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This Is So Stupid

Why Won’t These Squinting Football Coaches Wear Corrective Lenses?

1:32 PM EDT on October 7, 2021

Jon Gruden gives the thumbs-up to sometimes wearing glasses and sometimes not.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Every weekend, I watch football on my television and see the same thing: grown adult men who are paid lots of money to coach football teams, with their hands on their knees, squinting. They cannot see. They must strain their little eyes, squint them together, just to make out what is happening. Is this because it is bright? Sometimes. Is it because it is raining? Sometimes. Is it because they need prescription eyeglasses and will not go to the doctor? Maybe. Are all of these problems solvable with a pair of prescription sunglasses and a hat? They sure fuckin' are!

And yet every week, the coaches on my television choose to forego this easy solution. They must—whether from a personal stance against seeing or pure ignorance, I cannot know—decide each week to live in pain and uncertainty, to squint out at whatever is happening on the field and try to do their job.

Of course not all NFL coaches do this. John Harbaugh (Ravens), Vic Fangio (Broncos), David Culley (Texans), Frank Reich (Colts), Andy Reid (Chiefs), Mike Zimmer (Vikings), Bruce Arians (Buccaneers), and Ron Rivera (Football Team) all wear glasses and do not squint. We at Defector salute these men for being normal enough to do the absolute bare minimum necessary for them to be able to perceive things visually.

A few coaches do not wear glasses, but often wear hats, sunglasses, or perhaps contacts, so they can see. So we know there is no RULE against seeing for NFL head coaches. So why are so many coaches simply choosing to squint into the harsh sunlight, unable to see their team on the field. Let's take a look at a few, shall we? All of these were found on the first page of the newest photos of these coaches' Getty Images results, so it's not like I had to search hard.

Here is Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, apparently trying to make out what is written on a normal-sized blackboard located three miles away.

Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons looks on from the bench area in the second quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Here is Matt Rhule, head coach of the Carolina Panthers, trying to make out if that's a hawk flying over his team's game against the Saints or just a small plane.

Photo: Mike Comer/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers on the sidelines in the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Here is Zac Taylor, head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, preparing to compete in a postgame Kyle Chandler Impersonator contest.

Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Here is Matt LaFleur, head coach of the Green Bay Packers, thinking hard about adding another layer to his look.

Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Here is Urban Meyer, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, thinking about Character and Leadership.

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action during the game against the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Jon Gruden, head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, sometimes wears glasses, so I know he needs them. But then other times, he does not, and he squints so hard it changes the entire shape of his head. He squints so hard that his haircut looks different.

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders looks against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium on October 4, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brandon Staley, head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on the right, has a hat, so perhaps he just has sensitive eyes and needs sunglasses too.

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers on the sidels during pregame warm-ups before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, absolutely cannot see. He is always squinting! He likes it that way, though.

Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 03: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half in the game at Gillette Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, believes that the strength gains made as a result of his Crossfit training have corrected his eyesight.

Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 13: head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh, head coach of the New York Jets, may be able to see. Saleh has such magnificent brow expressions that this may be a look of disgust and not a squint. I'm inclined to give him a pass.

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 21: Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets looks on against the Green Bay Packers in the second half of a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 21, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Nick Sirianni, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, has on a visor to shade his eyes and is STILL SQUINTING. Maybe add more pens to the visor to obscure the sun more effectively?

Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 03: Head coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on KC at Lincoln Financial Field on October 03, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, literally has glasses on and can't see! Pete, go to the optometrist!

Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Pete Carroll and Geno Smith #7 of the Seattle Seahawks look on during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Lumen Field on September 19, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Mike Vrabel, head coach of the Tennessee Titans, can see when he wears his sunglasses. But sometimes he doesn't wear them.

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 10: Head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans looks on during the first quarter of their AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Nissan Stadium on January 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Critical support and thoughts and prayers to all the squinty boys. I hope you find some prescription sunglasses soon!

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