St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was one of 11 new coaches hired to turn teams around in 2009. Stop and think about that number for minute, in the non-Spinal Tap context. More than one-third of the league's teams changed head coaches in 2009. Even more amazing is that five of those blokes have already hit the skids, with three or four more likely to get a pink slip this year.
Why are all these head coaches failing at such an alarming rate? It just depends. A variety have circumstances have conspired against them. I wrote a more in-depth piece on the coaching class of 2009 that might offer at least a little insight.
As far as Spagnuolo goes, I'm still pretty convinced of what 3k wrote earlier this week, about the culture of losing that runs deep into the roots of the Rams organization. Spagnuolo was given ample opportunity to put his imprint on the team, from the training staff to the equipment manager to the interior decorating to a handful of other non-football personnel.
Spagnuolo was also a victim of circumstance. The Rams improbably won seven games last season, not a significant number in and of itself, but more than was expected thanks to a soft schedule and a few lucky bounces. Sadly, the team we saw on the field in week 17, that prime time disaster against the Seahawks, was a much more accurate snapshot of the 2011 Rams.
That said, things should have been much better than they are this season, and the head coach is culpable in that. There are several scenarios in which Spagnuolo sticks around, but it that move would be far too unpopular to gain traction as a reasonable decision, fair or not.
Results matter in a billion dollar business. Three years may not be an adequate time span to judge a head coach, especially for a team that has a total of zero draft picks on the roster from 2006 and 2007, but that's the nature of the business.
Coming up tomorrow on the site, we'll turn our focus to Billy Devaney. Tevin has an article arguing why the Rams should keep him, and Brick Top has one on potential replacements.
In the meantime, let me ask you this, is three years reasonable for an NFL head coach?