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Berry Tramel  


NFL: Fresh faces getting head coaching chances

by Berry Tramel Published: January 21, 2013

NFL owners and team presidents and general managers are quick-triggered: 23 head coach changes the last three seasons. But give the decision-makers credit in this regard. They don’t fire coaches just to bring in retreads.

Eight NFL franchises replaced coaches this off-season. Seven of the eight never have been NFL head coaches, unless you count Bruce Arians, who filled in for the Colts’ cancer-stricken Chuck Pagano this season. Only Andy Reid has run his own team before.

Two years ago, eight jobs came open, and seven were filled by first-time head coaches; only John Fox in Denver had run his own team before.

Last off-season, the NFL turned to three veterans to fill its seven head-coaching openings – Mike Mularkey in Jacksonville, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Jeff Fisher in St. Louis. Mularkey and Crennel already have been fired.

The NFL periodically falls prey to the same line of thinking that permeates through the NBA and baseball. Experienced coaches/managers are hired, even if that previous experience was not so successful. After the 2009 season, only three jobs came open – and they were filled by Chan Gailey, Mike Shanahan and Pete Carroll, all with previous NFL head-coaching experience.

But in recent years, the NFL is getting its head coaches from all kinds of places. College coaches are in vogue again (Chip Kelly and Doug Marrone this year, Greg Schiano last year). Offensive coordinators (or to a lesser extent defensive coordinators) always are popular (Mike McCoy and Rob Chudzinski). Interim head coaches always have a shot (Arians this year, Crennel last year, Leslie Frazier the year before that). The Bears even hired a coach from the Canadian Football League in Marc Trestman, though he has plenty of NFL assistant-coach experience.

Here are the head coaching hires in the last 10 years, with those with previous NFL head coaching experience in bold:


Arizona: Bruce Arians

Buffalo: Doug Marrone

Chicago: Marc Trestman

Cleveland: Rob Chudzinski

Kansas City: Andy Reid

Jacksonville: Gus Bradley

Philadelphia: Chip Kelly

San Diego: Mike McCoy


Indianapolis: Chuck Pagano

Jacksonville: Mike Mularkey

KC: Romeo Crennel

Miami: Joe Philbin

Oakland: Dennis Allen

St. Louis: Jeff Fisher

TampaBay: Greg Schiano


Carolina: Ron Rivera

Cleveland: Pat Shurmur

Dallas: Jason Garrett

Denver: John Fox

Minnesota: Leslie Frazier

Oakland: Hue Jackson

San Francisco: Jim Harbaugh

Tennessee: Mike Munchak


Buffalo: Chan Gailey

Seattle: Pete Carroll

Washington: Mike Shanahan


Cleveland: Eric Mangini

Denver: Josh McDaniels

Detroit: Jim Schwartz

Indianapolis: Jim Caldwell

Kansas City: Todd Haley

New York Jets: Rex Ryan

Oakland: Tom Cable

St. Louis: Steve Spagnuolo

San Fran: Mike Singletary

Seattle: Jim Mora Jr.

Tampa Bay: Raheem Morris


Atlanta: Mike Smith

Baltimore: John Harbaugh

Miami: Tony Sparano

Washington: Jim Zorn


Arizona: Ken Whisenhunt

Atlanta: Bobby Petrino

Dallas: Wade Phillips

Miami: Cam Cameron

Oakland: Lane Kiffin

Pittsburgh: Mike Tomlin

San Diego: Norv Turner


Buffalo: Dick Jauron

Detroit: Rod Marinelli

Green Bay: Mike McCarthy

Houston: Gary Kubiak

Kansas City: Herm Edwards

Minnesota: Brad Childress

New Orleans: Sean Payton

New York Jets: Eric Mangini

Oakland: Art Shell

St. Louis: Scott Linehan


Cleveland: Romeo Crennel

Miami: Nick Saban

San Francisco: Mike Nolan


Arizona: Dennis Green

Atlanta: Jim Mora Jr.

Buffalo: Mike Mularkey

Chicago: Lovie Smith

New York Giants: Tom Coughlin

Oakland: Norv Turner

Washington: Joe Gibbs



by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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