The next head coach for the New York Jets should have head coaching experience at some level and not just be a current NFL coordinator.
Professional football is littered with great coaches: Vince Lombardi, Curly Lambeau, George Halas, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, and Jimmy Johnson are just some of the names enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When it comes to the next head coach of the New York Jets, though, history shows he should have head coaching experience at some level.
Many people look at the NFL coaching line as this: either quality control coach or position coach, to position coach, to coordinator, to head coach. While that seems to be the typical line, NFL history shows us that coaches should have head coaching experience to achieve the ultimate success.
NFL postseason play began in 1933. When looking at the All-America Football Conference, American Football League, and NFL, according to Pro Football Reference, 55 coaches have won at least one league championship. (In the AFL/NFL, that’s prior to the Super Bowl.) If you look just at the Super Bowl, 33 of the 55 are represented.
So, what is the history?
When it comes to winning percentage in both the regular season and playoffs, there’s only a difference of 0.1%. That said, coaches with prior head coaching experience have lasted longer. They have a combined 428 coaching seasons in all stops, and that has resulted in 3,618 regular-season wins and 219 playoff wins. Coaches with no prior head coaching experience have won 769 fewer regular-season games and 55 fewer playoff games.
The ultimate goal is, of course, winning a league title. That’s where the big variance is key. When a coach has prior head coaching experience before winning his first pro football title, he has 59 titles. When he has no prior head coaching experience, he has 45 titles.
There an even more stark contrast in the Super Bowl era. Since 1966, it’s 33-20 in favor of coaches with prior head coaching experience.
Possible New York Jets head coaching candidates
Todd Monken was the head coach at Southern Mississippi. The program has a history of going to bowl games, but the season before he was hired, they went 0-11. By his third season, they were back to being regular contenders for bowl games.
This is highly unlikely, but let’s entertain it anyway. Dabo Swinney has compiled a 137-31 record at Clemson (including a 10-6 bowl record) with two national titles. He could follow Trevor Lawrence to the NFL. If he does, he’d be leaving behind a $9.6 million salary and complete control of the program.
Lincoln Riley has done well for himself since taking over the Oklahoma Sooners. He’s coached two Heisman trophy winners and compiled a 40-8 record. There’s one blemish, though: he doesn’t have a postseason win, and he may want to clean that up before entering the pros.
Dave Dickenson is a former starting quarterback in the CFL and backup in the NFL. He’s a member of both the College Football and Canadian Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player. As a CFL head coach, he’s compiled a record of 57-20-2 (including the playoffs) with one Grey Cup.
The former Arena Football League quarterback and head coach is an AFL Hall of Famer as a player. He also compiled a 97-47 record (including the playoffs) as head coach in the AFL, including two Arena Bowl titles. We’ve never seen an AFL head coach go straight into an NFL head coaching opportunity, but past success of former AFL quarterbacks in the NFL coaching ranks suggests it’s time for that sort of move.
(Featured Image Credit: Biloxi Sun Herald)