Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, Bloody Monday

From Sunday evening into early Monday afternoon, five NFL head coaches lost their jobs:


  • Rob Chudzinski, one-year head coach of the Browns (record with the Browns: 4-12)
  • Leslie Frazier, 3.5-year head coach of the Vikings (record with the Vikings: 21-32, with one playoff appearance -- a loss to the Packers in 2012)
  • Mike Shanahan, 4-year head coach of the Washington football club (record with Washington: 24-40 with one playoff appearance -- a loss in the wild card round while hosting the Seahawks in 2012)
  • Buccaneers 2-year head coach Greg Schiano (record with Tampa: 11-21)
  • Lions 5-year head coach Jim Schwartz (record with Detroit: 29-51 with one playoff appearance -- a wild card loss)


It will come as no surprise that these teams are terrible. Look at the stats for the last ten years (2004-2013 inclusive).  The median NFL team* got 80 wins in that period, as you would expect.  All 5 of these teams rank in the bottom half of that distribution. Cleveland and Detroit rank 30th and 31st in that period, with an average of 5 wins per season**.

These teams are badly-run from the ownership on down. The NFL's structure bends over backward to get teams into the playoffs around 4 times every 10 years. Of the five teams above, only the Vikings managed that feat***.

These coaches shouldn't be fired: The owners should.

If you're an incompetent or tightwad GM or owner, replacing a coach is easy and fun!  You can cut corners everywhere in the organization, mismanage your salary cap, and when the product on the field is garbage, you can declare with great solemnity that The Coach Is The Problem and you're replacing him with a Young Go-Getter or -- one owner's preference -- you're replacing him with a Proven Leader with a Track Record of Success Back When Dan Snyder Was In 7th Grade.

A nice first step for these owners might be to give their coaches a few years to get their feet under them. Who knows -- maybe if your players don't have to learn entirely new offensive and defensive schemes every 1.66 years, they might win a few. I'm talking to you, Cleveland.


* The Carolina Panthers, if you're curious.
** The only worse team over the last ten years is the Oakland Raiders.
*** And the Vikings ownership has some "organized-crime type activities" going on, though. So they got that going for 'em. Which is nice. Anyway, the real point of this footnote is that the Raiders, Browns, and Bills all failed to reach the playoffs in the last 10 years.
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