Nick Sirianni is set to start his first season as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are coming off a disappointing season, finishing the year at 4-11-1. The only Super Bowl winning coach in Eagles history, Doug Pederson, was fired and replaced by an offensive mind like himself, Nick Sirianni. On the surface this hire has a similar feel to the Pederson hire. He was an offensive coordinator for a good team, but didn’t call any plays. Sirianni doesn’t have any head coaching experience just like his predecessor and the hire has an ‘I don’t really know what to think’ feel to it.
Doug Pederson was fired three years after winning the Super Bowl in the 2017 season. To see how much we should truly expect from Sirianni we need to look into the records of teams who let a Super Bowl winning coach leave. In this article I went only as far back as the 2010 Super Bowl (2009 regular season). There have been 12 Super Bowls since 2010. The winners of these games are the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots (3X), Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of these Super Bowl winning teams, the Saints, Ravens, Seahawks, and Patriots have maintained their head coach. The Chiefs and Buccaneers have as well, but they have the most recent wins of the bunch. 6 out of the 10 teams have the same coach, and only four Super Bowl winning teams since 2010 have replaced their coach. Teams like the Giants and Broncos didn’t fire their coaches. Tom Coughlin resigned and Gary Kubiak stepped away for health reasons. Thus the Packers and Eagles are the only two teams who fired their coaches.
Next, we’ll look at the record of these teams post-Super Bowl. Here we look at both Super Bowl winning and losing head coaches. Doug Pederson lasted three years after his Super Bowl, so we will look at the record of Super Bowl winning and losing coaches three years after their Super Bowl appearance. Some coaches did not last three years after their Super Bowl appearance, so I only considered the record of these teams for as long as that Super Bowl coach remained with that team. The three years following a Super Bowl win, the coaches have a combined record of 223 – 158 – 1 (and yes that tie is Doug Pederson). That equates to a .58 winning percentage. The losing coaches have a combined record of 210 – 157 in the three years following their Super Bowl appearance, which comes out to a winning percentage of .57. However, Doug Pederson went 22 – 25 – 1, a .45 winning percentage. This provides an idea of how successful teams perform post-Super Bowl.
Now to see what we can expect out of Nick Sirianni, we need to look at the record of teams the year after they let go of their Super Bowl winning coach. I also looked at Super Bowl losing coaches to give a different reference point. Starting with winning coaches, the Packers let go of Mike McCarthy during the 2018 season. The interim coach went 2-2, and the next year the Packers went 13-3. Next the Giants and Tom Coughlin parted ways and the Giants went 11-5 the next season. Two years after winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, Gary Kubiak stepped away for health reasons, the next season Denver went 5-11. Including the interim coach these teams went a combined 31 – 21 the year after parting ways with their Super Bowl winning coach, which is a .59 winning percentage. Next we’ll look at coaches who lost a Super Bowl and the team’s record the next year after they let their coach go . After going 4-12 the Colts fired Jim Caldwell and went 11-5 the next year. Denver went 12-4 after letting go of head coach John Fox. After problems with ownership, the 49ers parted ways with Jim Harbaugh and went 5 – 11 the next year. The year after moving on from Ron Rivera the Panthers finished 5-11. Lastly mid-season the Falcons parted ways with Dan Quinn and interim coach Raheem Morris went 4-7. Teams who let go of their Super Bowl losing coach went a combined 37 – 38 the next year, a .49 winning percentage.
I was surprised at some of the records teams had after letting go of their coaches. Some teams were successful and some were not. This can be taken on a team by team basis, such as the Colts getting the number one overall pick and drafting Andrew Luck, then going 11-5 the next season, or a team like the Packers who fired their coach but still had Aaron Rodgers. Although these records aren’t the only stat or logical factor to predict how successful Sirianni should be, it does show us how successful teams are or aren’t after losing a coach that won them a Super Bowl. Again, the teams who eventually let go of their Super Bowl winning coach since 2010 have a combined record of 31 – 21 (.59%) the year after that coach leaves. Using this as an estimate of Nick Sirianna’s success to come, the Eagles should win 9.44 games in a 16 game season. Adjusting for 17 games, they should win 10 games in the coming season.
To keep consistent with the 16 game season, based on the total win percentage of teams after losing their Super Bowl winning coach Sirianni needs to win 9 games. Does that seem too hopeful for this Eagles team? Looking at the Eagles schedule there are 9 winnable games. They play in the weakest division in football and also face teams like the Falcons, Panthers, Lions, Broncos, and Jets. If the Eagles win 9 games this year, I think it would be a success. Although the average is just around 9 wins a season, the Eagles could still be a success if they win less than 9 games. My expectations are not too high for this team and I think 6-8 wins could be considered a “successful year.” Based on the past teams who lost their Super Bowl winning coach, winning 9 games the following year would be a success for each of them, including the Eagles. I am curious to see what Nick Sirianni does in his first season. What do you think a successful season would be for the Eagles? Do they need to win 9 games for it to be a success? Will less than 9 wins be a failure? Give me your thoughts in the comment section! As always, Go Birds!
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