The 5 Worst Head Coaching Firings in NFL History
5). George Allen, Washington Redskins:
Allen was a great innovator, who revolutionized special teams among other things. In his seven seasons with the Redskins he never had a losing season and compiled a 67-30-1 record, including an NFC title in 1972. The story goes that he rejected a four-year, $1 million contract offer and was fired. Allen’s players absolutely loved their coach and it took the Redskins a few years and the hiring of Joe Gibbs to fully recover.
4). Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns:
Belichick was young for a head coach and his 36-44 record wasn’t impressive, to say the least — but the rest is history. Again Modell fired his coach and Belichick has gone on to six Super Bowl appearances, winning four times. He led the Browns to the playoffs in 94 and they started out the 95 season as a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. The team went into a tail spin midseason when it was announced Art Modell was moving the team to Baltimore. If Belichick had stayed he would have become the first coach of the Ravens, and with the talent the team had it is hard telling how many titles the Ravens would have had by now.
3). Bum Phillips, Houston Oilers:
In 1975, Phillips was named head coach and general manager of the Oilers, and he served in that capacity through 1980. The Oilers were terrible when Phillips arrived, he quickly turned that around. As coach of the Oilers, he became the winningest coach in franchise history (59-38 record). Under Phillips, the Oilers reached the AFC Championship Game in two consecutive seasons, losing to the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers 34-5 in 1978 and 27-13 in 1979. Both teams were members of the competitive AFC Central Division and thus played three times in both 1978 and 1979, fueling an intense rivalry. During this period of league-wide AFC dominance, some commentators considered the Oilers and Steelers to be the two best teams in the NFL. Phillips remarked at the time, “The road to the Super Bowl goes through Pittsburgh.” In 1980 the Oilers lost in the wild card game 27-10 to the Oakland Raiders and Phillips was fired shortly after the loss. The Oilers were never the same after the firing, players loved Phillips and it ending up being one of the worst decisions Oilers owner Bud Adams would ever make.
2). Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns: Brown was coach of the Cleveland Browns until new, 35-year-old owner Art Modell fired him in 1962. Coach Brown went to the playoffs in eight of his first nine seasons as Browns head coach but that wasn’t good enough to protect his job. Brown went to cross-state rival Cincinnati and led them to the playoffs three different seasons and is in the Hall of Fame.
1). Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys: There’s no way a coach with back-to-back Super Bowl titles (1992-93) should have left Dallas. The Cowboys were horrible when Johnson got the job and when he left, he left one of the great dynasties in NFL history. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys have never recovered.