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  • As we launch into NFL coach firing and hiring season, it’s a good time to remember to stay patient for a year or two with a first-year head coach ... and that your team’s playoff hopes aren’t completely gone.
By Conor Orr
December 31, 2018

Coach firing and hiring season is a wonderful glimpse of the lifecycle of fans’ patience. Around this time of year, we of bad-team-loving disposition are all pragmatists. We are financial advisers devouring the idea of something sustainable being built for another generation.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t have immediate success! We need to install a culture of winning!

Then, three months into the following season, when your new head coach is pilfering every last ounce of joy from your soul as he jettisons beloved franchise icons, rams a broken offense down the field, punts well into the fourth quarter despite trailing by more than 20 points, flames tired local beat writers for asking basic questions about his crumbling tactics and lives out each day as a walking contradiction to the set of values he claims define his life, you start to think Man, we should have hired someone else.

Let’s be honest, a playoff appearance is really the only thing that completely validates a new coaching hire for fans. We want what other teams have. Think Sean McVay in 2017. Andy Reid in 2013. Hell, Chip Kelly in 2013. And here’s the weird thing to consider as we approach Black Monday: It happens more than you think.

Here’s every new coaching hire since 2008, and whether or not they made the postseason:

2008

Mike Smith, Falcons: Yes, lost Wild Card
John Harbaugh, Ravens: Yes, lost in the conference title game
Mike Singletary, 49ers: No
Tony Sparano, Dolphins: Yes, lost Wild Card
Jim Zorn, Redskins: No

2009

Jim Schwartz, Lions: No
Rex Ryan, Jets: Yes, lost in AFC title game
Steve Spagnuolo, Rams: No
Raheem Morris, Buccaneers: No
Josh McDaniels, Broncos: No
Jim Caldwell, Colts: Yes, lost in Super Bowl
Todd Haley, Chiefs: No

2010

Pete Carroll, Seahawks: Yes, lost in the divisional round
Chan Gailey, Bills: No
Jason Garrett, Cowboys: No
Mike Shanahan, Redskins: No

2011

Ron Rivera, Panthers: No
John Fox, Broncos: Yes, lost in the divisional round
Leslie Frazier, Vikings: No
Pat Shurmur, Browns: No
Hue Jackson, Raiders: No
Jim Harbaugh, 49ers: Yes, lost in the conference title game
Mike Munchak, Titans: No

2012

Greg Schiano, Buccaneers: No
Jeff Fisher, Rams: No
Dennis Allen, Raiders: No
Chuck Pagano, Colts: Yes, lost in wild card
Mike Mularkey, Jaguars: No
Joe Philbin, Dolphins: No

2013

Andy Reid, Chiefs: Yes, lost in wild card
Chip Kelly, Eagles: Yes, lost in wild card
Marc Trestman, Bears: No
Gus Bradley, Jaguars: No
Mike McCoy, Chargers: Yes, lost in divisional round
Doug Marrone, Bills: No
Rob Chudzinski, Browns: No
Bruce Arians, Cardinals: No

2014

Bill O’Brien, Texans: No
Lovie Smith, Buccaneers: No
Jay Gruden, Redskins: No
Mike Zimmer, Vikings: No
Mike Pettine, Browns: No
Ken Whisenhunt, Titans: No
Jim Caldwell, Lions: Yes, lost in Wild Card

2015

Dan Quinn, Falcons: No
Rex Ryan, Bills: No
Jack Del Rio, Raiders: No
John Fox, Bears: No
Todd Bowles, Jets: No
Gary Kubiak, Broncos: Yes, won Super Bowl
Jim Tomsula, 49ers: No

2016

Doug Pederson, Eagles: No
Mike Mularkey, Titans: No
Adam Gase, Dolphins: Yes, lost wild card
Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: No
Hue Jackson, Browns: No
Ben McAdoo, Giants: Yes, lost wild card
Chip Kelly, 49ers: No

2017

Doug Marrone, Jaguars: Yes, lost AFC title game
Anthony Lynn, Chargers: No
Sean McDermott, Bills: Yes, lost wild card
Vance Joseph, Broncos: No
Sean McVay, Rams: Yes, lost wild card
Kyle Shanahan, 49ers: No

2018:

Frank Reich, Colts: Yes
Matt Nagy, Bears: Yes
Steve Wilks, Cardinals: No
Matt Patricia, Lions: No
Pat Shurmur, Giants: No
Jon Gruden, Raiders: No
Mike Vrabel, Titans: No

For those counting at home, that’s 21 of 71 hires making the playoffs. Thirty percent, which is…not bad! You have about as good a chance of reaching the playoffs with a new coach as Kyle Kuzma does hitting a three pointer in the NBA this season. Maybe the Browns were on to something all these years. Of course, many of these coaches who didn’t reach the playoffs panned out. Zimmer, Arians, Pederson, Lynn. In some cases, it’s worth the wait.

But… you know yourself well enough to know whether you’ll be patient enough for year two. And now you know the odds in year one.

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PRESS COVERAGE

1. The power troika of Caldwell, Marrone and Coughlin will remain in 2019.

2. Jon Gruden is eyeing….Mike Mayock(!) as his next general manager.

3. Cool to see: Teddy Bridgewater throws his first touchdown in three years.

4. This won’t get the dusty Peyton Manning treatment, but it’s nice to hear a 12-year-veteran—center Ryan Kalil—pour his heart out after his last NFL game.

5. From The New York Times: A Journey Into the Solar System’s Outer Reaches, Seeking New Worlds to Explore

6. Shannon Sharpe goes all-in on Julian Edelman, labeling him a dirty player. Where is the line between dirt and grit? He has a theory.

7. So many quarterbacks catching touchdowns!


THE KICKER

As we approach 2019, some wise words from newsletter founder Jacob Feldman: It doesn’t really matter what happens in the NFL. We’re all gonna die.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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