In general, being known a "players' coach" is a poisonous label. It means you allow your players to walk all over you, that the inmates run the asylum. Rex Ryan wore that tag right out the door after only two seasons with the Bills.
But being a strict disciplinarian doesn't assure success, either, Bill Belichick's dominance notwithstanding.
One of my biggest takeaways from the book I co-wrote with Wade Phillips, "Son of Bum: Lessons My Dad Taught Me About Football and Life," was one of the biggest coaching lessons he learned from the late Bum Phillips: it's OK for players to like, as well as respect, you.
Daddy warned him that it wasn't a popular approach with many football traditionalists, but Wade embraced it anyway.
"When players know that you’re pulling for them and trying to get them to do their best, that's usually a pretty good combination," he wrote. "I know I’d rather play for somebody I like than somebody I don’t like."
Wade has stayed true to that style in becoming one of the game's greatest defensive coordinators. You might also remember him as the last coach to lead the Bills to the playoffs.