1990 was a fantastic year for the New York Giants as they won the Super Bowl. Nobody could have expected how quickly things would go downhill. Handley took the head coach position for the 1991 season and immediately alienated fans by dropping star quarterback Phil Simms. He’d last two seasons but for the Giants faithful, he outstayed his welcome.
It was a decision that failed to pay off as the team finished the season with an 8-8 record and out of playoff contention. Of course, this led to fans calling for his head but the ownership recognized he had an aging squad and gave him the chance to put things right. In short, they should have fired him because his second term was even worse at 6-10.
Stick or twist, that’s the choice NFL owners have after a shoddy season. Do they give your coach a chance to set things right, or do they act ruthlessly quick to bring in someone new and give them time to implement their ideas? There’s nothing worse than having to fire a coach midseason because it can result in a wasted year. But nor is it a good idea to allow them to overstay their welcome.
A series of disastrous results saw McDaniels fired midway through his second season as head coach of the Broncos. He was quite simply the wrong man for the job. Controversies emerged and he had high-profile spats with several of his own players including Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. He’s now the offensive coordinator for the Patriots and a prime candidate for another head-coaching role.
Shula was ludicrously out of his depth as head coach of the Bengals. The most shocking thing is that they let it go on for so long. He lasted for just over three seasons in Cincinnati, but it was a time of true despair and suffering for the Bengals faithful. ‘The Bungles’ era was bad even by the Bengals’ lowly standards.
First of all, Shula’s own players didn’t take him seriously. That should have been a warning sign. He went 19-42 from 1992 to 1996. Finally, they fired him just seven games into his fourth season. They were at 1-6. He still gives older fans nightmares. The owners also deserve criticism for letting him go on for so long.
Kotite just wasn’t a good coach. His tenure in charge of the Philadelphia Eagles proved that having good players will result in moderate success. But surely Philly will wonder where they could have gone if they had an elite coach. 36 wins in four seasons prompted the Jets to sign him up.
Two years later, they fired him after a shambolic reign. His first season ended 3-13, a weaker showing than the previous year. The Jets should have dropped him then but decided to let him spend big. Keyshawn Johnson, Neil O’Donnell, and Jeff Graham arrived to help the Jets finish 1-15 in 1996. An absolute shambles, Kotite definitely isn’t welcome in Philly.
Somehow Marinelli managed to last three seasons in Detroit. But they were easily the worst three years in the history of the franchise. We’re not sure what they were thinking in letting his inept reign limp on for so long. Somehow he managed only 10 wins in all of that time. In short, the Lions were a mess as he overstayed his welcome.
His second season gave false hope when they were 6-2 at the midpoint. However, it all came crumbling down as they finished 7-9 overall. Then, he achieved the impossible by going 0-16 in 2008. In the era of free agency and salary caps, this is just unforgivable. Only the length of his tenure prevents him from topping this list.
After 16 years, it all got a bit too much for Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. Despite being the Bengals’ longest-serving coach, he has struggled for the past three seasons. In short, he overstayed his welcome. Finally, Black Monday 2019 saw him lose his job. He gave them a lengthy service, but there’s no room for the sentimental in football.
Every coach has a lifespan. Sometimes it’s the roster that needs freshening up, but new ideas can inject a lease of life into a franchise. It will be fascinating to see where the Bengals go from here after spending such a long time with Lewis in charge. Damningly, they never won during the playoffs during his tenure.