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Old 01-09-2005, 10:36 AM
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Dress of NFL and NBA coaches

Why do all NBA coaches dress in coat and tie for games? Why do their counterparts in the NFL not do this. There was a time in the NFL when the coat and tie were standard attire for coaches. What happened?
Old 01-09-2005, 10:40 AM
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This should have been posted in the General thread. Sorry for the mistake.]
Old 01-09-2005, 10:57 AM
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That wasn't always the case. The most famous cases were Hank Stram, Tom Landry, and Vince Lombardi, but even in the beginning I don't remember seeing Chuck Noll ever wearing a suit, although I wasn't alive in 1969 so I can't be sure.

They are out in the cold so they dress for comfort, which makes a lot of sense to me.

ESPN had something about this recently, BTW.
Old 01-09-2005, 12:28 PM
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As recently as the early 1990s, the NBA Rulebook explicitly said all coaches shall wear a suit and tie. Now, some guys like George Karl have tweaked that rule (if it still is one) with the blazer-over-black-sweater look. And some of the former-player assistant coaches wear some mustard-yellow and maroon "suits" that would not be out of place at a pimps' convention.

I guess part of the rationale is that basketball is indoors, and mostly played in the evenings, so it's a little more formal than an outdoors football game.

However, as noted, NFL coaches used to wear ties and suits. Don Shula is an example of a guy who changed within his career, from wearing a tie to wearing the sportswear that seems to predominate now. I can't think of a single coach now who wears a suit. Ditka used to wear a Bears logo sweater over a tie, IIRC.

Part of this is now tied into the ubiquitous merchandising contracts, of course. The teams/coaches are encouraged/required to wear the team logo shirts/sweaters, etc. to boost their sales.

My 2 cents: I think seeing a middle aged guy in a vinyl windbreaker, with his belly bulging it out as often as not, is tacky, and I'd be happy to see them go back to suits. Won't happen, I'll bet.
Old 01-09-2005, 12:34 PM
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Current NBA Rule:

"(3) Coaches and assistant coaches must wear a sport coat or suit coat. "

Got rid of the tie to accommodate the G. Karl Euro look.
Old 01-09-2005, 12:49 PM
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Well, I think the change in the NFL relates mainly to more relaxed standards of dress in society at large.

Ever see old footage of the 1969 World Series, or the "big shootout" between Texas and Arkansas in 1969? All the men in the CROWD are wearing jackets, ties and hats! Going to a ballgame used to be a Big Deal, something people got dressed up for. It wasn't just the coaches who dressed formally at an NFL game, it was the fans too!

Heck, when I was a kid, my Mom made sure my brothers and I all wore little suits and ties any time we flew on a plane. That too was a Very Big Deal once, something for which everybody dressed up. Today, unless you're a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you almost never dress formally to fly.

By the mid Seventies, people were dressing casually most places. A handful of old-time coaches who'd gotten used to dressing formally (Tom Landry, for instance) kept doing so, as did some of their proteges (Mike Ditka and Dan Reeves were Landry disciples, and both wore suits on the sidelines for quite a while). But most coaches decided to be comfortable, just as the fans did.

A few years before his death, I recall hearing Tom Landry saying that, when he was first coaching (as a defensive coordinator for the NY Giants), he got paid so little that he had to work for an insurance company during the week. He wore his best threads on the sidelines because he wanted to look like a professional, and not embarrass his firm, who weren't altogether sold on the idea of having a football coach as a junior executive.

As for his famous fedora? That was a purely practical matter, Landry said. Landry was bald, and it's COLD in Yankee Stadium in December! He was just trying to keep his bald head warm, and chose a hat that went with his formal duds.
Old 01-09-2005, 05:37 PM
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Moderator's Note: Punting thread over to General Questions.
Old 01-09-2005, 09:45 PM
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I think that all sports should emulate baseball, and the coaches should all wear the same uniforms as the players.
Old 01-09-2005, 10:05 PM
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In the NBA, the PLAYERS are generally expected to wear suits when they show up in the dressing room.

I am reminded of when Charles Oakley played for the Toronto Raptors. Oakley was famous for dressing extremely well, and expected his teammates to do the same. One day, when rookie Morris Peterson showed up for a game in slacker clothing, Oakley berated him for looking unprofessional and strongly implied that if Peterson didn't show up in a suit for the next game he'd get his ass kicked.

Peterson went out the next day to the best clothing store he could find and purchased several Armani suits. At the next home game, he showed up proudly decked out in a $5,000 suit. Upon seeing him, Oakley again starting yelling at him about how badly he was dressed.

"But," said Peterson, "I'm wearing a suit! An Armani suit! It's tailored! I paid five thousand for it!"

"Yeah," yelled Oakley, "but it's BEIGE!! In NOVEMBER!!"
Old 01-09-2005, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by astorian
Well, I think the change in the NFL relates mainly to more relaxed standards of dress in society at large.
Actually, it has to do with endorsement contracts. Coaches for all NFL teams -- head coach and assistants -- wear officially licensed apparel. Some wear polo shirts with slacks, some wears sweatshirts, some wear parkas... but all of the coaches on a given team wear branded clothing, not street clothes, and they are compensated for doing so.
Old 01-10-2005, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
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And there was the trademark hat. Halas, Lombardi, Landry, Bryant, et. al., always wore the hat. In fact, there was a time when a man didn't go out in public without one. I suppose longer hair styles ended that. What a shame!
Old 01-10-2005, 08:14 PM
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I saw something about this on TV (it might have been the ESPN segment Airman Doors mentioned). NFL coaches must wear either a shirt and tie or officially licensed apparel. Most of them, of course, opt for the licensed apparel.

At the beginning of the season the coaches are presented with that year's designs. They pick some shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. for the staff to wear. You will occasionally see a large number of team coaching staffs wearing the same article of clothing (say, a mock turtleneck) because the NFL will send out a memo saying that they want to push that particular piece of clothing that week so the coaches should wear it as advertising.

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