December and January are big months for football, both collegiate and professional. Right now, we are in the midst of college football’s bowl season. I love it. I’ve been watching a ton of college football. However, I am not here to talk about college football broadcasts. I am not here to discuss the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. I will not be delving deep into how bad Rod Gilmore is at being an announcer. However, all this football has got me thinking about football in entertainment. If we’re talking college football, we should be talking about Coach.
Coach is a sitcom from the ‘90s that seems both underdiscussed and overdiscussed. It wasn’t a good show necessarily, but it lasted nine seasons and 200 episodes. Coach was a network sitcom when there were basically only network sitcoms. I’ve heard of it. You’ve probably heard of it. Perhaps you’ve even seen it. However, it feels weird to really talk about. It wasn’t influential or a critical darling. On the other hand, Craig T. Nelson did win an Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. That being said, it’s pretty much the only sitcom about a football team, let alone a sports team, I can think of.
Nelson stars as Hayden Fox, who is the head coach of the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles. He’s the main character, and there are a couple other coaches that were part of the main crew, Luther Van Dam and “Dauber,” who was the dumb jock character on the show. Fox also had a daughter, making this sort of a workplace comedy and a bit of a family sitcom. It’s about sports, though, at its core. That’s the motif that the sitcom worked in.
Eventually, the show tried to keep things fresh by having Fox get a job with a fictional NFL team, the Orlando Breakers. Those years feel weird. There were also a ton of cameos from athletes, some of them as themselves, but some of them in “acting” roles. I say that because, you know, Vlade Divac acting as a delivery boy isn’t really an acting role.
I would like to see another sitcom about the coach of a sports team. It could be football, or basketball, or perhaps even Slamball. You won’t see the Screaming Eagles during bowl season, there will be Eagles, but none of them are screaming or from Minnesota, but you can always turn on Coach if you want to see Hayden Fox trying to figure things out.