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Romeo Crennel

Posted by Doug on January 23, 2007

To say that I don't follow the Browns closely would be an understatement. But I do have a good friend who is a Browns' fan and he assures me that, despite the 10-22 record, he and his colleagues are not displeased with the work Romeo Crennel has done and is doing. This squares with the feeling I get from the national media.

It seems to me that all coaches (except Art Shell) get one free year to be as bad as they want with no consequence. But most coaches start to feel the heat if they don't at least show some improvement in their second year.

Take a look at this. It's all coaches who debuted in 1990 or later and won 12/32 or fewer of their games in their first two seasons:


Coach Debut First 2 Since
=================================================
Norv Turner 1994 9-23-0 49- 59- 1
Dick Jauron 1999 11-21-0 32- 37- 0
Vince Tobin 1996 11-21-0 17- 22- 0
Joe Bugel 1990 9-23-0 15- 33- 0
David Shula 1992 8-24-0 11- 28- 0
Dave McGinnis 2000 13-28-0 4- 12- 0
Gregg Williams 2001 11-21-0 6- 10- 0
Dave Campo 2000 10-22-0 5- 11- 0
Mike Riley 1999 9-23-0 5- 11- 0
Steve Spurrier 2002 12-20-0 0- 0- 0
Dick LeBeau 2000 12-33-0 0- 0- 0
Dick McPherson 1991 8-24-0 0- 0- 0
Chris Palmer 1999 5-27-0 0- 0- 0
Marty Mornhinweg 2001 5-27-0 0- 0- 0
Mike Nolan 2005 11-21-0 0- 0- 0
Romeo Crennel 2005 10-22-0 0- 0- 0

Crennel's fate is not pre-determined, of course, but it's pretty grim when your best historical comps are Dick Jauron and Norv Turner.

But wait. I was cheating. If you take it back just one more year, you get one of my favorite coaches of all time:


Coach Debut First 2 Since
=================================================
Jimmy Johnson 1989 8-24-0 72- 40- 0

Johnson's first two years, though, were much different from Crennel's. Johnson gutted the team and suffered through a 1-15 rookie campaign, but he improved to 7-9 in his second year. And Johnson is the only coach who debuted in the 80s and might make the list look more promising for Crennel.

But look at this list of guys who debuted in the 70s, started off horribly, and went on to have very successful careers:


Coach Debut First 2 Since
=================================================
Marv Levy 1978 11-21-0 132- 91- 0
Dick Vermeil 1976 9-19-0 111- 90- 0
Bill Walsh 1979 8-24-0 84- 35- 1

And if you go back further than that, you get Tom Landry (4-20-2 in his first two years) and Chuck Noll (6-22).

This post isn't about Romeo Crennel anymore. I'm not sure what it's about. But here's what we've learned.


  • Exactly one coach in the last 25ish years has suffered through a Crennel-like first two years and then gone on to have a successful coaching career.

  • Back in the 70s and before, several coaches did it.

Why the change? The main possibilities are:

1. There hasn't been a change. The data is just a little bit flukish. Supporters of this explanation could cite, among other things, the fact that Bill Belichick barely missed the cutoff for inclusion, winning 13 of his first 32 games. Also, of course, the careers of the coaches debuting in the 90s have yet to be completed. That list might look a lot different 20 years from now.

2. Coaches are on a shorter leash now. If his coaching career began in today's NFL, Tom Landry probably would not have ever had the chance to become Tom Landry. Under this theory, it's likely that Dave McGinnis, Mike Riley, Chris Palmer, or someone of that ilk is a Hall of Fame coach who will never get the chance to show it.

For your enjoyment, here are all coaches debuting since 1950 who won 12/32 or fewer of their games during their first two years:


Coach Debut First 2 Since
=================================================
Tom Landry 1960 9-28-3 241-134- 3
Chuck Noll 1969 12-30-0 181-118- 1
Marv Levy 1978 11-21-0 132- 91- 0
Weeb Ewbank 1954 8-15-1 122-114- 6
Dick Vermeil 1976 9-19-0 111- 90- 0
Bill Walsh 1979 8-24-0 84- 35- 1
Jimmy Johnson 1989 8-24-0 72- 40- 0
Norm VanBrocklin 1961 5-22-1 61- 78- 6
Joe Kuharich 1952 7-17-0 51- 64- 3
Norv Turner 1994 9-23-0 49- 59- 1
Bart Starr 1975 9-19-0 43- 57- 3
John McKay 1976 2-26-0 42- 62- 1
Dick Jauron 1999 11-21-0 32- 37- 0
Ray Perkins 1979 10-22-0 32- 53- 0
Jim Hanifan 1980 12-20-0 27- 33- 1
Walt Michaels 1977 11-19-0 28- 28- 1
Dan Henning 1983 11-21-0 27- 52- 1
Jack Patera 1976 7-21-0 28- 38- 0
Marion Campbell 1974 11-30-0 23- 50- 1
Pop Ivy 1958 15-31-2 17- 11- 0
Vince Tobin 1996 11-21-0 17- 22- 0
Jack Christiansen 1963 13-25-1 13- 13- 2
Joe Bugel 1990 9-23-0 15- 33- 0
Gene Stallings 1986 11-19-1 12- 15- 0
Bill McPeak 1961 6-19-3 15- 27- 0
Harland Svare 1962 10-21-3 11- 27- 2
Jim Dooley 1968 20-36-0 0- 0- 0
David Shula 1992 8-24-0 11- 28- 0
Darryl Rogers 1985 12-20-0 6- 20- 0
Bill Austin 1966 11-28-3 6- 8- 0
Dave McGinnis 2000 13-28-0 4- 12- 0
Gregg Williams 2001 11-21-0 6- 10- 0
Dave Campo 2000 10-22-0 5- 11- 0
Gene Ronzani 1950 6-18-0 8- 13- 1
Mike Riley 1999 9-23-0 5- 11- 0
Steve Spurrier 2002 12-20-0 0- 0- 0
Dick LeBeau 2000 12-33-0 0- 0- 0
Norman Strader 1950 8-14-2 4- 8- 0
Frank Kush 1982 11-28-1 0- 0- 0
John North 1973 11-23-0 0- 0- 0
Paul Wiggin 1975 11-24-0 0- 0- 0
Mike Nolan 2005 11-21-0 0- 0- 0
Abe Gibron 1972 7-20-1 4- 10- 0
Romeo Crennel 2005 10-22-0 0- 0- 0
Kay Stephenson 1983 10-26-0 0- 0- 0
Jack Faulkner 1962 9-22-1 0- 0- 0
Ed Biles 1981 8-23-0 0- 0- 0
Dick McPherson 1991 8-24-0 0- 0- 0
Frank Ganz 1987 8-22-1 0- 0- 0
Bob Hollway 1971 8-18-2 0- 0- 0
Bill Arnsparger 1974 7-28-0 0- 0- 0
Frank Filchock 1960 7-20-1 0- 0- 0
J.D. Roberts 1970 7-25-3 0- 0- 0
Hugh Devore 1953 7-18-1 0- 0- 0
Mike Nixon 1959 6-30-2 0- 0- 0
Chris Palmer 1999 5-27-0 0- 0- 0
Marty Mornhinweg 2001 5-27-0 0- 0- 0
Norb Hecker 1966 4-26-1 0- 0- 0

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 at 5:01 am and is filed under General, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.