In today’s hire-and-fire world of pro football it is rare to see a head coach suffer through more than a few sub .500 seasons without being fired. Often we have to wonder what that coach could’ve developed into or accomplished with that team if the ownership had exhibited a little more patience. Depending on the personnel of the team, some teams may be more than the normal two to three years away from turning their fortunes around that ownership allows a coach to have.
Two examples of this situation are:
Bill Belichick is regarded as a genius for his accomplishments with the New England Patriots. Respected football people often credit him as the best and most intelligent coach in the league. Few mention that there was a time that Belichick was head coach of the Cleveland Browns and he wasn’t nearly as successful. What would’ve happened if the Browns ownership of the times had shown more patience, would they have three Super Bowl rings?
Tom Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years starting in 1960, the team’s inaugural year in the league. The Cowboys record during their first year was 0-11-1, and through the next five seasons they didn’t win more than 5 games a year. Despite this undesirable start, Cowboys ownership gave Landry a ten year extension in 1965 and he went on to make (with the help of General Manager Tex Schramm, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, and more) the Cowboys into “America’s Team”, appear in half the Super Bowls of the 1970’s, and win two Lombardi trophies. One team showed patience and was nicely rewarded, the other lacked faith in their head coach and fired the man some call the smartest coach in the game. No telling what may have happened if the opposite decisions had been made, but it sure is fun to wonder.