CAMDEN — If the end of the year marks a time for people to close one chapter and begin another, Eagles fans throughout the region are already reading ahead.
It’s been a long, difficult football season in Philadelphia and many fans have taken to sports talk radio programs to voice their unhappiness and call for the firing of long-time head coach Andy Reid.
In response, a Rutgers–Camden researcher has done some digging to determine the success rate of new head coaching hires in the NFL. Do coaching changes bring promises of greener pastures and championship parades?
“Ultimately, the success of anyone who gets the job will depend on his skills as a leader, administrator, and strategist, but we can statistically assess the potential for former Super Bowl winners, retread former NFL head coaches, untried NFL assistants, and college hotshots,” says John Maxymuk, a reference librarian at Rutgers–Camden’s Paul Robeson Library.
Maxymuk is the author of NFL Head Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary, 1920-2011 (McFarland, 2012), the definitive guide to every NFL head coach in league history.
“For the purposes of this quick study of NFL coaching history, I have assumed that what Eagles fans and the team’s management must value above all at this point is winning a championship,” Maxymuk explains.
Maxymuk says there have been 40 coaches who have won at least one championship since 1950 in the modern NFL era. That means out of 356 head coaching hires, 11.2 percent have won a championship.
“Clearly, hiring a championship coach is a long shot, but how do the various population groups break down?” he asks.
Maxymuk’s research shows:Out of 243 hires of first time NFL head coaches in the last 62 years, 28 won championships (11.5 percent).Of those 243 first time coaches, 25 came from the college ranks with no NFL coaching experience and 12 percent of them won titles.Eleven out of 89 former NFL coaches who had yet to win a championship and were rehired won a title with their second team (12.4 percent).Twenty coaches who previously won a championship were rehired elsewhere, but only one (Weeb Ewbank) won it all again. Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren each lost a Super Bowl at their second stops.
So what does it all mean for Eagles fans eager for a new coach?
“What we can conclude from this small sample is that there is not much difference between the different hiring pools aside from the big drop off for coaches who have already won a title,” Maxymuk says. “Whether those coaches lose some of their drive or become more predictable as they become more familiar, it’s clear that repeat triumph is highly unlikely.”
So, who does Maxymuk think the Eagles should target (assuming they part ways with Reid)?
“The study’s one suggestion is, whatever you do, don’t hire Jon Gruden,” he suggests.
Maxymuk is the author of several other NFL books, including Eagles by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players who Wore Them (Camino Books 2005); Uniform Numbers of the NFL: All-Time Rosters, Facts and Figures (McFarland, 2005); Eagles Facts and Trivia: Puzzlers for the Bird-Brained (Camino Books, 2006); and Quarterback Abstract (Triumph Books, 2009).
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Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse