My strong interest in the recent NFL coaching carousel, which left eight head coaches with “pink slips”, extends far beyond my fervent curiosity for the sport. A paradigm of sound versus shaky recruiting practices can be observed. Case in point the Chicago Bears versus the Philadelphia Eagles. Both cities have blue-collar roots. Furthermore, both teams interviewed almost a dozen candidates before coming to final decisions today. Fortunately the Bears’ was based upon sound recruiting practices versus the Eagles’ was based upon a lot of hype!
The Bears General Manager Phil Emery, was slow, methodical and thorough in his approach. He formulated a long candidates list, crisscrossed North America to interview them, graciously quickly alerted candidates when they were out of contention and then quickly pared his list down to three finalists. Then he and the organization moved swiftly to both re-interview all three and then secure their man, Marc Trestman. Coach Trestman quickly proved his mettle by selecting Aaron Kromer, from the high-powered New Orleans Saints offense, to be his offensive coordinator on the same day he was selected head coach!
By contrast, meddling Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, approached many candidates who go contrary to NFL success. Historically, very few successful college coaches have had any success in the NFL! The ones that do, like Jim Harbaugh, were very special cases (e.g. his dad, Jack, was a successful coach and he had a very successful NFL career). Most other college coaching “gurus”, such as Nick Saban (15-17-1 in two seasons with the Miami Dolphins), Steve Spurrier (12-20 in two seasons with the Washington Redskins) and Bobby Petrino (3-10 in one season with the Atlanta Falcons), failed miserably! Even Pete Carroll, who had a marvelous season with the Seattle Seahawks, failed twice previously (with the New York Jets and New England Patriots respectively)! Now Lurie tries to woo two college coaches named Kelly before finally selecting one named Chip. This goes contrary to all historical recruiting data for the NFL.