Rookie or Retread the Best Direction for Hiring an NFL Head Coach?

Several NFL head coaching jobs are due to become available in the coming weeks. Does the fact that a coach with more experience ultimately determine wins and losses?

Twenty NFL head coaches (including Gus Bradley) are currently in their first job, whether it be Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh or Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. Between all of those coaches with their first team, the overall record (without ties) is 879-680. That’s a winning percentage of 56.4%.

Twelve NFL head coaches (which includes Jeff Fisher) have been head coaches for multiple teams at one point in their career. With an overall record of 445-327, retread coaches have a winning percentage of 57.6%.

So virtually, there is no difference with those raw numbers.

To make this a bit more statistically accurate, we’ve removed the coaches with the most and least wins from each category. For first-time head coaches, that eliminates Doug Pederson (5-9) and Marvin Lewis (117-102). That leaves first time head coaches with a winning percentage of 57.1%.

For retread head coaches, we’ve removed Bill Belichick (199-115) and Hue Jackson (0-14). That leaves retread head coaches with a winning percentage of 55.4%

So regardless of what experience a coach has, it doesn’t always turn out well in terms of wins and losses. While having someone who has been there/done that could result in someone doing things differently, situations such as the Browns or Patriots throw those numbers out the window.

A coach is a coach, and the idea that there’s an astronomical difference between a rookie and retread coach.

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