Adam Schefter of ESPN says that nine out of 11 coaches hired in 2009 are left standing. The 2011 season is just now deep into the playoffs and over 80 percent of coaches hired in ‘09 are gone. That’s a frustrating statistic. After all, in the midst of personnel changes, coaching shifts and the lockout, how can a coach be expected to generate enough wins to keep his job if he’s given such a short leash?
But even coaches who generated wins were let go. The Chiefs, for example, won 10 games and a division title just last season. Todd Haley was celebrated for his passionate demeanor and even won some Coach of the Year votes. In fact, he placed third, right below Raheem Morris of the Bucs, and both were fired this year. So even coaches who exhibit some success are let go just one year later. Such is life in the NFL.
“This offseason perfectly proves how impatient NFL owners are and how difficult the coaching class of 2009 had it,” writes Adam Schefter. "Of the 11 coaches hired that offseason, nine have been fired. Only two have retained the coaching jobs they were hired to do — Jim Schwartz in Detroit and Rex Ryan in New York. The other nine — Eric Mangini in Cleveland, Josh McDaniels in Denver, Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis, Todd Haley in Kansas City, Tom Cable in Oakland, Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis, Mike Singletary in San Francisco, Jim Mora in Seattle, Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay — have been fired.
“That class had such a tough time holding on in part because that was the first offseason without a salary cap, and then last offseason was the lockout. Coaches struggled to flush out the old players, add new pieces and develop young talent. Coaches hired today do not have to deal with the same disadvantages, but they do have to deal with even more pressure. Still, today’s advantages could translate into fewer firings in years to come.”
While each individual situation holds its own reasons for letting a coach go, such a broad stroke of movement among the coaching ranks cannot bode well for long-term success in those franchises. While a coach here or there likely should have been fired because it clearly was not working (whether in front office chemistry (like Kansas City) or ineptitude in the position, to fire nine of 11 is a signal that no job is safe in the NFL if the immediate results are not there.
But that, of course, depends on your team. Lovie Smith has been extended some grace in years past. The same can be said for Marvin Lewis. Gary Kubiak can join that club for Houston as well. The reality is all three franchises of the Bears, Bengals and Texans have displayed that patience works, and the team’s have been rewarded for allowing continuity to take root.
This is unfortunate, then, for some teams that insist on turnover again and again hoping to somehow strike gold with the latest hire. Perhaps Crennel will signal the end of the changes in Kansas City and the team will move forward. But it’s hard to point at Haley and believe he was the problem when the team won 10 games just last year and the team endured so many injuries in the 2011 campaign. There were issues, for sure, but it seems a move that came too quickly in the Not For Long industry.