Raise your hand if you weren’t surprised that a Matt Patricia-coordinated defense caved during the waning minute of the Eagles-Seahawks game Monday. Now, keep them raised if you’re not shocked that Matt Nagy and Nathaniel Hackett are struggling to get their respective offenses in rhythm. Alright, touch the sky if Jack Del Rio’s dismissal (this season) was entirely foreseeable.
The season might already be over for these two
I could do this all day, but for the sake of your shoulders, let’s not. (Also, you can put your arm down if you ever raised it.) The amount of failed coaches in college football and the NFL is glaring. Obviously, sports are a different industry and the turnover rate is exceedingly high. Most good to great coaches are fired at least once in their careers.
However, no one gets more redos than a coach who’s led an NFL franchise. Patriots fans couldn’t get Patricia to Detroit fast enough after Nick Foles shredded New England in Super Bowl LII. He predictably got canned after going 13-29 across three seasons as the HC in the Motor City, then went back to Foxborough as some kind of assistant before he and fired New York Giants head coach Joe Judge were put in charge of Mac Jones and the offense despite neither coaching that side of the ball. That ended catastrophically and with Patricia jettisoned, but less than a year later, he was handed the controls of a Philly defense that was in the Super Bowl in February.
That’s absurd. Roger Goodell should stop trying to outlaw tackling and switch his focus to the incestuous nature among the coaching ranks. There needs to be a mandatory down period for fired coaches after they’re let go.
For example, following a first dismissal as a head coach, said coach should have to sit out at least a full season before he’s a candidate again. No professional or college coaching or coordinating of any kind. Just sit there with your thoughts, and hefty payout. The second termination is three years off, and after the third calamitous head coaching stint, you’re ineligible to be a coach or coordinator in the NFL ever again.
If a former head coach gets fired from a subsequent coordinator position, it’s three years off. Two failed coordinating stops, and it’s off to coach high school or dig ditches. We can call it the Norv Turner clause in honor of the retreads who cling to the league’s innards like a raclette.
Of course, exceptions could be made for past performance. If Robert Kraft is really stupid enough to 86 future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick, the coach’s six Super Bowl rings would override previous dismissals and any down period.
Along the lines of nuanced addendums, I would adamantly advocate for a Nepo Baby stipulation to ensure that the initial hiring doesn’t manifest its way into a long, undeserved career in the NFL. We can call it the Brian Schottenheimer rule because I can’t believe, a decade after watching him gum up the St. Louis Rams’ offense, he’s still calling plays.
My fix for college would be to make head coaches stay away from coaching for the duration of their contract. So for a guy like, say Scott Frost, he wouldn’t be able to coach again until after 2026. In the case of Jimbo Fisher, whose Texas A&M contract ran through 2031, his hiatus would almost be a decade. Ditto for Mel Tucker.
(The hidden upside to the college rule is it would discourage coaches from constantly signing exorbitant extensions that have become necessary to deter them from taking a bigger payday elsewhere. So, if Jim Harbaugh really thinks he and his schtick will last through 2028 in Ann Arbor, go ahead.)
Both pro and college football have a serious lack of diversity in regards to coaching and it’s more than just a scarcity of Black coaches. This is some Ivy League legacy admissions-type stuff and it’s obscene.
There has to be a better way of finding capable football coaches, and ideally, one that discourages NFL franchises and college programs from picking out of a pool of candidates constantly being caught and then released.