Thursday, January 17, 2013

Buyer Beware

With the coach hiring and firing frenzy now pretty much over, I have had some time to do a little research on what makes a Super Bowl winning coach.  The results: I have no idea.  However, I can tell you there is abundant evidence on what doesn't make a Super Bowl winning coach; that is someone who has gotten to the Super Bowl elsewhere only to lose.  Teams out there might want to be a little bit wary of a coach with only a Super Bowl loss on his resume.  It rarely ever translates to any success later in his career.

Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt have both taken the reigns of some lousy teams, gotten them back to respectability, and eventually gotten them to the Super Bowl (Whisenhunt in only his second year with the team).  With these credentials, it would seem like an NFL team like Buffalo, Jacksonville, or Kansas City (who hired the same kind of guy in Andy Reid) would be glad to have a coach like this.  That is true, unless your ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl.  In the Super Bowl era, only five coaches have lost their first Super Bowl, and then gone on to win one later.  Tom Landry (one year later), Don Shula (four years later), Hank Stram (three years later), Bill Cowher (10 years later), and Dick Vermeil (a whopping 19 years later) are the only coaches to ever have accomplished that feat.  This is pretty elite company if you ask me, and an owner or GM would really have to think highly of a coach to think he can join this circle.

Five coaches in 45 years?  That's not so bad you might say.  But let's take a look at the some of the other coaches that lost their first Super Bowl: Jim Caldwell, John Fox, Bill Callahan, Mike Martz, Jim Fassel, Dan Reeves, Bobby Ross, Jeff Fisher, and about five more from decades ago that wouldn't ring a bell with anyone.  Very few of these guys have had any sort of continued success after their Super Bowl loss.  It seems as if not only getting to the Super Bowl, but winning it, is a guarantee of future success as a coach.   That is probably why you still see Lovie and Ken Whisenhunt in the unemployment line.

Rather than hire one of these guys, the Bears hired a CFL coach, the Eagles hired an unproven (yet awesome) college coach, the Bills hired a .500 college coach, and the Browns hired a guy named Chudzinski.  These teams must have realized that you might have a better shot of winning it all with a guy that nobody has seen before than you do a retread conference champion. 

While it is not impossible to win a Super Bowl with a coach that lost in his first appearance, evidence shows that that coach is much more likely to be unsuccessful than successful in the future.  The Kansas City Chiefs are hoping to defy the odds with Dandy Andy Reid, but to the rest I would say "caveat emptor."

1 comment:

  1. reigns? Whisenhurst is a King now? I think you meant reins. Clean it up Moose.