Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Newer and Younger

Here's a few coaching stats following the Super Bowl that you may or may not know:

Out of the 43 Super Bowls that have been played:

there have been 20 times when both head coaches have been at their first NFL coaching job
20 t
imes when at least one of the Super Bowl head coaches have been at their first job
and only 3 times when neither Super Bowl head coaches were in their first job (Bill Belichick vs. Tom Coughlin last year, Belichick vs. weepy Dick Vermeil in 2001, and Dan Reeves vs. Mike Shanahan in 1998)

Basically if the Super Bowl didn't involve the Bill Belichick or Dan Reeves exception (coaches good enough to get the the Super Bowl yet not able to stay with original team), it usually involves first time coaches.

This begs
the question: What in the name of pigskin are Jerry Jones and Alex Spanos doing?

Both owners should have seen some pattern over the past few years as to who was winning Super Bowls, you don't make multi-million dollar decisions without researching them first. Yet here are these two owners who got out and put the fate of the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers in the hands of coaching retreads who have yet to even MAKE the big game, let alone win it.

I unders
tood the first retreads Jones and Spanos brought in. Bill Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer are known for their ability to build teams into winners. Both coaches are also known to be short stays wherever they go due to boredom or control issues.

So when the inevitable happened, Parcells retiring for the 129th time and Schottenheimer butting heads with management, both football teams should have been ready to move on with a coach to take the talented teams over
the top.

Instead, both Jones and Spanos came up with a hire that installed zero confidence in the fan base. Wade Phillips and Norv Turner had only minor success at other stops and while Turner has shown some post-season ability with the Chargers, Phillips has failed over and over again with the Cowboys.

In eith
er case, both teams very well have missed their window of opportunity to make it to the big game. The Chargers could still make it, but LaDanian is fading fast and the Chargers can't keep finding Darren Sproles and Michael Turner type studs to replace him. If Turner can't bring it all together in the next two years, San Diego will begin the slow decent into rebuilding mode.

The Cowboys are even worse off since Jones has decided to be in charge of the draft again which means there will be zero talent coming in. The Cowboys had their big chance last ye
ar, but they kept screwing around with the Giants and it eventually cost them.

The point is, whether it's real or perception, head coaches tend to make impressions early with teams
and if it doesn't work out, they're damaged goods. It's not a coincidence that only Dan Reeves has made it to a Super Bowl with the third team he's coached (Atlanta). Either the coaches don't have the ability to coach big games, or players don't believe in him due to past failures.

I know it's not easy to go out and just "find" some kind of Mike Tomlin coaching virtuoso, but you have to try and find someone who the team and fans can rally behind. If the new coach brings a hint of failure with him, the players are less likely to accept him.

Both Phillips and Turner are on their third team and had little post-season success at the first two stops. The odds aren't good for either Dallas or San Diego making the Super Bowl.

I guess that shampoo commercial was right: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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