Staying cool under pressure its the most compelling aspect of sports. An athlete’s greatness is almost entirely judged on how they respond to the pressure.  That response is what separates Joe Montana and Zinedine Zidane from the Robert Green, Bill Buckner, and well Zidane (he lost it with the headbutt). Instead of looking at who are the best pressure athletes in sports, let’s look at it from the positions that bring out the best and/or worst out of the sports figures we love or hate.  So what are the Top 10 most pressure packed positions in sports?

Now for this list, we kept it to the coaches and players.  So the administration of a team in a certain city or the head of a sporting organization are not on the list.  Just the people we wind up idolizing or hating, the people on the pitch/field or on the sidelines who get most of the attention and credit for winning and feel the heat and nastiness for losses.   The high-profile positions that fans remember for good and bad, so let’s begin the countdown of another Simply Futbol Top 10.

Its The Most Pressure Positions in Sports.

#10 – NFL Quarterback
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In US Sports, no single position on a court, field, track is more high-profile and more analyzed than the NFL quarterback. They touch the ball on almost every play (except special teams). Often times they are the highest paid players on the team and easily get the most attention. They have to know the most about their complex offense and decipher complex opposition defenses in a matter of seconds. NFL QBs carry the weight of a team more than any other field/court position in US Sports. An entire NFL franchise’s success and failure is determined by the play of the quarterback.

#9 – England National Team Captain
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The Three Lions captain has become the most analyzed and well-known captaincy in all of international football.  Names like Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, Alan Shearer, and David Beckham have had the national honor of being the leader of England’s national team.  Its such a pressure position that its international news when a new captain is named and its a title that is hotly debated by football pundits all over the world as to who best personifies the best qualities of what an England captain should be.

#8 – Manager of the New York Yankees
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The New York Yankees are the Real Madrid of North American Sports. The Yankees are the richest and most decorated team in North American sports (maybe in all The Americas). More impressive is that The Yankees have accomplished all that in the most skeptical, cynical, harshest city in the US, New York City. The money and winning tradition while doing it in New York City combines to put Mount Everest on top of K1 pressure on the person in charge of the on field moves of the team.  Only the President of the United States makes moves that are more scrutinized and criticized than the manager of the New York Yankees.

#7 – The #10 of Brazil National Team
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Pelé, the legend who made the #10 the most recognized and watched man on a football pitch. The Brazilian is a global icon and any Brazilian who wears the #10 shirt for the Seleção has the weight of a nation and Pelé’s legacy on their shoulders. Brazil’s #10 is viewed as the showman and leader of a World Champion side. Rai, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Rivaldo have had the #10 on their back since Pelé and the championship legacy of the Seleção adds massive pressure to Brazil’s iconic position.

#6 – The #10 of Argentina National Team
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Diego Armando Maradona, the man is responsible for the pressure of the #10 Argentina shirt. Since Maradona’s legendary days, every Argentine that has been assigned #10 jersey has been the center of attention, expected to be spectacular, and lead Argentina to the same heights as El Diego. Argentina hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals since Maradona’s last World Cup in USA 1994. Juan Roman Riquelme, Ariel Ortega, and Lionel Messi all have worn the Albiceleste #10 shirt and they all have failed in leading Argentina past the WC final 8.

#5 – Real Madrid Coach
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Real Madrid’s coach makes this list because of their silverware history, their financial standing, and the amount of coaching changes since 2000. Since the new millennium, Los Merengues have had 11 coaches and the board of Real Madrid have fired coaches after seasons that led to titles and set records, just ask Vicente Del Bosque, Bernd Schuster, and Manuel Pellegrini. Real Madrid’s coach has the near impossible task of producing a perfect footballing side. With the money Los Merengues spend on players and the intense media attention that follows them, the pressure on the coach is enough to create an ulcer the size of The Bernabeu.

#4 – England National Team Coach
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The home nation of modern football, England has always had a sense of grandeur about its national team. The sense of entitlement grew when The Three Lions won the World Cup in 1966. The English are well aware of their footballing history and their undeniable place as an important force in football. The passion for the national team is fanatical and the fact that England hasn’t won a major international trophy since ’66 has continually piled on more pressure on England’s national team coach. Passion, history, and a 45-year trophy drought makes the position of England coach as hot as a witches’ calderon.

#3 – Boca Juniors Head Coach
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Boca is an international brand, they are tied with AC Milan for the most international titles. The coach of Club Atlético Boca Juniors has a massive responsibility to maintain a trophy lifting tradition. Some say that its more intense than Argentina’s national team spot. No coach has been able to last more than 1 year since the turn of the century. That’s 12 different men in that time, one bad tournament and you are done. They put Real Madrid’s coaching carousel to shame.

#2 – Brazil National Team Coach
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Brazil is the only team on the planet that historically is expected to play the beautiful game, put on a show and win. Even though the days of the jogo bonito are long gone. Seleção still have a cache attached to it that is unmatched. The only reason the coach of Brazil isn’t #1 on this list is because the Verde-Amarhela have won a World Cup in this century. Although 5 World Cup titles is huge pressure but there isn’t a massive trophy drought when you consider the run on Copa Americas and Confederations Cups in the last 7 years.

#1 – Argentina National Team Coach
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The reason the Argentina national team coach is number one is the combination of history, talent, and trophy drought. At the senior level (Olympics is a U-23 tournament), Los Albicelestes haven’t won a major trophy since the 1993 Copa America. That’s 18 years, for a nation that consistently produces some of the best talent on the planet. Diego Maradona is revered to godlike levels in Argentina and when he coached the national team, he was crucified for his decisions. When Maradona gets knocked down while being the coach, you know the pressure is damn near unbearable.

Great thing about Simply Futbol is that there is always room for disagreement and expression, so please feel free to comment on this list. We want to read what you think.

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