The Denver Broncos firing of Josh McDaniels points out again how poor a job NFL owners do in choosing coaches, or how impatient those owners are for those coaches to turn around struggling franchises.
The Broncos had failed to make the playoffs in the three years prior to McDaniels arrival, and fired Mike Shanahan despite years and money left on his contract. Upon firing Shanahan, the Broncos hired the youthful McDaniels, and turned the keys to their castle over to him. As it turned out, McDaniels was immature and overmatched and after a 6-0 start spiraled downward. Losing was bad enough, but once McDaniels replicated mentor Bill Belichick’s spygate drama, the franchise had seen enough.
The people interviewing McDaniels should have seen his immaturity, and if they did with his quite obvious inexperience they should have been prepared for growing pains.
The fact that he was fired isn’t a surprised. After the 2008 season, ten NFL franchises changed coaches. Jim Caldwell led the Colts to a Super Bowl in his first season. Steve Spagnuolo here and Jim Schwartz in Detroit took over disasters and are rebuilding. Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay has bounced back after an awful first year. Rex Ryan has coached the Jets to legitimacy. Mike Singletary in San Francisco and Tom Cable in Oakland earned jobs after being interim coaches. Belichick disciples McDaniels and Eric Mangini landed in Denver and Cleveland, respectively. In Seattle, Jim Mora was let go after one season of a five year contract.
It appears that Singletary in San Francisco and Mangini in Cleveland may not make it to a third full season with their teams. That means 40% of the coaches hired before last season may not make it to a third full season. And they’ll make their full salaries.
Not only do fired coaches cost franchises money, but entire staffs have to be paid off. New staffs want different players, so that costs money, too. And any buildup of talent achieved is retarded because at the very least, a new staff is going to implement a new system.
NFL teams do an awful job of finding the right guy to run their multi-million dollar operations. It’s amazing that so many quality coaches can be on the market and not be offered these jobs. We hear that the reason is that younger coaches are cheaper. That’ great, but they’re also unpredictable. With Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Jim Fassel and Mike Martz, at least you know what you’re getting. Eventually, those guys are going to get jobs, and get paid.
As the old saying says and those veteran coaches might agree ou can pay me now, or pay me later.