Jeff Fisher in Driver’s Seat as NFL Coaching Carousel Continues
By Chris Malumphy
Despite the fact that the 2011 NFL playoffs have just begun, we are already deep into the coaching carousel season. The Jaguars started the annual turnover process by jettisoning Jack Del Rio with five games to go in the season. Then Dolphins gave the boot to Tony Sparano and the Chiefs showed the door to Todd Haley. Shortly after the season ended, the Rams and Buccaneers sent Steve Spagnuolo and Raheem Morris packing. Surprisingly, despite their disappointing lifetime records, the Chargers will stick with Norv Turner for yet another season and Marvin Lewis saved his job yet again by taking the Bengals to the playoffs. Of the current head coaches, Pat Shurmur and Leslie Frazier have the worst records, although both only have one full season under their belts. [Update: Hue Jackson has been fired by Oakland's newly hired General Manager, Reggie McKenzie.]
It now appears that the Chiefs will give Romeo Crennel a second shot at a full-time coaching gig after he went 2-1 in an interim assignment. [Update: Crennel was subsequently given the Chiefs head coaching job.] Mel Tucker in Jacksonville and Todd Bowles in Miami are both being kept dangling in limbo as the owners of those teams check out other possibilities. [Update: the Jaguars have hired Mke Mularkey.]
Former Titans' coach Jeff Fisher seems to be in an ideal position, seemingly having the choice between leading the Rams or the Dolphins. Several experienced quality coaches who would seem to have years of potential coaching ahead of them are playing it coy and may have priced themselves to far above the current market: Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and perhaps Tony Dungy fit that description. Cowher and Gruden are being extremely picky, looking for just the right spot, and the right quarterback situation. Dungy may never return to coaching again. All three appear happy in the broadcast booth. Brian Billick, Mike Martz and Eric Mangini would love to get another head coaching job, but no one seems particularly interested. Wade Phillips has done well, but not good enough, whereever he has gone before, but now is seen as a great defensive coordinator and only a mediocre head coach. Phillips (82-61, .573), Mike Sherman (57-39, .594) and Brad Childress (39-35, .527) might have a shot in Tampa Bay, however. Mike Mularkey was only 14-18 his first time around, but has always been thought of as an offensive innovator and could get some consideration. Josh McDaniels is returning to the Patriots to try to resurrect a young career that swiftly headed downhill after starting off 6-0 a few years ago.
To keep it in perspective, here are the lifetime records of those who served as head coaches in 2011 as well as those who recently held head coaching positions.
|Lifetime Records of 2011 NFL Head Coaches|
|Jack Del Rio||68||71||0||0.489||2003||Jaguars||68||71||0||0.489|
|Lifetime Records of Recent Former NFL Head Coaches|
|Jack Del Rio||68||71||0||0.489|
|Jim Mora Jr.||31||33||0||0.484|