This week, two NFL head coaches were fired. By a couple of teams who are a combined 1-7. But really, were they fired too soon? Certainly there were insinuating circumstances in each case, but I am here to tell you that teams that fire coaches after two or three seasons are teams that will be watching the Super Bowl on tv.
Lane Kiffin wasn't even given a season and a half in Oakland. Scott Linehan did not even work for 2 and a 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. Boh these franchises have been in the Super Bowl since the turn of the century. And both of them are now down at the bottom of the league.
Let's start with the Raiders. Kiffin is the 4th head coach Al Davis has fired since that Super Bowl loss against Tampa Bay. That was less than 6 years ago. 4 head coach firings in under 6 years? Anyone who still doubts that Al Davis is the ruining the Raiders needs to digest that number. He has fired 4 head coaches in less than 6 years! How do you get anything done as a football team under that much chaos at the top?
By way of comparison, the Pittsburgh Steelers, arguably the most successful AFC franchise in the Super Bowl era (5 Super Bowl wins and 6 Super Bowl appearances, best in the AFC), are on their third head coach in a 30 year span!
Now, I know, the Raiders had some success early in the 70s and 80s under Madden and Flores. But they also had head coaching stability then as well. Madden was head coach for 10 seasons and Flores followed up with a 9 season stint. In 19 seasons, Al Davis had 2 head coaches. Now, in just 6 seasons, he's already on his 5th one. That, Raider fan, is just how deep into the dregs of the league the Raiders have fallen in terms of personel management.
But that seems to be the way some of the newer owners have pushed the league towards. Take a look in Dallas. Jerry Jones has owned the team 20 years now and is on his 6th head coach. That's just an average of a little over 3 seasons per coach. You can't change coaches that much and stay on top! Ever since winning their last playoff game, the Cowboys have gone from Barry Switzer to Chan Gailey to Dave Campo to Bill Parcells to Wade Phillips. Jerry Jones has never had a head coach last more than 5 years. And that one was his first one.
By way of comparison, the Tennessee Titans have had Jeff Fisher as their head coach since 1994. And, while the Titans don't have 5 rings, they have easily done better than the Cowboys in the past 10 years.
History tells us, you don't give a coach one or two seasons and then fire him. In 1980, a two-year head coach in California had a combined 8-24 record. Horrible. Awful. The kind of record after two years that owners today will fire a coach for. I bet old-time 49er fans are glad Bill Walsh didn't get fired after two seasons.
Cam Cameron had one season in Miami, went 1-15 and was fired. Can you imagine what might have happened in Dallas had Jimmy Johnson gotten fired after a 1-15 season?
The Cardinals are on their 8th head coach in their 20 year run in Arizona. Is it no wonder they have been a joke for all this time? Their head coaches are averaging less than 3 years per regime? How can you establish anything and build a team in less than 3 years? The Lions are on their 5th head coach since Wayne Fontes left in 96. Another franchise not even giving coaches 3 seasons to get something established. Wow, gee, the Lions suck? Really? What a surprise.
The Redskins had a great run under Joe Gibbs in the 80s. Three Super Bowl wins. 4 appearances. !2 seasons. Daniel Snyder hasn't even own the Skins 12 years and he is already on his 5th head coach. And the Redskins are far from being the franchise they were in the 80s.
I could type all day but I think the point has been made. The teams who give their head coaches time and allow them to build their system are going to have a better chance at being successful in the long run than teams who change coaches every two or three seasons.