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NFL Coaching Changes

   by Ben Burns - 04/30/2007

It’s never too early to start thinking about the NFL! With the Draft taking place this weekend, I thought I’d check in with some football news.
The coaching changes that began with the firings of Dennis Green and Jim Mora on New Year's Day continued into February when the Chargers pulled a surprise move by parting ways with Marty Schottenheimer. In all, seven teams have made coaching changes since the end of the 2006 regular season.
Beneath is a rundown of all the head-coaching moves, accompanied by a brief note about both the “oldâ€쳌 and the “newâ€쳌 coaches.

Previous Coach: Dennis Green Green’s firing came as no surprise. The Cardinals were 5-11 last season and 16-32 in his three seasons. The writing was on the wall ever since the team’s memorable Monday Night collapse (vs. the Bears) and Green’s subsequent meltdown. Arizona will pay $2.5 million to buy out the final year of Green’s contract.
New Coach: Ken Whisenhunt Whisenhunt has been the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh the past three seasons. He helped Rothlisberger develop into an immediate success and the Cardinals are counting on him helping Leinart do the same thing.

Previous Coach: Jim Mora I guess Mora’s father (Jim Mora Sr.) was right when he called Michael Vick a “coach-killer.â€쳌 Mora (Jr.) had a respectable 26-22 overall record. However, things went progressively downhill since he led the Falcons to the NFC South title as a rookie head coach in 2004. Two seasons ago, the Falcons lost six of their final eight games to miss the playoffs and last season they lost seven of their last nine to finish just 7-9.
New Coach: Bobby Petrino: Petrino had a 41-9 record in four years at Louisville, leading the school to the Big East title and its first Bowl Championship Series victory. Prior to his tenure at Louisville, Petrino spent three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including two seasons as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2001.

Previous Coach: Bill Parcells Unlike the majority of the coaches on this list, Parcells didn’t have to leave his job. Instead, he chose to retire. The decision surprised a lot of people as many felt that “The Tunaâ€쳌 wouldn’t want to finish on a losing note. Parcells successfully turned around a team which had gone 5-11 in three straight seasons before his arrival. However, he was unable to snap the Cowboys’ playoff drought. The coaching legend leaves with the ninth most wins in NFL history and a career record of 183-138-1. He was 34-32 in Dallas, counting two playoff losses.
New Coach: Wade Phillips Phillips, the son of longtime Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Chargers. He is a former NFL head coach who has been in the league 30 of the last 31 years. Phillips' head coaching record is 48-42 over three years with Buffalo, two with Denver and season-ending interim stints with New Orleans and Atlanta. That includes 3-4 as a fill-in and 0-3 in the playoffs, most notably the "Music City Miracle," when Tennessee used a trick kick return for the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.

Previous Coach: Nick Saban Saban was a big winner (83-40-1) in college. However, he was only 15-17 in two seasons with the Dolphins. Last year’s 6-10 mark was his first losing record as 13 years as a head coach. Saban denied rumors that he was planning on leaving the Dolphins to return to the college game. However, that’s exactly what he did, jumping at the chance to return to the SEC to fill the vacant coaching position at Alabama.
New Coach: Cam Cameron Cameron, who will be Miami’s fourth coach in nine seasons, has been the offensive coordinator in San Diego the past five years, directing the Chargers’ high-powered attack. Prior to his stint in San Diego, Cameron went 18-37 as a head coach at his alma mater, Indiana. Cameron, now 45, played basketball for Bob Knight and football for Lee Corso and Sam Wyche.

Previous Coach: Art Shell Shell’s second stint as coach of the Raiders certainly didn’t go as planned. After going 4-1 in the preseason, the Raiders went an awful 2-14 in the regular season, setting franchise records for fewest victories and fewest points. Shell, a Hall of Fame offensive tackle in his playing career with the Raiders, had been fired by Raiders’ owner Al Davis more than a decade earlier.
New Coach: Lane Kiffin Kiffin, the son of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, has been the offensive coordinator for USC the past two seasons. Prior to that, he worked for the Trojans as a tight ends and wide receivers coach. At 31 years old, he’ll be the youngest coach in the league and the youngest in the history of the Raiders.

Previous Coach: Bill Cowher Cowher coached in Pittsburgh for 15 years and probably could have coached another 15 years if he wanted to. Instead, the fiery future Hall-of-Famer decided to step down to spend more time with his family. In addition to winning a Super Bowl, Cowher led the Steelers to the playoffs 10 times. Insiders seem to believe that there’s a good chance that we’ll see Cowher back on the sidelines, for another team, within the next couple of years.
New Coach: Mike Tomlin Tomlin will be just the third Steelers’ coach since 1969. Prior to Cowher’s 15-year run, Chuck Knoll had coached the team for 23 years. The 34-year old Tomlin, who served as defensive coordinator for the Vikings last season, is the first African American head coach in franchise history.

Previous Coach: Marty Schottenheimer A month after being told his job was safe, despite leading the Chargers to a 14-2 regular season record, Schottenheimer was fired. The problems were twofold. Schottenheimer couldn’t win during the playoffs and he couldn’t get along with general manager A.J. Smith. Schottenheimer was 47-33 in five seasons with the Chargers, including 35 wins and two AFC West titles in the last three seasons.
New Coach: Norv Turner Turner has had some success as an offensive coordinator and he held that position with the Chargers in 2001. However, his 58-82-1 record in head coaching stints with Washington and Oakland is far from impressive.

A regular season for the ages helped Ben Burns strengthen his commanding hold as the #1 Documented NFL Handicapper (vs. a field of 150) in the history of the Bigguy Sports Monitor. Ben followed that up by going an absolutely amazing 10-1 in the playoffs. He also ran his Super Bowl record to a perfect 10-0!

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