How Jim Schwartz compares to head coaches who made it to a sixth season

Jason Miller

How does Jim Schwartz stack up with head coaches who made it beyond five seasons? Let's examine the numbers.

At this time a year ago, with the Detroit Lions on their way to a disappointing 4-12 season, there was a lot of talk about the status of head coach Jim Schwartz. He finished 2012 on the hot seat, but since he just got a contract extension the summer before, the Lions opted to bring him back for 2013.

Fast forward to now and Schwartz is back on the hot seat despite the fact that the Lions are currently in first place in the NFC North. A 6-3 start to 2013 has turned into a 7-6 record with three weeks to go, and now there are big question marks surrounding the idea of a sixth season in Detroit for Schwartz and this coaching staff.

When Schwartz was on the hot seat last year, I went back to 1990 and looked at the records of head coaches who managed to make it to year No. 5 of their tenure. I found that only David Shula had a worse record than Schwartz and actually saw a fifth season, and he was fired after starting his fifth season 1-6.

The Lions ended up keeping Schwartz in place for 2013, but it remains to be seen if he will actually make it to a sixth season as head coach. How does he stack up with the head coaches since 1990 who did last at least six years? It's not pretty for Schwartz, to say the least:

Coach Team First 5 years Wins in first 5 Losses/ties in first 5 Super Bowls in first 5
Titles in first 5
Playoffs in first 5 What happened after first 5 seasons?
Jim Schwartz Lions 2009-2013 29 48 0 0 1 To be determined
Norv Turner Redskins 1994-1998 32 48 0 0 0 Fired in 2000 (17-12 after)
Dave Wannstedt Bears 1993-1997 36 44 0 0 1 Fired after 1998 (4-12 after)
Dan Reeves Falcons 1997-2001 37 43 1 0 1 Fired in 2003 (12-17 after)
Gary Kubiak Texans 2006-2010 37 43 0 0 0 Fired in 2013 (24-21 after)
Jon Gruden Buccaneers 2002-2006 39 41 1 1 2 Fired after 2008 (18-14 after)
Ken Whisenhunt Cardinals 2007-2011 40 40 1 0 2 Fired after 2012 (5-11 after)
Mike Holmgren Seahawks 1999-2003 41 39 0 0 2 Retired after 2008 (45-35 after)
Marvin Lewis Bengals 2003-2007 42 38 0 0 1 Still head coach (46-46-1 since)
Jim Haslett Saints 2000-2004 42 38 0 0 1 Fired after 2005 (3-13 after)
John Fox Panthers 2002-2006 44 36 1 0 2 Contract not renewed after 2010 (29-35 after)
Jim Fassel Giants 1997-2001 44 36 1 0 2 Fired after 2003 (14-18 after)
Jeff Fisher Oilers/Titans 1995-1999 44 36 1 0 1 Fired after 2010 (97-79 after)
Tony Dungy Buccaneers 1996-2000 45 35 0 0 3 Fired after 2001 (9-7 after)
Jack Del Rio Jaguars 2003-2007 45 35 0 0 2 Fired in 2011 (23-36 after)
Lovie Smith Bears 2004-2008 45 35 1 0 2 Fired after 2012 (36-28 after)
Brian Billick Ravens 1999-2003 47 33 1 1 3 Fired after 2007 (33-31 after)
Dennis Green Vikings 1992-1996 47 33 0 0 4 Fired in 2001 (50-29 after)
Tom Coughlin Giants 2004-2008 47 33 1 1 4 Still head coach (41-36 since)
Steve Mariucci 49ers 1997-2001 47 33 0 0 3 Fired after 2002 (10-6 after)
Mike McCarthy Packers 2006-2010 48 32 1 1 3 Still head coach (32-12-1 since)
Tom Coughlin Jaguars 1995-1999 49 31 0 0 4 Fired after 2002 (19-29 after)
Sean Payton Saints 2006-2010 49 31 1 1 3 Still head coach (21-5 since)
Norv Turner Chargers 2007-2011 49 31 0 0 3 Fired after 2012 (7-9 after)
Mike Holmgren Packers 1992-1996 51 29 1 1 4 Resigned after 1998 (24-8 after)
Andy Reid Eagles 1999-2003 51 29 0 0 4 Fired after 2012 (79-64-1 after)
Mike Martz Rams 2000-2004 51 29 1 0 4 Fired after 2005 (2-3 after)
Mike Shanahan Broncos 1995-1999 53 27 2 2 3 Fired after 2008 (85-59 after)
Mike Sherman Packers 2000-2004 53 27 0 0 4 Fired after 2005 (4-12 after)
Bill Belichick Patriots 2000-2004 53 27 3 3 3 Still head coach (108-33 since)
Bill Cowher Steelers 1992-1996 53 27 1 0 5 Retired after 2006 (96-63-1 after)
John Harbaugh Ravens 2008-2012 54 26 1 1 5 Still head coach (7-6 since)
Mike Tomlin Steelers 2007-2011 55 25 2 1 4 Still head coach (13-16 since)
Mike Smith Falcons 2008-2012 56 24 0 0 4 Still head coach (3-10 since)
Tony Dungy Colts 2002-2006 60 20 1 1 5 Retired after 2008 (25-7 after)

(Note: Only coaches who were hired in 1990 or later were considered.)

Even if the Lions win out, Schwartz will only be able to match Norv Turner for the fewest wins of any head coach since 1990 who made it to a sixth season. In Turner's case, he went 32-47-1 in his first five seasons and somehow wasn't fired despite not having a single playoff appearance with the Washington Redskins. He did take the Redskins to the playoffs in his sixth season thanks to a 10-6 record, but Washington canned him midway through his seventh season despite the Redskins being 7-6 at the time.

It's worth noting that every situation is different, as evidenced by the fact that Schwartz is the only coach on the above list who took over a 0-16 team. It's also worth noting that injuries to Matthew Stafford played a role in Schwartz having an 8-24 record in his first two seasons in Detroit. Of course, it's also worth noting that Schwartz's record is only 21-24 since then. Considering the Lions went to the playoffs in 2011 and are in first place right now, things have generally been better in the last few years, even with last year's 4-12 season factored in, but his record still hasn't been great.

Essentially, the conclusion to this study is the same as last year's. If the Lions decide to bring back Schwartz, it will be an exercise of patience given his record. Simply based on what's happened since 1990, it was surprising that Schwartz was even brought back for a fifth season. Unless the Lions put together a strong finish to the 2013 campaign by winning the division and making a run in the playoffs, a sixth season for Schwartz would be even more of a surprise based simply on the last couple decades in the NFL.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker