What Is a Defensive Coordinator In Football?

defensive coordinator

What Is a Defensive Coordinator In American Football?

A defensive coordinator is a coach in American football responsible for coordinating the team’s defense. They typically report to the head coach and play a major role in determining the team’s defensive strategy.

Defensive Coordinators Responsibilities

The defensive coordinator is responsible for creating and implementing a game plan that will stop the opposing offense from scoring. This includes both pre-snap reads and making adjustments during the play.

The defensive coordinator must be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing offense and then come up with a plan to exploit those weaknesses.

What Makes A Good Defensive Coordinator?

A good defensive coordinator can develop and implement a successful game plan to stop the opposing team’s offense. They must be able to anticipate what the other team is going to do and adjust their strategy accordingly.

A good defensive coordinator also needs to have excellent communication skills so they can relay their plan to the players and coaches on the sidelines. They must also make quick decisions during the game and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

How To Become a Defensive Coordinator

In order to become a defensive coordinator in football, certain steps must be followed. First, one must have experience playing the game at a high level. This can be achieved by playing football at the collegiate or professional level. Once someone has experience playing the game, they can begin coaching at lower levels, such as high school or youth leagues.

As they gain more coaching experience, they can move to higher levels, such as coaching in college or the NFL. Eventually, with enough experience and success, someone may become a defensive coordinator. Networking and building relationships with other coaches are also incredibly important.

Why Do Some Defensive Coordinators Sit In The Booth?

Some coaches prefer to be on the sidelines during games to directly communicate with players and better see the action. However, many defensive coordinators choose to sit in the booth overhead. There are several reasons for this.

Reason 1: Get a bird’s eye view of the entire field. This can be helpful in spotting patterns and tendencies in the opposing offense. It can also help with making strategic decisions, such as when to call a timeout or whether to go for a turnover on downs.

Reason 2: It can help keep emotions in check. Sitting in the booth can help defensive coordinators stay calm and focused, which is important when making game-changing decisions.

Reason 3: Helpful in communicating with other coaches. Sitting in the booth allows defensive coordinators to easily talk to the head coach and other assistant coaches, which can be crucial for making strategic decisions.

How Much Do NFL Defensive Coordinators Make?

According to a recent report from NBC Sports, the average NFL defensive coordinator salary is $1 million per year. This figure includes base salary, signing bonus, and other bonuses and incentives.

The highest-paid defensive coordinator in the NFL during the 2021 season was Todd Bowles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who make an annual salary of $3 million.

Well-Known Defensive Coordinators In NFL History

Some of the most famous and well-known defensive coordinators in NFL history include Bill Belichick, Dick LeBeau, and Wade Phillips. Each of these coaches has had a tremendous impact on the game of football, and their defenses have been some of the most feared and respected in the league.

Bill Belichick: Widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and his defensive units have been some of the best in the league for many years. Belichick’s defenses are known for their aggressive style of play, and they have oftentimes been able to take over games and dominate opponents.

Dick LeBeau: Another defensive coordinator that many NFL players highly respect. LeBeau’s defenses are known for their ability to create turnovers, and they have often been able to make big plays when it matters most.

Wade Phillips: Phillips’ defenses are known for their aggressive style of play, and they have oftentimes been able to take over games and dominate opponents.

Recent NFL Teams With Strong Defenses

In recent years, some of the most successful teams in the NFL have been led by dominant defenses. The Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl thanks largely to their “Legion of Boom” defense, while the Denver Broncos went to another Super Bowl with a defense nicknamed the “No Fly Zone.”

Even the New England Patriots had some of the best defenses in the league during their dynasty runs.


Defensive coordinators play a very important role in football. They are responsible for coming up with plans to stop the other team’s offense, and they have to be able to adjust on the fly if the opposing team makes changes.

This season, there have been several great defensive coordinators who have made a big impact on their teams. Some of these coordinators may even be candidates for head coaching jobs next year!