We're getting to the late stages of the NFL coaching carousel for this year, and the Green Bay Packers just filled a key opening, with Jeff Hafley taking over as the team's new defensive coordinator after the rightful dismissal of Joe Barry.
It was a very interesting move, as Hafley has NFL experience but not as a coordinator or head coach. Most recently, he served as the head coach at Boston College, joining a wave of coaches looking to escape the rapidly-changing college game.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport highlighted the current problems with coaching in college football when discussing Green Bay's move.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 1, 2024
Hafley had a solid tenure at Boston College, and leaves after a surprising bowl-eligible campaign, capped off by an upset win at the Fenway Bowl over a ranked SMU team. It was seen as a surprise move by some, but many people who are familiar with college coaches are not too shocked that Hafley jumped at the opportunity to move up to the NFL, even as a coordinator.
Jeff Hafley Highlights the College Football Coaching Problem
If Hafley truly did leave because of any misgivings with the direction of coaching at the college level, it's part of something much bigger than anything going on in Boston College's program. With the transfer portal looming at all times, the rise of NIL, the associated need to secure funding for top recruits, and the incessant conference realignment chess match, the college game is not what it was just a few years ago.
Due to these changes, many coaches who chose to stay at that level because they loved their program or the amateurism of the NCAA now have less reason to stay. It's almost impossible for them to retain all of their players and consistently develop a team throughout their tenure, as everything can crumble in just one afternoon of bad transfer news.
There's no rest for these coaches, as they need to constantly be working to pull in new talent and hang on to what they already have.
Of course, not every college coach has the option to move up to the NFL. There are well over 100 FBS programs, and only 32 NFL teams. Still, losing top talent to the league and retirement, in the case of legendary coach Nick Saban, is an issue for college football. A worse product could be on the way before long if the NCAA, CFP, the major conferences and any other governing entities of the sport aren't able to find some way to simultaneously make things fair for the athletes and restore some of the key factors that used to make college football as special as it was.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.