Comparing the Lions' head coaching candidates

Frederick Breedon

A comparison of the Detroit Lions' four candidates for their head coaching job.

The Detroit Lions have already interviewed three head coaching candidates, and a fourth interview is scheduled to take place on Thursday. There is a common theme with all of the candidates the Lions are interviewing: All four are former NFL head coaches and all four have offensive backgrounds. And if you want to take things a step further, three of the Lions' candidates have offensive coordinator experience as well. Take a look:

  • Jim Caldwell - former Colts head coach, current Ravens offensive coordinator
  • Gary Kubiak - former Texans head coach, former Broncos offensive coordinator
  • Mike Munchak - former Titans head coach, former Titans offensive line coach
  • Ken Whisenhunt - former Cardinals head coach, current Chargers offensive coordinator, former Steelers offensive coordinator

With so much in common among the Lions' four candidates, let's compare how each performed as a head coach in the NFL by looking at the raw numbers:

Jim Caldwell Gary Kubiak Mike Munchak Ken Whisenhunt
Seasons as head coach
3 (Colts) 8* (Texans) 3 (Titans) 6 (Cardinals)
Record 26-22 (.542)
61-64 (.488)
22-26 (.458)
45-51 (.469)
Average wins per year 8.7 7.6 7.3 7.5
Average losses per year 7.3 8 8.7 8.5
Playoff appearances 2 2 0 2
Playoff record 2-2 (.500)
2-2 (.500)
0-0 (.000)
4-2 (.667)
Super Bowl trips 1 0 0 1
Super Bowl titles 0 0 0 0

*Kubiak was fired during the 2013 season after a 2-11 start

The tough thing about comparing these numbers is that every situation is different. Caldwell, for example, has the best record of the bunch, but he's the only coach who had a quarterback like Peyton Manning (before he got hurt, that is). Along the same lines, Munchak has the worst record, but he didn't have much stability at the quarterback position because Jake Locker hasn't been able to stay healthy.

You can really make a case for and against all of these coaches. Some coaches have stronger cases than others, though, and in all honesty, very few of those numbers stand out as being overly impressive. Each of these coaches has his strengths, but all of them have their flaws as well. For the Lions, their decision will ultimately come down to which coach is the best fit to lead them into the future since the numbers don't even come close to telling the whole story.

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