NFL Head Coach worked last year, so EA has decided to do it again. What the game boils down to is a job simulator for a job that just about any sports fan would love to have, coaching a football team. This year's game is trying to take out some of the work that goes with the job (it's a job after all) and leave in the fun and glory. You'll be able to start at any point in the season or preseason, and you now have a tool called the Coach's Clipboard that sits on the right side of the screen, just about all the time, to help make decisions and control the flow of time (slightly more powerful than its real world counterpart). Basically, they promised us the game will let you do anything a coach can do in real life that isn't boring.
In case you made it this far without realizing this, you don't actually control the players in Head Coach 09; instead, you manage the team as best you can by calling plays, hiring assistant coaches, bidding on players, holding a clipboard and just about everything else a coach can do. The game gets so detailed that you can control how much emotion your coach shows after a play. Botched a 20 yard field goal? The next choice you make will be whether you want to stamp your feet and start throwing cups of Gatorade or just sit there with a stone-cold coaching face staring right into the camera.
Aside from just being fun, your reaction will affect your approval rating. Your fans, the media, team owner and everyone else will have an opinion of how you are doing. Ratings fluctuate depending on how your team is doing, how you act and even where you're playing. Chances are, if you're coaching the Raiders and playing in NY the crowd won't be too happy with you. Having a high approval is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that you can now be fired if it gets too low. Try not to get fired.
The first time a team gives you the boot, you'll have the option of being hired by another team. After the first time, it depends on how you've been coaching and what the other teams think of you. All the teams will behave as if they were real, and if you can't get a job it's game over.