We like writing about the amount of money people involved in sports make, so here are the top 10 biggest earners in American sports, all coming from the NFL and the NBA.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers – 5 Million Dollars
The third youngest head coach in all of the four major North American sports leagues, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to lead a team to Super Bowl glory in his second season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In four seasons as head coach Tomlin has a 48-23 record including the post season, reaching two Super Bowls. His contract extension was signed in the summer of 2010, doubling his salary and keeping him in Pittsburgh till at least 2012.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – 5.25 Million Dollars
At 64 years old, Coughlin is one of the more experienced head coaches in the NFL. Like Tomlin, he also has one Super Bowl victory, leading the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl 42. He got the extension and raise immediately after that stunning win, with 2011 his final year on the contract. Rumors are he’ll get another extension although another year without any post season games might change the way the wind blows. Coughlin’s record with the Giants is 65-47 since taking over in 2004. Despite not going below .500 since the Super Bowl win, he has missed the playoffs during the last two years.
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals – 5.75 Million Dollars
Another guy who went through the Steelers, Whisenhunt took his offensive mind out west and led the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl in franchise history, losing to the… Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Tomlin in one of the greatest Super Bowl games ever. Whisenhunt, 32-32 since becoming Cardinals head coach, has won two division titles in probably the weakest one in the NFL. He got the extension in February 2010, but his team had a terrible 2010 season, finishing 5-11, worst during Whisenhunt’s tenure.
Six Million Dollar Club
Mike D’Antoni, New York Knicks – 6 Million Dollars
Our first NBA coach on this list – D’Antoni left the wonderful run & gun clinic he set up in Phoenix with Steve Nash to face the ultimate challenge – making the New York Knicks a successful team. It took him two seasons but after getting Amare Stoudemire with him again and an added bonus of Carmelo Anthony later this season, the 2005 NBA coach of the year made his first post season with Knicks only to get swept by the Celtics.
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs – 6 Million Dollars
It started with Popovich firing Bob Hill in 1997 and taking over his seat. Controversial, to say the least. It continued with four NBA titles since drafting Tim Duncan, a 797-383 regular season record and 14 consecutive playoff appearances. Problem is, rebuilding time is nearly here.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears – 6 Million Dollars
The first NFL coach on this list without a title, Lovie Smith has been the head coach of the Chicago Bears since 2004. He has a 63-49 record but has made the playoffs only three times in seven seasons, nothing to impressive. Well, there was a Super Bowl run ending with a loss to the Colts and his team does seem to be on the rise. Good enough for Bears executives to give him an extension after the NFC championship game loss to the Packers.
7 Million Dollar Club
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks – 7 Million Dollars
Carroll left USC after Nine amazing years that ended very badly. Carroll said his leaving to the NFL had nothing to do with the whole scandal in 2010, but when you put one and one together, that doesn’t sound exactly right. In his third tenure as an NFL head coach he didn’t finish with a winning record (7-9), but in the weak NFC, that’s enough for a playoff spot and also his first post season win since 1997.
Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics – 7 Million Dollars
Rivers put to rest all the rumors that were spiraling near and after the recent playoff exit against the Miami Heat by signing a 5 year, 35 million dollar contract extension with the Boston Celtics. Rivers had a couple of rough years in Boston before the arrival of Garnett and Ray Allen. Since then the Celtics have won their first NBA title since 1986, made another finals appearance and haven’t finished with less than 50 wins.
Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins – 7 Million Dollars
Its still weird for me to see Shanahan without the Broncos logo on his shirt. 14 Seasons with two Super Bowl titles in one team will do that to your preception of a person. He rested for a year before the NFC East challenge and Dan Snyder’s big bucks came calling. It started with a 6-10 season, Shanahan’s fewest win total since 1999.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots – 7.5 Million Dollars
When your team is the most hated franchise in the NFL and you’re also among the least popular characters in the league, not just because he cheated with the whole ‘Spygate’ thing, it means you’re doing something right. Since becoming head coach of the Patriots in 2000 Belichick has won three Super Bowls (last of them in 2004), made eight playoff appearances and eight division titles. Oh, don’t forget the record breaking 16-0 season in 2007, resulting in heartbreak. No Super Bowl win in over six years, but this still is the best franchise in the NFL along with the Steelers for over a decade now, mostly thanks to Belichick’s way of running the ship.