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Wait, NFL Coaches Make How Much?

Sarah Midkiff

There’s a lot of money to be made in professional sports, especially the more widely televised leagues like the NFL. We hear about these crazy, multi-million dollar contracts to sign players to teams, but what about the coaches? 

It probably comes as no surprise that the salary for football coaches can vary quite a bit. Even among the top five highest-paid coaches in the sport, like the players, their earnings different by millions of dollars. Pay increases are typically awarded for having a good win-loss record, getting their team to the playoffs, or getting to the Super Bowl.

2019’s highest-paid coach in the NFL was Bill Belichick, who coaches the New England Patriots. He is paid $12.5 million per year and while that seems like a huge number, the reason Belichick makes the big bucks is that during his time as a coach, the Patriots have rarely missed the playoffs and have won the Super Bowl six times. Since hiring Belichick, the value of the team’s franchise has gone from $460 million to $4.1 billion. 

Other top-paid coaches include Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who makes $11 million a year, according to Yahoo! Sports. The Seahawks are another team that has historically played well and made it to a number of Super Bowls since Carroll became coach in 2010. Jon Gruden coaches the Oakland Raiders and reportedly signed a 10-year, $100 million deal.

But what about the average coach or a new coach? It’s hard to get an adequate read on a job based on its highest-paid representatives. It has changed a lot in recent decades. In the late 1980s, a coach who led their team to the Super Bowl earned about $295,000. Now, the average coach makes about $6 million, according to Forbes. Assistant coaches make much less, though still nothing to scoff at. The average assistant coach in the NFL makes around $400,000 per season. This is a huge increase even from a few years ago, according to ESPN. Only three years ago, the average salary for an assistant coach was around $150,000-175,000.

It’s unclear what gender biases are present in how NFL coaches get paid because, at present, there are only two women coaching teams. The San Francisco 49ers, who are on their way to the Super Bowl this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, are assistant coached by Katie Sowers. Before Sowers, Jen Welter made history in 2015 as the first female coach in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.

For Super Bowl LIV, neither coach is among the highest-earning coaches in the league, but whoever comes out on top will surely be rewarded.

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