The 2014 Coaching Crystal Ball

As of late January there will now be 7 new head coaches in the NFL this fall. Certainly, each team feels it has upgraded the most critical job in the entire organization. But have they really?

We have studied every head coach in the NFL over the past half century and have come up with a model of the “perfect pro football coach”. Using our model, we have compared each of the attributes of each of these new men to predict who has the best chance of coaching success – on paper at least.

With a score of 100 being “perfect” here is how we see the new group making out.
• Bill O’Brien – Houston 74
• Lovie Smith- Tampa Bay 74
• Jim Caldwell – Detroit 68
• Mike Zimmer – Minnesota 68
• Mike Pettine – Cleveland 67
• Ken Whisenhunt – Tennessee 55
• Jay Gruden Washington 51

These scores suggest that O’Brien and Smith should turn out to be solid NFL head coaches. Caldwell, Pettine, and Zimmer are less certain and could go either way. It is likely that Tennessee and Washington will be out looking for coaches again in the next few years.

In general, we do not like new head coaches who have been NFL head coaches previously. In fact, in about two-thirds of the cases the coach does worse in his next head coaching job. He was probably fired the first time with good reason. We also put a lot of weight in a coach’s career winning percentage everywhere he has been and in every football job, including as a player. Ken Whisenhunt, for instance, has an overall career winning record of under 50%. We also feel college coaching experience is important and are not sure how Jay Gruden’s arena league experience will translate. All have been NFL coordinators, which we believe is a critical credential.

Are any of these guys upgrades over the men who were shown the door? Time will tell.

For more on on how we rate head coaches visit our website- .

The Perfect Pro Football Coach by Robert DeLuca is now available at the I Bookstore and most other national EBook booksellers.


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