A famous father can be a curse. The legendary Don Shula is one of the greatest NFL coaches in history. However, his son, Dave, went down as one of the worst. The Bengals hired the younger Shula in 1992. This was an exciting decision because of his pedigree. But it was a disastrous decision overall because Shula didn’t know what he was doing. Somehow, he survived for five seasons with a 19-52 record.
Finally, Cincinnati fired him in 1996 after a single win in seven games to start the season. Shula became the fastest coach in history to 50 losses during his time in charge (via USA Today). This was a uniquely bad achievement. It was a terrible time for the franchise because it was difficult for fans to maintain interest in the team. In the end, they lost patience and fired the younger Shula.
We suppose Peyton Manning was wrong. The legendary NFL icon described his former coach as a ‘quarterback guru.’ It’s too bad that this wasn’t the case in New York, because Gase arguably ruined Sam Darnold’s career before it even began. The Jets hired him in 2019 but fired him after two seasons. They started with a mediocre 7-9 losing record in his first year.
This was tolerable but they immediately regressed. Gase departed after a disastrous 2-14 season where he showed all of his flaws. One of the main issues was his lack of flexibility. He used the same system that worked for a slow Manning in Denver (via Forbes). But this didn’t suit the mobile Darnold. Meanwhile, the Jets’ defense was nonexistent. Gang Green felt like they were in purgatory.
Jackson didn’t have a successful tenure with the Cleveland Browns. Somehow he survived for over two seasons but they were disastrous. He left the franchise in 2018 with a record of 3-36-1 (via SBNation). Furthermore, they went 0-16 in 2017 as they went winless for the first time in history. The Browns were rebuilding (or so they claimed) but there were no signs of progress.
The head coach lost the support of his staff as well as the players. Sure, their roster was terrible, but his methods didn’t help. Jackson was genuinely a great offensive coordinator. Also, many people believed that the Browns made the right choice when they hired him. But his record is so bad that it’s almost impossible for another Cleveland coach to replicate it.
Meyer’s reign in charge of the Jacksonville Jaguars was uniquely and utterly disastrous. Jags owner Shahid Khan hired him in 2021 because he believed that Meyer would get the best out of shiny no. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. The young quarterback received incredible hype before the Jaguars used the first overall pick to select him. However, Meyer wasn’t able to get the best out of him and his entire run was a laughingstock from its inception.
First, Meyer tried to hire racist coach Chris Doyle and created a media storm. Then, there was the remarkable Tim Tebow experiment. Soon, rumblings emerged that professional players didn’t like his more college coaching style. The results on the field didn’t help matters because the Jags were appalling. Then, there was the media deluge after footage emerged of Meyer dancing with a young woman who wasn’t his wife after he had stayed in Ohio and not traveled with his team following another defeat. Khan finally fired Meyer after a 2-11 record before the catastrophic season ended (via NPR).