1. After sorting through my list of the top 10 head coaches in the NFL, I wanted to add some statistical backing to my initial thoughts in that column about the owners' demands for winning immediately and the trend to hire younger, more inexperienced head coaches. So I broke down the tenure of the league's 32 head coaches as they prepare for the 2011 season.
2. This included the league's eight new head coaches. Dallas' Jason Garrett and Minnesota's Leslie Frazier were interim coaches last year, so I did not include that as a full year of service. Also, I considered John Fox among the eight new head coaches after he left Carolina and joined the Broncos.
3. The NFL's 32 head coaches have an average of 3.25 seasons of experience with their current teams, and they've got an average of 4.91 seasons of overall head coaching experience.
4. It's interesting that the average length of a player's career is about three to three and a half seasons, which is right in line with the average current head coaching tenure.
5. Twenty-five of the league's head coaches are on their first NFL head coaching job. Bill Belichick, Chan Gailey, Norv Turner, Fox, Tom Coughlin, Mike Shanahan and Pete Carroll are the seven with previous NFL head coaching experience.
6. Shanahan, Carroll and Turner are the only three coaches who are on their third gig. But despite Carroll's three stops, nine head coaches have more experience than him.
7. Every coach in the AFC North, AFC South, NFC North and NFC South was hired with no previous NFL head coaching experience.
8. Andy Reid is the league's longest-tenured head coach with his current team (12 seasons), followed by Belichick (11), Marvin Lewis (eight), Jack Del Rio (eight), Coughlin (seven) and Lovie Smith (seven). Those are the only six coaches with five seasons of experience with their current teams.
9. Shanahan (17 total seasons) has the most head coaching experience in the league, followed by Belichick (16), Coughlin (15), Turner (13) and Reid (12). No one else has more than nine seasons of total head coaching experience.
10. Shanahan, Belichick, Coughlin, Turner and Reid have 73 seasons of combined experience. The NFL's 32 coaches have a combined 157 seasons of experience, so those five head coaches make up 46.5 percent of the league's total amount of experience. Add Fox's nine seasons of experience, and those six head coaches would have 82 seasons of experience, more than the other 26 coaches combined.
11. Belichick's 11-year tenure with the Patriots is more than the cumulative experience of every head coach in the NFC South (10 total seasons of tenure with their current team), NFC West (seven) and AFC West (six).
12. The NFC East has more total head coaching experience (44 total seasons) and combined current tenure (20 seasons) than any other division.
13. The AFC East is the only division in the league without a new head coach for the 2011 season. The AFC West is the only division with two new head coaches.
14. The AFC head coaches have 53 seasons of combined current tenure (an average of 3.31 seasons per coach), while the NFC has 51 seasons of combined tenure (3.19 average).
15. The NFC has 79 total seasons of head coaching experience (4.94 seasons per coach), while the AFC has 78 total seasons of experience (4.86). Those stats are remarkably close.
16. Twenty of the league's head coaches have been with their current team for three or fewer seasons.
17. Shanahan did not make my top 10 list after sitting out a season and joining the Redskins in 2010. The Redskins' 6-10 record, Shanahan's issues with Albert Haynesworth (although, Haynesworth deserves 99.9 percent of the blame there) and his curious handling of Donovan McNabb were enough to keep him off the list. Has the game passed him by? Even still, out of all the head coaches in the NFL, Shanahan is the closest thing to a Hall of Famer after Belichick.
18. Tony Sparano just missed the list, too. I think he's a heck of a coach who has easily built one of the deepest staffs in the league. But three of the coaches in the bottom four of the list have been to the Super Bowl, while two of them — Tomlin and Coughlin — have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. The fourth coach there, John Harbaugh, has guided the Ravens to at least one playoff victory in each of his three seasons, which is more than Sparano can say.
19. Rex Ryan was the only head coach with fewer than three years of experience on the list. Soon enough, I think Steve Spagnuolo, Jason Garrett, Leslie Frazier, Jim Schwartz and Raheem Morris could enter that elite company.
20. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell should be on the short list of head coaching candidates next season. Fewell guided the Bills to a 3-4 record after Dick Jauron was fired in 2009, but Buffalo chose not to retain him. So, Fewell went to New York and completely revitalized the Giants' defense. They were horrendous in 2009, ranking 30th in points allowed, 13th in yards allowed, 15th in passing defense and 14th in rushing defense, but Fewell improved them to 17th in points allowed, seventh in yards allowed, 10th in passing defense and eighth in rushing defense. He deserves a shot somewhere.
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