Green Bay Packers

Mike McCarthy and the 2006 NFL Head Coaching Class: What the Numbers Tell Us

Could 2006 hires such as Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton be out of their jobs within the next decade? The smart bettor says yes.
Could 2006 hires such as Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton be out of their jobs within the next decade? The smart bettor says yes.Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Alexander M. SmithContributor IJanuary 25, 2011

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will lead his NFC-representing warriors into the Super Bowl spotlight in two weeks. Sean Payton, who fills the same position for the New Orleans Saints, did likewise last year, winning Super Bowl XLIV. McCarthy and Payton have more in common than Super Bowl appearances, however.

As any cynical NFL fan knows, these two and Houston’s Gary Kubiak (who could not be reached for comment because he was busy putting out the fire on his “hot seat”) are the only coaches remaining from the great hiring spree of 2006, during which ten head coaches signed up for duty on new teams.

2006 is perhaps the most glaring example of bad coaching hires in the early millennium, seeing as they were made merely five years ago. If you’re counting, that is seven coaches who could not hack it in half a decade. Couple this with the fact that only two of the 26 coaches hired between 2000 and 2003 are still with their teams (Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio, New England’s Bill Belichick), and front offices look downright dumb.

Of course, this is America’s game, and Americans are known to be impatient. This reflects upon front office decisions across the league, and if the shoe does not fit perfectly for the first couple years (or less than that), the plug gets pulled. The easiest way to keep a job in the National Football League is to win, and the longest tenured coaches consistently put competitive teams on the field.

Still, it makes one wonder: Even if McCarthy does the deed and wins Super Bowl XLV with Green Bay on February 6, will he still be roaming the sideline at Lambeau Field in 2020? Judging from the ugly coaching turnover rates of the past decade, the answer is probably not.

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