Monday, February 11, 2008

Losers Beat Nobodies

Last month, I wrote a piece proving that most Super Bowl winning coaches have been (at the time of their hiring) either Losers (have NFL head coach experience, but of the losing kind) or Nobodies (have zero NFL head coach experience). Nobodies won 25 titles, and I suggested that hiring a Nobody was the best way to go.

Since I wrote that, every head coaching vacancy has been filled by a Nobody. Harbaugh in Baltimore, Sparano in Miami, Smith in Atlanta, and now Zorn in Washington. They are all following my advice!

But...I've changed my mind. Well, tweaked it actually. I just heard Jim Fassel being interviewed on ESPN Radio. Fassel led the 2000 Giants to the NFC Championship, but has been unable to land a head coaching gig since. In fact, he just lost the Redskins job to a Nobody, Jim Zorn. Zorn has some fame as a QB, but as a coach, his resume is pretty thin - he has never been a head coach or even a coordinator on any level.

Fassel made an interesting point: he said that 8 of the last 10 Super Bowls have been won by guys on their 2nd job. I checked, and he's right:

1. Tom Coughlin - Giants (Jags)
2. Tony Dungy - Colts (Bucs)
3. Bill Cowher - Steelers (first job)
4. Bill Belichick - Pats (Browns)
4. Belichick
5. Jon Gruden - Bucs (Raiders)
4. Belichick
6. Brian Billick - Ravens (first job)
7. Mike Shanahan - Broncos (Raiders)
7. Shanahan

Three titles were won by guys who were succesful, but ringless, in their first job (1,2,5). Five were won by two guys who were unsuccesful in their first job (4,7). And two were won by guys in their first job (3,6).

So, new rule for the 21st century NFL: hire a guy with NFL head coaching experience, whether it's modestly succesful or not. By this rule, it appears the Seahawks, who just announced Jim Mora Jr. will succeed Mike Holmgren in 2008, made the right call.

All the other teams, who probably made their hire after reading FreeTime, I offer my apologies.

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