LIVE › 11:30 a.m. Roy Smalley - Former Twins Shortstop
NEXT › Noon ESPN SportsCenter
12:20 p.m. Jim Souhan - Star Tribune Sports Columnist
12:30 p.m. Twin Cities Sports Update - with John Heidt
1 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
1:05 p.m. Garage Logic with Joe Soucheray
1:25 p.m. 1500 ESPN Rewards Listen & Win Code - Grab 100 points for 1500 ESPN Rewards
Updated: January 7th, 2014 11:07am
Wetmore: The Vikings should consider

Wetmore: The Vikings should consider "retread" coaches viable options

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
Email | Twitter
SportsWire Daily

Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports

Signup!

Each of the four major sports leagues is guilty of recycling coaches. Have a pro coaching job and lose it? No problem, so long as you didn't embarrass yourself, you'll get another shot.

That turnabout meant the word "retread" entered the sports lexicon. It's almost invariably used with a negative connotation, a pejorative term for a guy who wasn't good enough to hold down his first job.

Here are a few retreads over the past 20 years: Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin, John Fox and Bill Belichick.

I know that's cherry-picking. For every Belichick, there may be five or more examples that flamed out in two or more jobs. The point is, losing a job in today's win-now NFL doesn't mean one is incapable of succeeding. To illustrate that point, I looked at every Super Bowl since the Metrodome hosted in 1992 to see if the winning head coach was on his first job.

Here is what I found:

Super Bowl winners since the Dome Super Bowl 

 

Year

Super Bowl winner

Head Coach

First job?

1992

Washington

Joe Gibbs

Yes

1993

Dallas

Jimmy Johnson

Yes

1994

Dallas

Jimmy Johnson

Yes

1995

San Francisco

George Seifert

Yes

1996

Dallas

Barry Switzer

Yes

1997

Green Bay

Mike Holmgren

Yes

1998

Denver

Mike Shanahan

No

1999

Denver

Mike Shanahan

No

2000

St. Louis

Dick Vermeil

No

2001

Baltimore

Brian Billick

Yes

2002

New England

Bill Belichick

No

2003

Tampa Bay

Jon Gruden

No

2004

New England

Bill Belichick

No

2005

New England

Bill Belichick

No

2006

Pittsburgh

Bill Cowher

Yes

2007

Indianapolis

Tony Dungy

No

2008

New York Giants

Tom Coughlin

No

2009

Pittsburgh

Mike Tomlin

Yes

2010

New Orleans

Sean Payton

Yes

2011

Green Bay

Mike McCarthy

Yes

2012

New York Giants

Tom Coughlin

No

2013

Baltimore

John Harbaugh

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The span I research included 22 Super Bowls. Ten out of those 22 years, the winning head coach was not on his first job.

That doesn't account for repeat winners, though. There were 17 coaches to win the Super Bowl over that stretch, and six of them were not coaching their first team when they won it all.

Numbers can be more fun when you assign arbitrary endpoints, so if we wanted to skew the numbers even more in favor of retreads, we'd stop at the 1998 Super Bowl. If we used that as our cut-off point, we're looking at 16 Super Bowls, 10 of which were coached by a man who had previously coached another team. Again, that doesn't include repeat winners, so of the 12 coaches in that span, six were on their first job.

Maybe there's something to Rick Spielman's theory that no category of coaching background is any more successful than another.

If Super Bowl wins are your metric for success then Bill Belichick is inarguably the best hire in the past 20 years. He was a failure in Cleveland before getting another chance in New England. It was a gutsy hire at the time and multiple Super Bowls and a dynasty followed.

So far, the overwhelming majority of the people associated with the Vikings vacant head coaching job do not have head coaching experience. The numbers suggest, however, that teams need not fear the retread.

Thanks to reader Anthony Miller for the suggestion of analysis. 

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
9322