The Oakland Raiders earlier this week fired coach Dennis Allen and replaced him with former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. Sparano will become the ninth coach of the Raiders since the turn of the century.
Most coaching changes in the NFL take place after the season, but there are instances where teams feel a need to make a change mid-season. In 2013, the Houston Texans fired Gary Kubiak after 13 games and replaced him with Wade Phillips. In 2012, the New Orleans Saints had a mid-season change when Bounty-Gate put head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines for the season; Aaron Kromer took the reigns for the first six games and Joe Vitt finished the season. In 2011, three NFL teams (Jacksonville, Kansas City and Miami) each replaced coaches before the end of the season.
It’s interesting to note that while replacing coaches is pretty common in the NFL and making a change mid-season does happen, there are currently five NFL teams that have never replaced a head coach mid-season: Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
Here’s a look at the number of times each NFL franchise has made a coaching change mid-season since 1966 (the start of the Super Bowl era).
Number of mid-season coaching changes since 1966, teams
6: Atlanta, New Orleans, San Diego
5: Buffalo, Indianapolis
4: Cleveland, Detroit, New England, Tennessee
3: Arizona, Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco
2: Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, N.Y. Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, St. Louis
1: Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, N.y. Giants, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington
0: Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh
Note: Only once since 1966 has a team that made a mid-season coaching change played in the playoffs that season. In 1978, New England Patriots head coach Chuck Fairbanks was suspended before the last week of the NFL season due to negotiating a contract to coach the University of Colorado football team the following season. He was replaced for the final NFL game, but did return to coach the Pats for the playoffs.
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