NFL coaches and Fortune 50 CEOs go head-to-head

01 February 2019 2 min. read
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Which job is harder: a CEO or an NFL coach? Korn Ferry asked a bevy of professionals which high-pressure, high-stakes position they'd rather take – and the results may surprise you. 

It’s a hard-knock life for an NFL coach, but the gig is no match for the cutthroat corporate world, according to a survey conducted ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl by global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry.

Of the survey’s more than 1,000 business professional respondents, 64% said a Fortune 50 CEO had a “more difficult” job than an NFL coach, but given the choice between occupations, 71% said they’d rather be a CEO.

The survey also examined the on- and off-field leadership of the two competing teams: the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. Most respondents (58%) believe Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would make the better CEO, while 56% would prefer Rams coach Sean McVay as a boss. Additionally, McVay is a better motivator and more optimistic, the respondents said.

NFL coaches and Fortune 50 CEOs go head-to-head

Patriots superstar quarterback Tom Brady would make a better CEO than Rams quarterback Jared Goff, said an overwhelming 84% of professionals, who also believed that Brady is the better team player and will be the better performer the upcoming game, which last year was watched by 103.4 million people. Like most people in the United States, survey respondents were hesitant to name a job Tom Brady could not do.

It's certainly not all football, all the time, at Korn Ferry, but leadership certainly remains a focus. The firm in early January hired former EY partner Kim Crowley as a senior client partner and global account leader in the life sciences market at its Boston office. In November, the firm appointed Alina Polonskaia as its diversity and inclusion leader,  a position responsible for “designing structures, practices, roles, and responsibilities that facilitate structural and behavioral inclusion.” Several studies have found a correlation between diversity and improved financial performance, so firms are keen to implement such programs, even outside of moral impetus or social pressure. 

It is not currently known if Crowley or Polonskaia are Rams or Patriots fans.