Mike Vrabel won another Coach of the Year award on Thursday night, but the Tennessee Titans head coach didn’t win that award because he is a mastermind or a guru.
While coaches like Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Andy Reid, and others have built a reputation as guys who put their players in great positions, Vrabel’s best quality is that he relates to players on a deeper level.
It goes without saying that NFL players innately respond better to guys who have been in their shoes than someone who hasn’t gone through the day-to-day grind of being a professional football player. That is where Mike Vrabel shines because he famously talks about how he can look at everyone in a locker room and say “I have been right where you are” to nearly anyone on the roster.
These are all things that most Tennessee Titans fans have known for around two years now, but as the Titans win more and more games, the reputation is starting to spread.
Sure, most players might know that Mike Vrabel played but they didn’t have any personal experience or exposure to him. Well in the last week Vrabel coached at the Pro Bowl in front of some of the best players in the NFL and he was named Coach of the Year.
Why that matters for the Tennessee Titans
Don’t mistake this for a cry for more attention from the national media, that isn’t the point here. The point is that the Tennessee Titans aren’t the same team that they were five years ago. Now they are:
-A winning organization (one of only two teams with six straight winning seasons)
-The home of superstars like A.J. Brown, Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons, Kevin Byard, and Julio Jones.
-A team with a cool coach that even Patrick Mahomes said he would want to play for
Equally as important, they still have the benefit of athletes not paying a state income tax. That means that a player that makes $10 million in Tennessee would have to sign a deal worth $12 million in California to take home the same paycheck.
There have been a lot of questions raised about whether this helps in “recruiting” and it absolutely will. The Titans are no longer one of the teams that can solely convince free agents to come to Nashville by paying more than anyone else. Now their resume and reputation speak for themselves and Vrabel is a big part of that.
We have seen the Titans pull in some big-name free agents on defense, and this season we may have to see just how good Mike Vrabel can be at recruiting offensive players because there are probably big changes coming on that side of the ball.