NFL teams have fired head coaches 77 times since the start of the 2000 season, for an average of 5.8 per season.
“I don’t know what all has contributed to that,” said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, “but out of 32 teams, that’s a lot of turnover.”
The meter for this season began earlier this month when Houston fired Gary Kubiak after an 11th consecutive loss dropped the Texans to 2-11. As many as nine more coaches — including Frazier — are in danger of suffering the same fate in a league in which owners are becoming less patient by the year.
In an interview on the SiriusXM Blitz show this week, Frazier said the media exacerbates that impatience and often affects the evaluation process of head coaches.
“So many people with opinions, whether it’d be the Internet, talk radio, blogs, whatever it may be … they seem to influence owners,” Frazier said. “I don’t know. You just have to be careful.”
The Raiders have fired a league-high six coaches since 2000. They haven’t had a winning season since 2002 and are one loss from posting their ninth 11-loss season in 13 years.
The Browns have fired five coaches since 2000. They’ve lost at least 10 games in 10 of the past 11 seasons.
The Cardinals, Bills, Chiefs, 49ers and Redskins each have fired four coaches since 2000. Washington owner Dan Snyder is expected to move up (or down) into a tie with the Browns by firing Mike Shanahan.
The Vikings, Chargers, Lions, Dolphins, Rams, Buccaneers and Jaguars each have fired three coaches. The Jags fired Mike Mularkey after one season a year ago. Now, the Bucs might fire Greg Schiano after just two years.
“When I was on the radio this week, they said to me, ‘It seems like the tenures are getting shorter and shorter for coaches,’ ” Frazier said. “Some guys, like last year, are gone after one year. Today’s NFL is a different deal. You’re trying to develop young rosters. It’s hard to keep a veteran-laden team. You need time to develop these guys.”
Nine teams have fired two coaches since 2000, while seven teams, including the Packers, have fired one coach.
“In this league, you can turn things around like that,” said Frazier, snapping his fingers. “Here, we’re not as far away as people think. We were a playoff team a year ago. There are some things we need to handle this offseason, but you see how the league is and how quickly you can get back on top. Just have a little patience. That’s the key.”
The two most respected franchises this millennium — New England and Pittsburgh — have not fired a coach since 2000. In fact, the Rooney family in Pittsburgh hasn’t fired a coach since replacing Bill Austin with Chuck Noll following the 1968 season.
“The Rooneys, they get it,” Frazier said. “Patience.”
Three observations …
• The Packers are doing the right thing with Aaron Rodgers. Even if they have to sacrifice this season to take care of Rodgers’ long-term health, so be it.
The guy is only 30 years old, a virtual puppy when it comes to quarterbacks who understand and play the game the way he does. He could play another 10 years.
• Not a big fan of firing coaches during the season, but if Houston can use this extra time to land Texas native Lovie Smith, then firing Gary Kubiak in early December will have paid off.
Smith, fired after leading the Bears to a 10-win season a year ago, is 81-63 with a Super Bowl appearance on his résumé.
• It’s a shame that Tony Gonzalez came back for one last Super Bowl run and ended up on a 4-10 Falcons team. It’s also a shame that he doesn’t feel like playing an 18th year. The greatest red zone weapon in NFL history is 37 years old and still has 71 catches, a 10.4-yard average and seven touchdowns.
Two predictions …
• This is sure to jinx the Vikings, but the collars are getting too tight in Cincy. Vikings upset the Bengals.
• Speaking of tight collars, the Lions have lost four of five. Anyone else sensing a Giants upset at Ford Field?