Why Coaches are Evil
I'm a coach. I don't think anyone would ever call me a genius, or even an evil genius, but perhaps the latter is more of a compliment than an insult. Ross Lyons, amongst others, was called exactly this in an article in the lead up to the AFL Grand Final last week.
The basis for Lyon's 'evil-ness' is that his teams play a game style that is different to that played 20 years ago. Perhaps that's a bit unfair, its more that they play in a different way to teams from 20 years ago, and that that way is not open and free flowing.
Let's be ver clear here, it is NOT the responsibility of the coach to play a style style that is popular with media or fans. The coach's responsibility is to win. The coach gets paid to win. The rules of the game are the framework within which the game-style must exist. Whatever the tools he has, along with the rules of the game, define the style of play he uses.
Great coaches assess the demands of the game, the rules of the game and the players at his disposal, then devise a style/system of play which he believes can win. Good coaches look at what other teams are doing, look at the players at their disposal, and devise a style/system of play which he believes can be competitive. Neither type of coach looks at the game as a whole and devises a system of play which he believes fans will find most enjoyable.
The sport - in this case the AFL - has the responsibility to look after the game as a whole. From this perspective, the end of the article hits the nail on the head. If you want to view a style of play which resembles that of 20 years ago, then you need to change the rules of the game to affect this. I don't agree with the rule change recommended, but at least it doesn't rely on coaches' good nature to affect change.