As I read through my Google Alerts this morning, I came across an article from the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger on Lovie Smith that unearthed an astounding statistic: in the 10 seasons from 2004 through 2013, there have been 68 head coaching changes in the NFL.
In a league with 32 teams, that’s more than two coaching changers per team over the decade. It’s not news to anyone that there’s a high turnover rate among NFL head coaches, but an average of 2.125 coaching changes per decade is enough to raise some eyebrows.
The Ledger also stated that the average lifespan of an NFL coaching tenure is 38 months.
Over the last 10 years, only three franchises – the New York Giants (Tom Coughlin), New England Patriots (Bill Belichick) and Cincinnati Bengals (Marvin Lewis) – have employed one head coach. Eight more clubs check in with only two head coaches over the past decade – Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Houston, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Three franchises push the average upward with five full-time head coaches over the past decade – the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. And then there are the Oakland Raiders, outpacing the entire league with six full-time head coaches over since 2004: Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson and Dennis Allen.
It should come as no surprise that the 40 combined seasons those four teams have played have accounted for zero playoff victories.