I was reading an article a while back about how quick teams are to fire coaches nowadays in the NFL and especially in regards to how great coaches such as Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Chuck Knoll would have never survived in the current culture.
What does everyone else think?
It's tempting to say that, and the best example would be Bill Cowher, who had success but "couldn't win the big game" until his 14th season in Pittsburgh. Noll (not Knoll) fits that bill..he only won 12 games in his first three seasons, and Landry is the poster boy for this kind of argument, he started his career with five losing seasons, and only went .500 in his 6th. He ABSOLUTELY wouldn't have been retained to turn the franchise around, by any owner these days.
But the truth is, the great coaches have GENERALLY shown they can win big time fairly quickly. I'm not sure if you threw Shula's name out there, but he really doesn't fit into the Noll/Landry camp...Shula was a big time winner from the very start.
Don Shula -- Never had a losing record from day one with the Colts and won three division titles before winning the championship in 1968. He then went on to win 10+ games in his first six seasons in Miami, including two Super Bowl titles.
Bill Walsh -- Walsh came from Stanford to fix one of the league's laughing stocks...and so his 2-14 record to start his career was completely understandable. He won six games in his second season, and then won the Super Bowl in his 3rd season. The rest of his Hall of Fame career is history.
Joe Gibbs -- Gibbs went .500 in his first year, and won the Super Bowl the following season.
Tom Flores -- Flores took over for a legend (John Madden), and went 9-7 in his first year, and then won the Super Bowl in year two. He won another Super Bowl three years later.
Bill Parcells -- Only won 3 games in his first year, but won 9 and 10 games, respectively in the next two seasons, before winning his first Super Bowl in 1986, his 4th season as a head coach.
Jimmy Johnson -- Johnson won a horrific 1 game in his first season after being a college powerhouse at Miami, but won a respectable 7 games in Year 2, and then 11 games the following year. He, like many others on this list, won a Championship in his 4th season (and 5th).
George Seifert -- Seifert replaced one of the best coaches of all-time in Bill Walsh, and had enormous expectations. He met them by going 14-2 and winning the Super Bowl in his first year at the helm. While some may have questioned whether he was just keeping the motor revving that Walsh had built, Seifert won no fewer than 10 games in each of the next four years, before winning another Super Bowl in 1994 (which was clearly 100% his team).
Mike Shanahan -- Shanny won 8 games in his first year in Denver, 13 the next, and then won back to back Super Bowls in his 3rd and 4th seasons
Bill Belichick -- A lot of people forget that Bill B won a Super Bowl in only his 2nd season in New England. Many think it took a lot longer because they remember Bill's struggles in Cleveland, but Belichick won three Super Bowls in his first five seasons as a Patriot.Bottom Line -- All the modern era great coaches, defined (by me) as guys that have won more than one Super Bowl, all had success quickly, with the exceptions of Noll and Landry.