Firing coaches impulsively not good for business, but practice continues

Coaches always seem to be on the hot seat, but when it comes to finding coaches with winning records, there just aren't that many in the league.

Who's got the juice?
CoachCareer recordPlayoffs
Bill Belichick175-9717-7
Mike Shanahan154-1088-5
Tom Coughlin142-11412-7
Jeff Fisher142-1205-6
Andy Reid126-81-110-9
John Fox81-796-4
Lovie Smith71-573-3
Mike McCarthy63-335-3
Mike Tomlin55-255-3
John Harbaugh44-205-4
Mike Smith43-210-3
Rex Ryan28-204-2
Jim Harbaugh13-31-1
Jason Garrett13-110-0
Mike Munchak9-70-0
Ken Whisenhunt40-404-2

When it comes to finding head coaches with winning postseason records, the list gets even smaller.

Impulsive firing of coaches is not good business.

Bill Belichick leads the coaching business with a 175-97 record and an even more impressive 17-7 postseason record. Mike Shanahan has the second best regular season record, 154-108, but his postseason record of 8-5 isn't as impressive as Tom Coughlin's 12-7 postseason record and he's closing in on the regular season No. 2 spot with his 142-114 record.

The return of Jeff Fisher to the NFL puts him in the fourth spot during the regular season with a 142-120 record and a less-impressive 5-6 postseason record. The irony of the top four winning active coaches is the fact they have all been fired in the past.

There are 15 NFL head coaches with winning regular season records and not all of them are on solid ground, but they should be.

The thought that Andy Reid is under a microscope is predictable considering the fate of the coaches ahead of him in wins, but it really shouldn't even be a speculation. Even though Jim Schwartz doesn't have a winning record, the Lions were smart enough to sign him to a four-year extension this week. If more owners thought like the Steelers ' Rooneys, their franchises will have more stability to overcome bad seasons.

I've included a list of the only coaches in the NFL with .500 or winning records heading into 2012.

It's a safe bet at least two of the men below will be terminated by season's end, which will be a mistake.


Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.
 
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