By John Rohlf
For many years, 40 hours has been the staple of the length of a normal work week. Working over 40 hours can be appealing for some people because of the extra pay they can possibly receive. However, it has been well documented that this can also lead to health risks.
This is why, as recent events in the National Football League have shown, football coaches working for extended periods of time needs to be addressed.
Over the first weekend in November, two NFL teams were left without their head coaches. On November 2, it was announced that the Broncos coach, John Fox, had been sent to the hospital after feeling light-headed while playing golf during Denver’s bye-week. He underwent successful heart-valve surgery a few days later. One day later, on Sunday Night Football, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed while heading to the locker room during halftime. He was rushed to the hospital where it was later determined that he had suffered from a mini-stroke. He would visit the Texans at practice later in the week.
Although both coaches have seemingly ended up alright health-wise, this does not mean that the work week for NFL coaches doesn’t need to be addressed. These coaches must laugh hysterically at the thought of a 40-hour work week. With all that is demanded of coaches during the regular season, it would not be surprising to hear they work double or even triple the normal 40 hours.
There is no reason that any person should have to put in this much work in a given week. Let’s go on the low side and say they work 80 hours a week. If they take no days off and work for seven days, that’s still nearly 11.5 hours a day. The fact that they are even allowed to put this much time in each week is ridiculous.
One of the problems is there’s not really a way to force the coaches to stop working so much. One way to decrease these chances would be to lock the facilities and ban the coaches from being there for a 12-hour period every day. This would not solve the problem, as they could still watch film at home. However, forcing them to leave the facility and go home decreases the chances that they will work as long. If they are home and they have a family there, they would be less inclined to work.
Another thing the NFL should consider is allowing coaches to hire more people on their staff just to watch film. This would allow them to delegate some of their responsibilities to other coaches without overburdening them.
Although one cannot directly relate these incidents to the length of their work week, it is clear something needs to be done by the NFL to help reduce some of the stresses brought on by being an NFL coach.