Most successful NFL coaches have seasonal records that look like the classic bell curve: rising winning percentages peaking at the height of their careers and then descending over the final years of coaching.
There are, of course, a few exceptions – and they tend to be at the top of the list of all-time winningest head coaches list.
A few of the great ones, as shown in the list below never experienced a major end-of-career slump. Andy Reid is actually getting better – from 1999 through 2012 with the Eagles, he was 130-93 (.583), but with the Chiefs over the last four years he’s at 38-19 (.667). Columns are: number of years as head coach, years in the league, win-loss record over that span of years, and winning percentage.
John Madden (OAK) – 10 – 1969-1978 – 103-32 – .750
Vince Lombardi (GB) – 10 – 1959-1969 – 96-34 – .738
Tony Dungy (TB-IND) – 13 – 1996-2008 – 139-69 – .668
Bill Belichick (NE) – 21 – 1991-2016 – 230-115 – .667
Andy Reid (PHI-KC) – 18 – 1999-2016 – 168-112 – .600
Note: If playoff records are included, Lombardi has a higher winning percentage than Madden.
Here is a partial list of successful coaches who fit the bell-shaped curve pattern; the top line shows their glory years, and the second line records their final years of coaching.
Don Shula (MIA) – 32 – 1963-1985 – 168-63 – .727
1986-1995 – 89-70 – .560
Tom Landry (DAL) – 29 – 1966-1983 – 189-66 – .741
1984-1988 – 36-43 – .456
Bud Grant (MIN) – 18 – 1969-1978 – 104-36 – .743
1079-1985 – 43-46 – .483
Chuck Noll (PIT) – 23 – 1972-1984 – 130-58 – .691
1985-1991 – 51-60 – .459
George Seifert (SF-CAR) – 11 – 1989-1996 – 98-30 – .766
1999-2001 – 16-32 – .333
Bill Cowher (PIT) – 15 – 1992-1997 – 64-32 – .667
1998-2006 – 85-58 – .594
Mike Holmgren (GB-SEA) – 17 – 1995-1998 – 48-16 – .750
1999-2008 – 86-74 – .537
Mike Shanahan (DEN) – 20 – 1996-2005 – 106-54 – .662
2006-2013 – 48-64 – .429
As I was writing this, USA Today was on a similar train of thought.
“Many of the game’s great coaches had their best years early. Don Shula’s two Super Bowl titles with the Miami Dolphins came in his third and fourth seasons. Three of Bill Belichick’s four Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots came in his first five seasons. Chuck Noll coached the Steelers for 23 years, but each of his four Super Bowl titles came in the first 11 seasons. Joe Gibbs coached Washington for 16 years, but each of his three titles came in his first 11 seasons.”
Mile McCarthy is in his 11th year as a head coach, all with Green Bay. His record of 108-60 computes to a fine .642 win percentage. However, he appears to have begun his coaching descent.
While many people are still viewing McCarthy as the coach he once was, more astute observers are realizing he just isn’t that coach anymore.
What is being missed is that McCarthy is a jerk. Now, I don’t mean that as simply as it sounds. I think most know he is a bad person but they do not connect it with his coaching success or lack.
It is fair to ask: What the heck is Killer talking about?
Here is how it works. A Head Coach, just by the title, get a lot of automatic respect. Players want to do their best for themselves AND the coach. They WANT to believe.
Wins validate that belief in the coach. So silly clock management and bad play calls are attributed as being exceptions. Have an old groundskeeper fired for wishing the team bad luck? Well, uh, must have been a miscommunication….
In other words players continue to give the extra difference-making effort by maintaining the illusion the coach is competent and a good person worth fighting hard for.
But, eventually, the players get it. Reality sinks in. The illusion dissipates like swamp gas under a noon sun. The nonsense spoken at the media and letting go hard-working players respected by the whole locker room (see Sitton, Josh) become overwhelming in frequency and impossible to ignore.
The credibility and faith are gone. As they should be.
Correction: The groundskeeper wished the team GOOD luck.
Sorry for the error.
Well, it’s true. McCarthy is no adrian peterson…Man of the Year.
11/18/2016 at 4:51 pm
But listen killer….What main viking blog do you comment in, and what is your username there?
11/19/2016 at 9:24 am
That is a secret Mont-, err, I mean, Piffle.
So, just to clarify…..It’s ok for you to come to our site and post, but it’s not ok for us to come to your site to post?
This team is a mess. And that includes qb1
Maybe, just maybe, McCarthy was never the coach he thought he was.
Its time for Packer Nation to unite and do whatever we can to make sure Murphy cleans house, anyway, anyhow. Who the F%$K wants to sit thru this trainwreck, only to be told at end of the year, FAT MIKE & Cadaver Thompson are coming back for 2017!!!!! FKG NOBODY wants to hear that shit!!!!!!!!!!!
It SICKENS me to see a nearly dead Thompson sitting in press box, looking like Mother Teresa and that SLOB McCarthy on sideline. I can handle the embarrassment for 6 more games, but if they do not flush this regime into the sewer, I’m gonna lose it!!
Can never count on “Tidy Whitey” jock sniffing Green Bay Media to get under Thompson, McCarthy skin and let those barnacles hang themselves.