Your Choice: Head Coach or CEO?

Even if it means forgoing Super Bowl immortality, executives would rather lead in the C-suite than on the field. A new Korn Ferry survey.

Super Bowl-winning coaches get a lot of perks, including glowing admiration from fans and lucrative offers to write books and give speeches about their leadership skills. But given the choice, corporate executives would make it to the top of their own professions.

More than 70% of executives would rather be CEO of one of the nation’s 50 biggest companies rather than a head coach in the National Football League, according to a new Korn Ferry survey. That career aspiration holds even though 64% say being a Fortune 50 CEO is harder than being an NFL head coach. Korn Ferry surveyed more than 1,100 professionals in the week leading up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

Indeed, Corporate America has a lot of opinions on the big game’s participants. Nearly 60% of executives said New England head coach Bill Belichick would make a better CEO than Los Angeles boss Sean McVay. Belichick, 66, has led his team to eight Super Bowls, including three straight. However, 56% said they’d rather have McVay as a boss. McVay, 33, became the youngest coach in modern NFL history when he was hired in 2017. The survey respondents view McVay as more optimistic and a better motivator than Belichick.

As for the players, executives clearly favor New England’s quarterback, Tom Brady, over his signal-calling Rams opponent, Jared Goff. Eighty one percent of respondents said Brady is the better team player than Goff, and 84% said Brady would make for a better CEO. Executives also say Brady will be the difference maker in the actual game; 56% said Brady will be the game’s top performer.

For the game itself, two thirds of respondents pick the Patriots to beat the Rams, which would give New England its sixth Super Bowl title.