Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Jaw Steps Down

As has been anticipated pretty much the whole year, ever since Jerome Bettis's journalistic faux pas on opening night of the NFL season, Bill Cowher stepped down yesterday as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday. Cowher was the Steelers' coach since 1992, solidifying Pittsburgh as the probably the most stable franchise in all of sports. Whoever gets the job next, whether it be Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm, should probably make plans to spend the next decade or so in Steel Town.

In contrast to the Steelers' remarkable stability, (not to mention their ability to pick out Hall of Fame caliber coaches), the rest of the NFL has been lived up to its moniker of the "Not for Long" league. In the time that Cowher has been in Pittsburgh, there have been 129 other head coaches in the league, and 131 separate coaching tenures when you count the second acts of Joe Gibbs in Washington and Art Shell in Oakland.

Here are the NFL franchises going from most turbulent to most stable:

7 Head Coaches:
Detroit Lions
New York Jets
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Washington Redskins

6 Head Coaches:
St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams

5 Head Coaches:
Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys
Miami Dolphins
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers

4 Head Coaches:
Cincinnati Bengals
(New) Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis Colts
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers

3 Head Coaches:
Baltimore Ravens/Cleveland Browns
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Denver Broncos
Minnesota Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2 Head Coaches:
Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

(Of course here, you have 2 relatively recent expansion teams in Houston and Jacksonville)

1 Head Coach:
Pittsburgh Steelers

Here's Cowher at one of his most triumphant moments, after winning the 2006 AFC Championship en route to their Super Bowl XL victory.

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