ST. LOUIS -- It was a scary weekend for NFL head coaches.
On Sunday night, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field at halftime of his team's game against the Indianapolis Colts. He was taken to a hospital not far from Reliant Stadium and appears to be OK.
Many quickly pointed to the stresses of serving as a head coach in the NFL, an issue long discussed in league circles. Of course, even on a week when those stresses are relieved a bit -- the bye week -- that pressure doesn't go away. Denver Broncos coach John Fox suffered from dizziness while playing golf near his home in Charlotte on Saturday. He was taken to the hospital and will have heart surgery that will keep him away from his team for a while.
By all accounts, Fox and Kubiak are two of the league's healthiest coaches, guys you'd least expect to have medical issues. But given all that goes with the job, especially the long hours with little time to relax, it's hard for any coach to make sure he's taking care of himself first.
For St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, he does his best to manage his health but is quick to admit that he doesn't always have time to do so.
“There’s not time to work out every day," Fisher said. "I’ve told you guys, I pass myself going home on the way coming into work.”
Fisher is only sort of joking when he says that. Like many coaches around the league, it's not unusual for Fisher to put in 18-plus hours at the office during a normal day in-season. Those days include meetings, practice, more meetings, watching film and game planning. By the time the day is over, it's almost time to get up and do it again.
On top of the sheer workload, there's the close eye always kept on teams by media and fans. Yes, head coaches are well compensated for their work but they have that added stress from constantly having their performance evaluated.
Therein lies the rub for Fisher, who does all he can to separate stress and pressure. He much prefers the latter.
“I personally differentiate between stress and pressure," Fisher said. "I think that there’s pressure on the job, not stress. I think we do our best work under pressure as individuals. We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. We exercise when given the opportunity. Sometimes it’s hard during the year. We also have physicals we take care of, make sure everybody gets their physicals during the offseason."
Fisher sent a text message to Fox over the weekend and Fox responded that he's doing well. Fisher also mentioned Monday that he's keeping his fingers crossed for Kubiak.