Worst Head Coach in Every NFL Team's History
But is he the worst coach in the history of the Chargers?
Further, who are the worst coaches in each NFL team's history?
Before we get started, keep in mind some of the criteria taken into consideration:
1) Only hired head coaches were considered. If you were an inept interim head coach, you're exempt.
2) Only head coaches hired after 1966, the AFL/NFL merger, were eligible.
3) The rubric was based on record, impact and expectations.
Cleveland Browns: Chris Palmer
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Chris Palmer had the difficult assignment of being the first Cleveland Browns head coach after their short absence from the league. However, that doesn't excuse a .156 winning percentage.
Two years after Palmer was fired, new head coach Butch Davis secured the Browns a playoff berth.
The only real defense Palmer can play is that he was saddled with Tim Couch. Palmer is currently the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans.
Cincinnati Bengals: Dave Shula
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The Cincinnati Bengals brought in Dave Shula hoping his father's coaching genius was passed through the gene pool.
Dave Shula was hired at the young age of 32. His tenure with Cincinnati included consecutive 3-13 records in 1993 and 1994.
Many of the coaches on this list would go on to have long careers as coordinators after being fired, but Shula decided to leave the football world after he was sacked.
He decided to join the steakhouse business and is now the president of Shula Steakhouses.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Bill Austin
photo via packerville.blogspot.com
The Steelers have had three head coaches since Bill Austin was removed (Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin), and each of them have won a Super Bowl.
Austin was fired after failing to have a winning record in his three seasons as head coach.
Austin coached the Steelers from 1966-68.
Baltimore Ravens: Ted Marchibroda
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The Baltimore Ravens have only had three head coaches, and Marchibroda is the only one of the three to never reach the playoffs.
Marchibroda had a long coaching career before he became the first Baltimore Ravens head coach. He had success coaching the Colts in Baltimore in the 1970s and later in the '90s with the Indianapolis Colts.
The year before being hired by the Ravens, Marchibroda led the Colts to the AFC championship.
However, despite prior NFL coaching success, Marchibroda struggled as the Ravens head coach.
Marchibroda's successor, Brian Billick, would win the franchise's only Super Bowl just two years into the job.
New York Jets: Rich Kotite
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Hiring Kotite was a decision that made sense for the Jets. He had some success while coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, as they were 21-11 in his first two seasons. Kotite was also a New York native and born in Brooklyn.
However, absolutely nothing went well for Kotite as coach of the New York Jets.
The true indictment of Kotite as the worst coach in Jets history is the team's instant success after his firing. The first season after his dismissal, the Jets went 9-7, and the next year they made the AFC Championship Game with a 12-4 record.
Kotite, like Dave Shula, never coached football again after his dismal tenure in New York.
Buffalo Bills: Kay Stephenson
photo via fanbase.com
Kay Stephenson's predecessor, Chuck Knox, was able to get the Bills to the playoffs multiple times and secured the 1980 Coach of the Year award.
This created a winning mentality that Stephenson was expected to continue during his tenure. He started off on a solid note, recording an 8-8 record in his first season.
It was all downhill from there.
In 1984, Stephenson and the Bills were a horrid 2-14, which began when they lost their first 11 games. They were beaten by 25 or more in an NFL-record six games.
The only coaching Stephenson did after being fired by the Bills took place in the now-disbanded World League.
Miami Dolphins: Cam Cameron
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Cam Cameron was hired to be the head coach during a rebuilding period for the Miami Dolphins, following former head coach Nick Saban's resignation to become the head coach at Alabama. He was signed to a four-year, $10 million dollar contract.
Just one year in, he was fired.
Cameron and the Dolphins started 0-13 before getting their first win. Making matters worse for Cameron, the Dolphins went 11-5 the following season under Tony Sparano.
Cameron is currently the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
New England Patriots: Rod Rust
photo via Focus on Sport/Getty Images (h/t espn.go.com)
Like Cam Cameron, if you show a team enough incompetence to be fired in one season, it's quite damning.
Under Rust, the Patriots had a despicable point differential, as the team scored only 181 points to 446 points allowed. They scored more than 10 points a mere six times in 1990.
Need I say more?
Denver Broncos: Josh McDaniels
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McDaniels' coaching woes in Denver took place both on and off the field.
Before coaching a game for the Broncos, McDaniels attempted to trade Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler for Matt Cassel. After the trade broke down and became public, the Broncos had to trade Cutler to Chicago.
In McDaniels' first season, the Broncos started 6-0; however, the team finished the remainder of the season 2-8. More controversy arrived toward the end of the 2009 when McDaniels benched Brandon Marshall, which led to him being traded to Miami.
The following season, McDaniels and the Broncos began 3-9. With four games remaining in the season, the Broncos fired him.
The following season, the Broncos won the AFC West and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
McDaniels landed on his feet after being fired, as he is currently the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
Kansas City Chiefs: Frank Gansz
photo via bobgretz.com
Gansz's tenure in Kansas City was short. He lasted only two seasons, both of which amassed a measly four victories.
Gansz's resume suffers further by the quick turnaround the Chiefs had under successor Marty Schottenheimer, who coached the Chiefs into the playoffs two seasons after Gansz was sacked.
San Diego Chargers: Mike Riley
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Mike Riley's first season coaching the Chargers, like a few coaches on this list, started off well. The Bolts went 8-8 with a 5-1 conclusion to the season. This created a false sense of excitement for Chargers fans.
The following season, 2000, the Chargers were 1-15, the worst record in Chargers history.
The dismal season was followed by another disappointing season. The Chargers went 5-11, after which Riley was fired.
Mike Riley now is the head coach of Oregon State.
Oakland Raiders: Norv Turner
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Picking the worst coach in Raiders history is no easy task. Tom Cable, Lane Kiffin and Art Shell (his second time coaching the team) all made cases to be the worst coach, but the award had to go to Norv.
In his two seasons as head coach, the Raiders resisted any semblance of competitiveness. Each season contained five-game losing streaks.
Turner, of course, is now the head coach for the San Diego Chargers, where he got consideration for that team's worst coach in history based on the destruction of San Diego's once-impressive roster.
Houston Texans: Dom Capers
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Capers was given the tricky task of becoming the first coach for the expansion Texans.
It didn't go well.
Considered a defense genius, Capers failed to achieve a winning season. His defenses ranked in the bottom fourth of the league each season, while his offense set the record for most sacks allowed in a single season.
In his final season, Capers etched a 2-14 record.
Despite all his failures, Capers was able to beat the cross-state foe, the Dallas Cowboys, in the team's franchise opener. This did not make Jerry Jones very happy with his coach at the time, who (spoiler alert) will appear as the worst coach in Dallas Cowboys history.
Capers is currently the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.
Indianapolis Colts: Rod Dowhower
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Rod Dowhower went 5-11 in his first season as head coach. But it was the next season that got the coach fired.
After starting 0-13, Dowhower was canned.
Ron Meyer was named the interim coach, and the Colts won their final three games of the season. The next year, Meyer and the Colts made the playoffs.
Houston Oilers/Tennesee Titans: Bill Peterson
photo via goldenrankings.com
The record speaks for itself. Peterson went 1-13 in his first season and was fired after an 0-5 start in his second season.
Two years removed from Peterson, the Oilers went 10-4.
Peterson, who had success coaching at Florida State previous to being hired by the Oilers, didn't coach again.
Considering his record in Houston, this was probably for the best.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack Del Rio
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This isn't fair to Del Rio, but the only other candidate was Tom Coughlin.
In his eight seasons as head coach, Del Rio only made the playoffs two times.
He's probably the best coach on this list.
Green Bay Packers: Bart Starr
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Bart Starr on a list of worsts? Yes, it may be hard to imagine, but the legendary player was a stinker of a coach. In his nine seasons as head coach, he only made the playoffs once, which was during the strike-shortened 1982 season that featured a 16-team wild-card format.
Starr was one of many outstanding players who struggled as a coach.
Following his dismissal, Starr didn't coach again.
Chicago Bears: Dick Jauron
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There have been coaches in Chicago Bears history with worse records then Jauron, but he is the worst coach they've had.
Hired in 1999, over Jauron's first two seasons the Bears were a dismal 11-21. In 2001, the Bears went 13-3, which might compel you to ask how Jauron could be on this list.
Well, in that year's playoffs, the Bears got smoked at home by the Eagles.
The next season, a season where the Bears were considered contenders for the first time since Mike Ditka, Jauron managed to post a 4-12 record with many of the same players on the roster as the 2001 season. He would get fired a year later.
Take out Jauron's 13-3 season and his record is 22-42.
Jauron would later be the head coach in Buffalo and is now the defensive coordinator for the Browns.
Detroit Lions: Marty Mornhinweg
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The Lions famously went the entire 2008 season without a victory. Yet coach Rod Marinelli is not the worst coach in franchise history, thanks to the incompetence of Mornhinweg.
Outside of his lowly record, Mornhinweg's unpleasant tenure in Detroit is marred by the worst coaching decision in the history of the profession.
In a Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears that went into overtime, Mornhinweg elected to kick the ball after winning the coin toss. Lest we not forget that this act of idiocy was before the overtime rule change; overtimes were still sudden death.
The Bears took possession, kicked a field goal and won the game.
To no one's surprise, Mornhinweg was fired following the season. He is now the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Minnesota Vikings: Les Steckel
photo via vikingsgab.com
Historically, the Minnesota Vikings have been extremely consistent. Since the merger, only three of their coaches have posted sub-.500 records. One of those was Mike Tice, who was only a game under; the other coach is current head coach Leslie Frazier.
Steckel had the unfortunate responsibility of following the legendary Bud Grant.
His one season as head coach is the worst in franchise history, and he was fired thereafter.
Dallas Cowboys: Dave Campo
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Campo is the only Cowboys head coach with a sub-.500 coaching record.
In his first season with the Cowboys—the final for quarterback Troy Aikman—the team went 5-11. The next season followed suit, as the Cowboys again went 5-11 and were riddled with issues at quarterback. Ryan Leaf even started a game for this team.
If Campo was anything, he was consistent. In his third and final season, the Cowboys again went 5-11. As previously mentioned, he lost to the upstart Houston Texans in the first game of the season.
He was fired the following year in favor of Bill Parcells.
He is now the defensive coordinator for the Kansas Jayhawks.
Philadelphia Eagles: Marion Campbell
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In 1983, Campbell was hired to replace Dick Vermeil. In his first season in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles went 5-11.
The following year was also disappointing, as the Eagles went 6-9-1. In his final season, the team was 6-9.
Where Campbell's record may not appear awful, his offenses were. His teams never passed the 300-point threshold in a season and ranked in the bottom fourth of the league each year in yardage per game.
For a fanbase and owner that had grown fond of Vermeil and the high-flying offense that accompanied him, Campbell was unpopular and fired after his third season.
New York Giants: Ray Handley
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Handley does not have the worst winning percentage in team history, but his results—given the pedigree of his rosters—make him New York's worst coach.
Handley failed to go .500 in his two seasons coaching the Giants in 1991-92. His ultimate undoing was being sandwiched between Bill Parcells and Dan Reeves.
In 1990, the Giants won the Super Bowl under Parcells. In 1993, Dan Reeves went 11-5 and won a playoff game.
Washington Redskins: Steve Spurrier
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Steve Spurrier is a legend in the college ranks, but his NFL experience was less than memorable.
His stint with the Redskins was short and featured an abundance of highly paid free agents who grossly underachieved.
Despite his five-year, $25 million record-setting contract, Spurrier resigned following his second season.
New Orleans Saints: Mike Ditka
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He's a legend in Chicago, but his memory is not as positive in the Big Easy.
His first two seasons were failures, as each ended in a sub-.500 record.
To end his New Orleans tenure, Ditka traded his entire draft class for Ricky Williams. The team finished 3-13, and Ditka went into retirement.
Making matters worse, his successor, Jim Haslett, guided the Saints to a 10-6 season and first-round bye in the 2000 playoffs, the season after Ditka left.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ray Perkins
photo via spokeo.com
Ray Perkins, also known as the coach who traded Steve Young, is the lowest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching failures.
Perkins coached the team for four seasons, despite never eclipsing six wins in any one season.
I'm not sure which is more of an indictment for Perkins coaching ineptitude, trading Young or his record.
He is currently the head coach for Jones County Junior College.
Carolina Panthers: Geore Seifert
Of the four head coaches the Panthers have had, Seifert is the worst.
Seifert's lackluster performance as the Panthers head coach deflated his coaching pedigree as a two-time Super Bowl champion in San Francisco. Seifert's first two seasons in Carolina were disappointing, but not complete failures, as he went 15-17.
The Panthers completely deteriorated during Seifert's third season in Carolina, as the team went 1-15. In his defense, his quarterback was Chris Weinke.
John Fox took the Panthers to the Super Bowl two seasons after Seifert was fired.
Atlanta Falcons: Marion Campbell
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This is not a list you want to be on twice.
Campbell somehow got two stints with the Falcons. The first, 1974-76, he went 6-19; the second, 1987-89, he went 11-32.
Combined with his Eagles record, his overall record is an abominable 34-80-1.
It's a mystery how this guy got hired three separate times.
San Francisco 49ers: Dennis Erickson
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After losing in the second round of the 2002 playoffs, the 49ers made a substantial mistake. They fired Steve Mariucci and hired journeyman Dennis Erickson.
The mistake was costly, as Erickson went 7-9 with a similar team.
In his second season, Erickson and 49ers management decided to replace Jeff Garcia with Tim Rattay, and the result was a complete derailment. The 49ers went 2-14.
Erickson was then fired, and the 49ers were forced to enter rebuilding mode.
St. Louis Rams: Steve Spagnuolo
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The Steve Spagnuolo era started off with the worst season in franchise history, a dismal 1-15. His team was outscored 416-175 during the season. The Rams decided to give him another year.
His second season made the decision seem like a good one, as the Rams improved to 7-9, and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford played well.
Then, 2011 happened.
The Rams went 2-14 and again were outscored severely, this time 407-193.
Spagnuolo was summarily fired and is now the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, who, I must add, have an historically atrocious defense.
Arizona Cardinals: Dennis Green
Dennis Green had great success coaching the Minnesota Vikings. It didn't translate to Arizona.
The best thing that came out of Green's tenure in Arizona was the memorable meltdown after the Bears miraculously came back and beat the Cardinals, despite trailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter. He also started Matt Leinart over Kurt Warner.
Leinart, to the demise of Green, was not at all who he thought he was.
Furthering Green's woes, his successor made the Super Bowl with Kurt Warner at quarterback two seasons after Green was fired.
At least Green made some Coors Light money from his rant.
Seattle Seahawks: Tom Flores
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Flores, along with the aforementioned Ditka and Seifert, is another former Super Bowl-winning coach who flopped with a different team.
His first season was disastrous, as the Seahawks went 2-14. He was retained for two more seasons, both of which were equally disappointing.
Flores was fired after his third season, and the Seahawks turned to fellow list member Dennis Erickson as their new coach.