NFL: Fresh faces getting head coaching chances
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:
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