There is, theoretically, some value in having played the game of football at its highest level. Some of the game's greatest coaches never played above the collegiate level (nor did they necessarily play that well at the collegiate level). But there is a certain logic that having played in the NFL would bring a natural respect from your players. You would know what it's like to be in their shoes and would be better positioned to relate to them because of that. Presumably with that in mind (or maybe just because it's mid-June and he had a column due), ESPN's Kevin Seifert elected to rank the NFL's head coaches based on their playing careers. Mike McCoy took home a spot in the top 10.
McCoy transferred to Utah, and while you might not remember it, he became one of the nation's top quarterbacks there. He helped the school to consecutive bowl games, finished the 1993 season with the second-most passing yards in the country (3,860) and led the Utes to a 10-2 record in 1994. His pro ambitions took him to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad in 1995, NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League before his retirement in 1999.
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, a former head coach himself, also played in the NFL for seven seasons as a tight end with the Falcons, Redskins, and Jets. His 48-71 career record as a head coach further suggests that it may take more than having played in the NFL to be a successful head coach, though.
And, of course, you're wondering who the nine coaches ranked ahead of McCoy are:
9. Sean Payton, New Orlean Saints
8. Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
7. Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos
6. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
5. Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams
4. Mike Mularkey, Tennessee Titans
3. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
2. Todd Bowles - New York Jets
1. Jack Del Rio - Oakland Raiders
As already mentioned, there's clearly more to coaching than having a successful playing career, but as a curiosity, this list was actually somewhat interesting.