course, I could also push them in the water for free, too.


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