FanPost

Food for Thought Regarding the Coaching Search

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via tedsundquist38.com

I've spent quite a bit of time over the past two weeks reading not only the latest news on the Lions coaching search, but also the various POD comments concerning who the Lions ARE interviewing, who the lions SHOULD interview, and why the FO is ruining our lives by interviewing "retreads" and "nobodies" that have more "flaws" than... well... something with a lot of flaws.

While I was reading all of your posts, I started to think to myself, what is the most basic requirement that could be used to describe what the Lions need their next head coach to do? I'm not talking about "fixing" Matthew Stafford, or utilizing our defensive pieces in the 4-3 system. I'm not even talking about being a "leader of men" or a strict disciplinarian. Let's face it, the thing that we all want in our next coach is the ability get this team over the proverbial hump, by delivering playoff wins, and with the right amount of talent (check), luck ( ), and proper coaching ( ), deliver a championship to a proud city that has stood by its team through thin and thinner.

With Super Bowls in mind, I chose to take a look at the head coaches from the last 10 Super Bowl winners and see where they came from. What were they doing when they received the keys to the car that would drive them to Canton? Is there a magic formula to choosing a head coach that the Lions have yet to crack? Take a look at a readers digest version of my data below as well as my opinions and then discuss and decide for yourself if you think it's really necessary that the Lions find a coach with successful head coaching experience (i.e. Dungy, Gruden, Cowher, etc.).

Bill Belichick

Position Prior to HC: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs coach with 1999 NY Jets (8-8) under Bill Parcells.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 8-8
Team Record in First Year: 5-11
Succeeded: Pete Carroll (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XXXIX, XXXVIII, XXXVI Wins
  • 3x AP NFL Coach of the Year
  • 36-44 Record as HC of Browns (1st Head Coaching job)/ 178-67 record as HC of Patriots (2nd head Coaching Job)

Jon Gruden

Position Prior to HC: Head Coach for the Oakland Raiders traded to Buccaneers for 2 First Round Draft Picks & 8 Million.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 9-7
Team Record in First Year: 12-4
Succeeded: Tony Dungy (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XXXVII Win

Tony Dungy

Position Prior to HC: Head Coach for Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) fired for repeated playoff losses including blowout loss to Eagles in 2001.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 6-10
Team Record in First Year: 10-6
Succeeded: Jim Mora (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLI Win
  • Credited with constructing 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship team coached by Jon Gruden.

Tom Coughlin

Position Prior to HC: Head Coach for Jacksonville Jaguars (career record 68-60) fired after 6-10 season in 2002.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 4-12
Team Record in First Year: 6-10
Succeeded: Jim Fassel (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLII & XLVI Wins
  • 1996 Coach of the Year (with Jacksonville)

Mike McCarthy

Position Prior to HC: Offensive Coordinator for San Francisco 49ers (4-12) under Mike Nolan.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 4-12
Team Record in First Year: 8-8
Succeeded: Mike Sherman (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLV Win
  • 2007 Runner Up AP Coach of the Year

Sean Payton

Position Prior to HC: Defensive Coordinator with 2002 NY Giants (relieved of play calling duties) then hired by Dallas Cowboys (2003-2005) who finished 9-7 in 2005.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 3-13
Team Record in First Year: 10-6
Succeeded: Jim Haslett (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLIV Win
  • Suspended for 1 Season as a result of the Bounty Scandal
  • 2007 Coach of the Year

Bill Cowher

Position Prior to HC: Defensive Coordinator with 1989 Kansas City Chiefs (7-8-1) under Marty Schottenheimer.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 7-9
Team Record in First Year: 11-5
Succceeded: Chuck Knol (Retired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XL Win
  • Youngest Coach to Coach a Superbowl (at the time)
  • 8 Division Titles, 10 Playoff Berths.

Mike Tomlin

Position Prior to HC: Defensive Coordinator with 2006 Minnesota Vikings (6-10) under Brad Childress.
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 8-8
Team Record in First Year: 10-6
Succeeded: Bill Cowher (Retired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLIII Win
  • Youngest Coach to Coach a Superbowl
  • 2008 Coach of the Year

John Harbaugh

Position Prior to HC: Special Team/ Defensive Backs Coordinator for 2007 Philadelphia Eagles (8-8).
Team Record Year Prior to HC: 5-11
Team Record in First Year: 11-5
Succeeded: Brian Billick (Fired)
HC Career Highlights

  • Superbowl XLVII Win
  • Only HC to win a playoff game in each of his first 5 years.

The most interesting thing that I took away from this list is that none of these coaches were on what would be considered GREAT teams prior to being chosen as head coach. True that some of them are part of various coaching "trees", but with the obvious exception of Tony Dungy, most of them were on .500 teams that didn't make the playoffs in the year before they were hired, and now they're considered some of the best coaches in the NFL. This says to me, that I'd rather the Lions didn't chase a name and focus more on getting the right candidate. I won't pretend to know what that means, but I'm not going to go jumping to conclusions if they hire someone from out of nowhere like a John Harbaugh, Mike McCarthy, or Sean Payton or heaven forbid a "retread" like Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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