Thursday, January 07, 2016

Coaching changes

It's amazing to me how "win now" has become the philosophy of NFL teams. For the last several years, we've seen around 20% of the coaches get fired. And we were sitting there again this season until Lovie Smith got fired overnight. And now we are at a staggering 25% coaching turnover this season. That's right, 8 vacancies exist in the NFL today.

And more amazing is that once again (and it seems like, this happens more frequently than in decades past) you had a coach fired after just one year, and at least one other coach who had just completed year two. And the rest were under 5 years, except for Coughlin.

Yikes! That's a short leash. And because teams want to fix things quickly, it's tough to even consider playoff team assistant coaches. And Nick Saban and Chip Kelly make teams think twice about hiring a college coach - the leap is not easy, and the flameout rate is high.

The funny thing is that because about 38% of teams make the playoffs, your chances of surviving as a coach if you miss are about 6 in 10. Obviously coaches on the shorter end of the tenure scale are more likely to be retained. But as you start to get closer to 4 years, if you haven't made the playoffs, you are much more likely to get fired.

So every coach that comes in has to have a plan to turn things around quickly. If they tease with a 10 win season, and miss the playoffs by bad luck, then they're on the right track. If they come out of the gates with a bad record, they are well on their way to getting fired soon.

Remember, too, that the more tenured head coaches keep making the playoffs, so the number of new coaches that get in is small every year.

Coaches can't have a 5-year plan anymore. And there isn't time to churn a roster. They have to win with what they're given (or left with) and find a way to motivate the players. As I've said before, coaching accounts for maybe 5% of what happens in games. 90% is the players, and the rest is the football gods, or luck. So it has to be the right person in the right situation, with the right group of players.

And that is as much luck as anything.
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2 comments

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What I just heard on the radio is that Miami was showing a lot of interest in Dirk Koetter, the OC for the Bucs. Then the Bucs fired Lovie Smith after only 2 seasons. I think the Bears made a big mistake firing Smith and now the Bucs just made the same mistake. What do you think of the possibility of Lovie Smith becoming the Dolphins HC?

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Interesting stats on coaching changes and how inpatient teams are in building a program.

Lovie Smith is a good coach. With 8 openings now, I am not sure we will get the pick of the litter. We will probably wind up with Dan Campbell as other candidates turn us down.