Black Sunday and Monday have arrived in the NFL, and the hiring class of 2017 will soon have its christening ceremony across the league. And this class should be a large one, with six jobs already open as of this writing.
A look back to the NFL's last large hiring class -- after the 2012 season -- can be an instructive look into the hiring practices in the league.
- Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals: 40-22-1; two playoff appearances; one NFC Championship berth.
- Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars: 14-48; no playoff appearances; fired after 2016 season.
- Rod Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns: 4-12; no playoff appearances; fired after 2013 season.
- Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles: 26-21; one playoff appearance; fired after 2015 season.
- Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills: 15-17; no playoff appearances; resigned after 2014 season.
- Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers: 27-37; one playoff appearance; fired after 2016 season.
- Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears: 13-19; no playoff appearances; fired after 2014 season.
- Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs: 43-21; three playoff appearances; first-round bye in 2016 playoffs.
That's eight hires before the 2013 season, and two still employed as the '16 campaign comes to a close. A 25 percent hit rate. This group has produced a 182-197-1 record with seven playoff appearances in 32 collective chances. Take out Arians and Reid and that record plummets to 99-154 with two playoff trips.
And this is all in a league that does everything it can to split its win-loss distribution as close to 50 percent across the board as it can, a league where 37.5 percent of the league roster makes the playoffs each season. A 25 percent hit rate isn't supposed to happen.
So what can be learned from this?
If you were to travel back in time and explain to each owner his choice of head coach had a 25 percent chance of lasting one presidential term, it may incline him to make a more out-of-the-box choice. But there were already a lot of out-of-the-box choices in 2013, and each of them failed. The Bears hired Trestman from the Canadian Football League. Bradley had been the Seahawks' defensive coordinator for four seasons before becoming Jacksonville's head coach, but he was the head coach at North Dakota State -- pre-dynasty North Dakota State -- as recently as four years before that. And, of course, Philadelphia hired Kelly away from Oregon, a move that was supposed to shake up the way NFL teams approached the game.
Now, what did work? Retreads. Experience.
Philadelphia used two playoff-less seasons to push Reid out of town after leading the club to the playoffs in nine of the previous 11 campaigns. He's been a revelation in Kansas City, taking the Chiefs to the playoffs three times in his four seasons when the club had reached the playoffs three times in their previous 15 seasons before his hiring.
Arizona was Arians's first full-time head coaching job, but the Cardinals got a sneak peek into his ability when he led the Indianapolis Colts to a 9-3 mark when filling in for Chuck Pagano in 2012.
The rest of the NFL backs up the idea that experience is the best attribute when seeking coaches as well. The last three Super Bowl champion coaches -- Gary Kubiak, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll -- and four of the last five -- Tom Coughlin -- were fired by other NFL teams before going on to glory elsewhere.
Which of the six discarded candidates may be the best candidate to become his generation's Kubiak, Belichick, Carroll or Coughlin? It's too early to say, but there is that stat: