Commentary

The NFL's quiet gurus

These four unknown assistant coaches play pivotal roles in their teams' success

Originally Published: October 8, 2011
By Seth Wickersham | ESPN Insider
Dante ScarnecchiaJerome Davis/Icon SMIDante Scarnecchia's offensive line has played a key role in the Patriots' success.

You can always tell the assistant coaches who want to be head coaches. They're loud, always available to the media to get their names out there. If their bosses don't allow them to speak publicly, they call reporters off the record, releasing snippets of insight in the hopes that it'll pay off someday. Which is fine. That's how the self-promotion game is played.

But not all of the loudest assistants are the best assistants. There is a legion of quiet, unassuming experts who may never be yappy enough to get a crack at running a team but are the types of guys that head coaches need on their staffs. After all, they make headmen look smart. Call them "quiet gurus." Based on an informal poll, here are four of them:

Seth Wickersham | email

ESPN The Magazine senior writer
Seth Wickersham joined ESPN The Magazine after graduating from the University of Missouri. Although he primarily covers the NFL, his assignments also have taken him to the Athens Olympics, the World Series, the NCAA tournament and the NHL and NBA playoffs.