By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Confession time, America: I like beer. I also like football.
Occasionally, the two make a good mix. I don’t think I’m the only person who holds that belief, as evidenced by the various empty cans and bottles as well as the stray puddle or two I often find in the abandoned parking lots at Gillette Stadium hours after games have concluded.
And so, with my NFL pick-making prowess taking a sabbatical this past month, I decided that nobody wants to hear what I have to say about this weekend’s games. Instead, I’ll talk about something about which I know a bit more: having a few pops while talking about football.
Specifically, I decided to look around the league at the 32 head coaches and develop a power rankings of which coach with whom I’d most like to share an adult beverage or two. The rankings are, quite obviously, subjective. But they’re also unequivocally right.
32. Jim Caldwell, Detroit
“Jim, did you miss the punchline of that hilarious joke I just told? Jim? JIM! Are you even awake, dude? Are you here? Whatever, I’m going home, you stink.”
31. Pete Carroll, Seattle
“Pete. Pete. PETER! Could you stop talking for like, just one hot second? You’re giving me a migraine.”
30. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis
This is a guy who might just mean-mug you the entire time. It just doesn’t sound like a fun time. Run a Google search for “Jeff Fisher smiling” and this is as close as you can get. Spending time with Jeff sounds like a real hoot. He may just sit there and list every single one of Rodney Harrison’s personal foul penalties, accentuating each one with a startling punch of the table. Hard pass.
29. Mike McCoy, San Diego
28. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati
27. Andy Reid, Kansas City
26. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
25. Todd Bowles, New York Jets
24. Mike Mularkey, Tennesse
23. Dan Quinn, Atlanta
22. John Fox, Chicago
21. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
20. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville
They may be fine people, but I would have, quite literally, nothing to talk about with these men.
“Nice weather out there today, eh? … Yep … *slurp beer* *check phone*”
19. John Harbaugh, Baltimore
He’s definitely a bit of a hard-ass, but I think after a couple of brews he might let loose. I’m admittedly biased, because this is a man who once told me I was a great writer (without ever having read anything I’ve ever written or even known who I am), so clearly there’s a special connection going on between me and John.
I also think it could be a mutually beneficial meeting, as I could tell him that when the referee announces “Do not cover number 34” to the entire building, that his players should go ahead and not cover No. 34. Profound knowledge such as that can help prevent disasters like DeflateGate ruining everyone’s year.
Plus, I have some questions about brother Jim that need to be answered.
18. Jason Garrett, Dallas
I don’t actually want to hang out with this guy, but I need to get to the bottom of this. Is he a real human, capable of real human emotion, or is he merely a cyborg created by Jerry Jones to carry out the owner’s wishes? I feel like it’s the former but I wouldn’t stake my life to it.
Plus, imagine the stories about JARRY this guy could tell. My goodness.
17. Gary Kubiak, Denver
I originally had Kubiak lower, until I recalled what he looked like during his playing days. Rule number one: If you have ever had a bitching mullet, you’re all right with me.
16. Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay
“Lovie, pleasure to meet you, thanks for taking the time, I got you a beer, have a seat. Anyway enough small talk: Let’s chat about Super Bowl XXXVI!”
15. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia
Doesn’t seem like he has much to offer in the way of having a good conversation about life, but honestly I’d like to get him talking about that offense, just to see how much I could comprehend.
14. Sean Payton, New Orleans
Payton strikes me as an affable but no-nonsense kind of guy. He seems like he’d be fine to chill out and sip some cheap beer in a dusty bar without speaking while a blues guitarist plays off to the side for a few hours. I’d be fine with that.
13. Bill O’Brien, Houston
This is a guy with whom I could exchange F bombs with for an eternity. This man is a professional swearer. I could learn so much from his ways. He’d be something of a Four-Letter Sensei.
Plus, we’d need to talk about the time he had the gusto to basically challenge Tom Brady to a fistfight on the sideline during a game. I’m not sure there are many coaches willing to go there.
12. Mike Pettine, Cleveland
I don’t know. Just looks like a guy who can put down a pound of beef jerky and at least provide protection against any would-be attackers at the bar. You think anybody’s going to mess with that guy?
11. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh
Same as Pettine.
10. Ron Rivera, Carolina
What’s really going on behind those shades, Ronny? I gotta know. Let’s party.
9. Rex Ryan, Buffalo
This one kills me, because six years ago, Rex is hands-down the No. 1 pick. Without a doubt. The “Let’s Go To Eat A GD Snack!” Rex Ryan was one of the greatest personalities in coaching history. I loved that guy.
But honestly, I think a combination of getting worn down by the New York media and losing all that weight changed Rex. I’m sure he’s smarter and healthier and it’s good for his life, but Rex is barely even in my top 10.
Now, if this is a twin billing double feature with Rex and Rob, then we’ll have to reevaluate.
8. Jay Gruden, Washington
“Hilarious! OK, OK, do another impression of your brother saying something stupid, please! Ha! Yes! OK, keep doing impressions of your brother. Matter of fact, why don’t you just play the role of Jon for the rest of the night? Thank you!”
7. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
I just need to see what he does with the beer in front of him. There’s a zero percent chance he drinks it. Zero. He might chastise me for drinking “poison” and tell me about its ill effects on my health. I just need that military dad experience one time.
I’d show up late, too, just to get the full Coughlin experience.
6. Bruce Arians, Arizona
I’m going to be honest: It’s all about that Kangol. You want to make people think you’re cool? Wear a Kangol. It’s basic science. It worked on me.
I bet Bruce is great at shooting pool. Together, I think we could steal some suckers’ money.
5. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis
Chuck seems like an eminently decent man, but what puts him so high on the list for me is his postgame locker room speech performance. This season, he has made a narrow win over the Titans and a comeback win over the Falcons seem like the climactic moments in the greatest sports stories ever told. It was like “Rudy” combined with “Rocky” combined with “Miracle” combined with “Hoosiers” combined with “The Natural,” all multiplied by “The Karate Kid.”
I have a feeling that by the end of our night, Chuck would have me convinced that the time I spent slugging dollar drafts at a shady dive bar was the greatest night of my life.
4. Jack Del Rio, Oakland
Any coach whose player suffers an injury while wielding an ax in a locker room is a guy I pretty much have to hang out with. Really not even an option.
3. Dan Campbell, Miami
This would be a one-time only event, because I don’t think I have what it takes to hang with Dan Campbell on a regular basis. I just envision us cracking open beers with our teeth, and chasing each beer with five Red Bulls and a headbutt against the wall. We’d be running Oklahoma drills with strangers inside the bar before midnight, and I might end up in a hospital by 2 a.m., but I honestly would have a grand time.
2. Bill Belichick, New England
If you don’t want to sit down with Bill Belichick for several hours over beers, you’re nuts. The man has endless stories to tell, and getting his unbridled, off-the-record opinions about past players and football history would be mind-boggling. You’d come away so much smarter, but also feeling like an idiot.
1. Jim Tomsula, San Francisco
To be honest, this was really no contest. Here are some conditions that make you an automatic friend of mine:
1. Has mustache
2. Loves steak (look at him; he obviously loves steak)
3. Farts during press conferences
4. Is a straight-up dude
Boom, boom, boom and boom. Tomsula is the clear-cut choice at No. 1, both because it would be a fun time in and of itself, and because it would be the start of a long and glorious friendship.
“Want to go get a big steak and a hundred beers, friend Jim?”
“Sure do, friend Mike.”
So there you have it. If anyone wants to arrange these meetings, let me know. And here are the rapid-fire picks for Week 14.
Minnesota (+8) over ARIZONA
CHICAGO (-3.5) over Washington
Pittsburgh (+3) over CINCINNATI
San Francisco (-1.5) over CLEVELAND
KANSAS CITY (-10) over San Diego
Detroit (+1) over ST. LOUIS
Tennessee (+7) over NEW YORK JETS
PHILADELPHIA (+1.5) over Buffalo
TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over New Orleans
Atlanta (+7.5) over CAROLINA
JACKSONVILLE (Pick ’em) over Indianapolis
Seattle (-6) over BALTIMORE
Oakland (+7.5) over DENVER
Dallas (+7.5) over GREEN BAY
New England (-3) over HOUSTON
New York Giants (-1.5) over MIAMI