5 NFL Teams With Most Head Coaches Since 2000

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NFL head coaches lead a perilous existence. Win, and they’re a celebrity with endorsements and other perks. One disappointing season, though, is sometimes all it takes for a coach to get roasted by fans and the media and run out of town. That happens a lot more frequently with some franchises than others; a few teams seem to change coaches more often than some people change their furnace filters. Here are the five NFL teams that have churned through the most head coaches since the turn of the century.

 

3. (Tie) San Francisco 49ers

Mike Singletary, one of seven head coaches the 49ers have had since 2000, addresses reporters in 2009. © Broken Sphere

Mike Singletary, one of seven head coaches the 49ers have had since 2000, addresses reporters in 2009. © Broken Sphere

Coaches Since 2000: 7
Playoff Appearances: 5
Winning Seasons: 5
Symbol of Futility: Colin Kaepernick goes from being hailed as the “quarterback of the future” to a bench-warming role.
Bottom Line: The 49ers have had some great moments this century, notably that thrilling Super Bowl loss to the Ravens. But there have been even more stumbles (six seasons of double-digit losses). Team CEO Jed York took the blame for giving longtime assistant coach Jim Tomsula the top job in 2015. And that came one year after the team ran off Jim Harbaugh, who’d gone 44-19-1 there in four years. Some fans believe the real problem lies with GM Trent Baalke, who helped build that Super Bowl team but has faltered since.

 

3. (Tie) Buffalo Bills

Rex Ryan's first season in Buffalo started well, but faded down the stretch. © Coalman

Rex Ryan’s first season in Buffalo started well, but faded down the stretch. © Coalman

Coaches Since 2000: 7
Playoff Appearances: 0
Winning Seasons: 2
Symbol of Futility: The Bills have only had two winning seasons (9-7 marks in 2004 and 2014) this century, and coaches Mike Mularkey and Doug Marrone resigned a year later.
Bottom Line: Many in Buffalo thought Rex Ryan would be the savior to turn the Bills around. But after only one year, there is plenty of grumbling in the stands and in the locker room. While team owner Terry Pegula opted to keep Ryan after the 8-8 season, the Buffalo News reported he issued an ultimatum to Ryan: make the playoffs in 2016, or you’re gone.

 

3. (Tie) Washington Redskins

Joe Gibbs, seen here in 2005, struggled in his second tour with the Redskins. © D.B. King

Joe Gibbs, seen here in 2005, was not as successful in his second tour with the Redskins. © D.B. King

Coaches Since 2000: 7
Playoff Appearances: 3
Winning Seasons: 4
Symbol of Futility: The whole RG3 saga has not been a proud moment in franchise history.
Bottom Line: Like famous pop stars, some of these coaches only need one name to be identified: Gibbs, Shanahan, Schottenheimer, Spurrier. Yet even with all the big names that have rolled through, Washington has had only four winning seasons since 2000. The Redskins surprised many in 2015 by winning the NFC East. Can quarterback Kirk Cousins and the rest of the team build on that in 2016? Or will it take a step back, leaving owner Daniel Snyder itching to shop for another big-name coach?

 

2. Cleveland Browns

Mike Pettine posted a 10-22 record in two seasons in Cleveland before being fired after the 2015 season. © Erik Daniel Drost

Mike Pettine posted a 10-22 record in two seasons in Cleveland before being fired after the 2015 season. © Erik Daniel Drost

Coaches Since 2000: 8
Playoff Appearances: 1
Winning Seasons: 2
Symbol of Futility: Since assuming ownership of the Browns in late October 2012, Jimmy Haslam has gone through four coaches, four GMs and three team presidents/CEOs.
Bottom Line: Once upon a time, Cleveland had a coach named Bill Belichick, who in 1994 led the Browns to an 11-5 record and their only playoff win of the past quarter-century. Since then, Belichick has gone on to build a dynasty in New England, and the Browns have had only two winning seasons. Bad drafts have certainly not helped, as the adventures of former franchise quarterback turned problem child Johnny Manziel show.

 

1. Oakland Raiders

Some NFL observers believe Jack Del Rio is the coach who will help the Oakland Raiders live up to their storied past. © Oakland Raiders

Some NFL observers believe Jack Del Rio is the coach who will help the Oakland Raiders live up to their storied past. © Oakland Raiders

Coaches Since 2000: 9
Playoff Appearances: 3
Winning Seasons: 3
Symbol of Futility: The Raiders traded one of those nine coaches, Jon Gruden, to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2002 for draft choices. Gruden promptly led the Bucs to a Super Bowl win the next season over the Raiders. Drafting bust quarterback JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall in 2007 is one of the great fails in NFL history.
Bottom Line: All teams go through down periods. Some believe it’s no coincidence the Raiders’ decline from perennial playoff contender to doormat came in Al Davis’s declining years. Recall that the Raiders legendary owner, who died in 2011, was thoroughly infatuated with Russell’s physical talents, despite warning signs. There’s hope for the future, though, as Jack Del Rio posted a 7-9 record in his first year on the job, a marked improvement from the dismal 3-13 record in 2014. While there are many questions surrounding the team’s future — will they be the San Antonio Raiders at some point? — the coaching situation might be stable for now.

The author has many years of experience as a professional sportswriter, has interviewed some of the most legendary names in sports and attended most of the biggest events as a reporter or fan.

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The author is a longtime professional journalist who has interviewed everyone from presidential contenders to hall of fame athletes to rock 'n' roll legends while covering politics, sports, and other topics for both local and national publications and websites. His latest passions are history, geography and travel. He's traveled extensively around the United States seeking out the hidden wonders of the country.