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Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Re-tread NFL coaches are losing out to young coordinators in head coaching carousel


First-year coaches like Jim Harbaugh are faring better this season than re-treads like Mike Shanahan. (Patrick Smith - Getty Images)
It would seem your car and your favorite franchise have something in common. When it comes to deciding on tires, go with the new one over the re-tread — it may not be safe.

More and more coaching vacancies are being filled with the exciting young coordinator, leaving the veteran coach who someone decided couldn’t do the job anymore to fill the broadcast booth. Just watch the NFL pre-game shows, it’s a venerable whose who of former coaches, most boasting Super Bowl appearances on their resume.

Over the last couple seasons, teams have gone for the new guy who wants to forge his own image over the coach looking for his second or third gig. The Cleveland Browns tapped Pat Shurmur, Mike Munchak replaced Jeff Fisher with the Tennessee Titans, Hue Jackson took the Raiders job, and even “America’s Team” went with inexperienced Jason Garrett who replaced Wade Philips when the Cowboys were looking for a team leader. The Minnesota Vikings went with former interim coach Leslie Frazier, too.

And it’s paying off for most teams. San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh has his team perched at 10-2 and looking at a playoff bye and a home game. Not bad for a rookie! If you go back a few seasons, where the trend really started, the number of teams really sticks out at you. The Rams, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Lions, Packers, Chiefs, Colts, Ravens, Dolphins, Jets and Texans all picked first-time head coaches to lead their franchises, rather than go with someone who failed with another.

Of the few teams that did decide to recycle — Seattle with Pete Carroll, Washington with Mike Shanahan, the Chargers with Norv Turner, the Bills with Chan Gailey, Denver with John Fox and Cincinnati with Marvin Lewis — only the Broncos and Bengals currently own winning records. It’s great news for all of the hard working offensive and defensive coordinators out there, but not so good for head coaches who get their pink slips.

But hey, if they can’t find a new sideline to pace, there’s always room for another expert NFL analyst in Bristol, CT.

By Nick Houllis  |  11:55 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Tags:  Nick Houllis

 
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