1) Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator, Oakland Raiders

Brian Bahr, Getty Images/si.com

Hey, nerd. Yeah, you. How about you quit nerding up this site, nerd? Yeah, I bet you don’t look as tough as Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Why should you even try to? I cannot believe a high-level NFL assistant looks like this, and it is a pure, wonderful form of disbelief. I look at this gentleman and I see a cool dude who can do it all. And he does it all on a fucking motorcycle. Plus, the Raiders’ defense was actually good last year, even as the team overall went in the tank. They took a big step back this year, but if you think that concerns this wildman, you’ll get taught your damn lesson real quick. Observe:

“Obviously, we’re not fired up about the way things have come, but our players are playing hard, and we’ve still got great players,” Ryan said. “Did we think we’d be where we are statistically? No, or as a team. We thought we’d be in a hell of a lot better shape than we are, but that’s life in the big city.”

Rock on, bro. Oh, and speculation that the Raiders might fire him due to the team’s defensive problems? That’s for losers, man. What are you? Some kind of loser?

“I’d be out of a job for two minutes. I mean, who are we kidding?” he said. “I’m not worried about it. I love the Raiders, if that happens, so be it. I’d be out of a job for two minutes.”

Fuckin’ A, man. Fuckin’ A.

2) Howard Schnellenberger, head coach, Florida Atlantic


What this really is is a merging of two of my favorite types of coaching personalities – those who excel at building programs, and those who are not opposed to wearing a full suit on the sidelines. His name is also excellent.

Anyway, he was the subject of a good article by Pat Forde that detailed how exactly Schnellenberger wound up at Florida Atlantic in the first place. (Forde also wrote a fantastic ripping of Bobby Petrino right after he took the Arkansas job. It was recently singled out for its excellence by Bill Simmons, if such things are important to you. Also check out the video on the link; he gets pretty fired up. I just watched it again – phenomenal.) There have been a lot of twists and turns that have led him there from more high-profile positions, but he seems happy with where he is, and why not? He started there before the program even existed, started raising funds and doing grunt work-type things to get the team on the field, appointed himself as head coach, and has just kept on going. He led the charge for a new stadium for FAU, which looks like it will open within the next few years. Most importantly, the on-field product has steadily improved, first from inception to a good D-1AA FCS team, and now to a bowl-worthy (and bowl-winning) mid-major 1-A FBS team.

Now, I can’t say I’m sure how much he has to do with the gameday on-field stuff anymore, since he goes without the headset (though he always has), but from what I’ve seen it seems like he tries to keep his hand in that – and without his connections throughout the game, he wouldn’t have been able to hire a staff. He has done a truly outstanding job making something from nothing, and the product should only continue to improve. For me to include someone in the same category as Rob Ryan, I had better love them. Howard has more than earned such prestige. There may be hotter job candidates, more up-and-coming personalities than these guys, but no one entertains me more – and if Schnellenberger still carried a pipe around with him (he doesn’t smoke anymore), he might even surpass Ryan.

Happy new year.